Allen C. Bowling, MD PhD

Photo Allen C. Bowling, MD PhD
Medical Director of the MS Program and Director of the Complementary and
Alternative Medicine (CAM) Service at the Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI)
Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Colorado
Member, MSAA Healthcare Advisory Council

…on wellness and complementary and alternative medicine


“Over the past few decades, the advances in MS have been remarkable. There has been a revolution in understanding the disease process and remarkable advances in developing drug-based treatments. In addition, through my interest in wellness and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), I have seen a dramatic shift in non-drug based approaches to MS.

“Previously, information about CAM approaches was limited, of variable quality, and, in some cases, dangerous. In some literature, exercise and other wellness approaches were actually categorized as ‘unconventional medicine.’ Health professionals and patients were divided in terms of their willingness to consider CAM therapies. Discussing these at educational meetings or medical appointments was sometimes considered ‘taboo.’

“Over the past 15 to 20 years, I’ve seen a transformation in this area. Research has led to a better understanding and increased availability of high quality, MS-relevant information. Wellness and CAM approaches that appear to have low risk and potential therapeutic effects, including exercise, yoga, tai chi, hydrotherapy, and cooling, have now become mainstream and are incorporated into the treatment plan of those with MS. Attitude and knowledge have shifted among health professionals – many are now interested in learning about these approaches and discussing them with their patients.”

Dr. Allen C. Bowling has written more than 100 lay and professional publications, including four books on MS – one of which is Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis. He has provided consultation or authored publications for many MS and neurological organizations, including MSAA, AAN, NMSS, and the MS International Federation (MSIF). Dr. Bowling is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale, where he also obtained his MD and PhD degrees. He completed his neurology residency training at the University of California-San Francisco and his fellowship training at Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Medical School. He was medical director of the Rocky Mountain MS Center from 2003 to 2007.