Essential Tremor: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Holistic Treatment

Essential tremor

Essential tremor, commonly abbreviated as ET and also known as benign essential tremor, familial tremor, and idiopathic tremor, is a neurological disorder affecting millions worldwide. It’s characterized by involuntary and rhythmic shaking, often most noticeable in the hands.

Despite its prevalence, ET remains a misunderstood condition. It’s often confused with Parkinson’s disease, although they are distinct conditions. The exact cause of ET is unknown, but it’s believed to involve a genetic mutation in many cases.

The condition can affect people of any age but is most common in those aged 40 and older. Symptoms can include a trembling voice, head nodding, and balance problems. Diagnosis typically involves a physical exam, medical history, and ruling out other causes of tremors.

There is no cure for ET in Western medicine, but treatments can help manage symptoms. These treatments range from medications to lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine and learning stress management techniques.

Activities affected

However, many are turning to holistic treatment options. These include magnesium, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, CBD, and homeopathic remedies. Each of these treatments offers a unique approach to managing ET symptoms.

Magnesium, for instance, plays a role in nerve function and muscle relaxation. Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine technique, may help manage tremor symptoms by balancing energy flow. Hypnotherapy uses guided relaxation and focused attention to achieve heightened awareness, potentially reducing tremor severity.

CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, has been explored for its potential health benefits, including calming tremors. Homeopathic remedies, based on the principle of “like cures like,” offer highly individualized treatment options.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of essential tremor and explore the various holistic treatment options available. Whether you’re a patient, a caregiver, or simply interested in learning more about this condition, this article aims to provide valuable insights into managing essential tremor.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to ET. You’ve come to the right place if this neurological disorder affects you or a loved one. We’ll explore the various aspects of essential tremor, from its causes to the available treatment options.

Essential tremor is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking, most commonly in the hands. Despite its prevalence, essential tremor is often misunderstood and confused with other conditions like Parkinson’s disease.

In this article, we’ll delve into the causes of essential tremor, discussing the potential genetic factors involved. We’ll also explore the range of symptoms that can manifest, including trembling voice, head nodding, and balance issues.

Diagnosing essential tremor involves a careful examination of the physical symptoms and medical history and ruling out other possible causes. Our guide will explain the diagnostic process in detail, helping you understand what to expect during your journey.

When it comes to managing ET, traditional treatments like medications and surgical options can be effective. However, in recent years, more individuals are turning to holistic approaches for relief. We’ll explore the potential benefits of magnesium, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, CBD, and homeopathic remedies in managing essential tremor symptoms.

Whether you’re a patient, caregiver, or simply interested in learning about essential tremor, we aim to provide valuable insights and support. Join us as we navigate this complex condition and discover effective strategies for managing essential tremor.

Understanding Essential Tremor

Essential tremor, also known as benign essential tremor, is a neurological disorder. It’s one of the most common movement disorders, affecting an estimated 7 million people in the United States alone.

What is Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor is characterized by involuntary and rhythmic shaking. This shaking can affect almost any body part, but it’s most often noticed in the hands, especially when doing simple tasks like drinking from a glass or tying shoelaces.

The tremor can also affect the head, voice, legs, and trunk. It’s usually not noticeable at rest, but it becomes more apparent when the affected body part is used.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of essential tremor is unknown. However, it’s believed to involve a genetic mutation in many cases. About half of the people with ET have a family member with the same condition, suggesting a hereditary component.

Essential tremor can affect people of any age, but it’s most common in those aged 40 and older. The severity of the tremor can vary from person to person and may worsen over time. Some people may experience a “tremor holiday,” where symptoms temporarily diminish or disappear.

Certain factors can exacerbate essential tremor symptoms, including emotional stress, fatigue, caffeine, and extreme temperatures.

Essential Tremor vs. Parkinson’s Disease

Essential tremor vs Parkinson's DiseaseEssential tremor is often confused with Parkinson’s disease, but they are distinct conditions. While both involve tremors, the timing and appearance of the tremors can help distinguish between the two.

In Parkinson’s disease, the tremor usually occurs at rest, whereas in essential tremor, the shaking is most noticeable during voluntary movements. Parkinson’s disease also involves other symptoms, such as slow movement and stiffness, which are not typical of essential tremor.

Understanding the differences between these two conditions is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Essential Tremor

Recognizing the symptoms of ET is the first step toward getting a diagnosis and starting treatment. The symptoms can vary significantly from person to person, both in terms of which body parts are affected and the severity of the tremors.

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Common Symptoms

The most common symptom of essential tremor is an uncontrollable shaking that occurs for brief periods of time. It’s not tied to an underlying disease. The shaking often starts in one hand or arm and may eventually affect both sides of the body.

Other symptoms include a trembling voice, nodding, and balance problems. The tremor may be more noticeable during stress or excitement or after consuming caffeine or alcohol.

Progression of Symptoms

The progression of essential tremor symptoms can vary widely. For some people, the tremor remains mild throughout their lives. For others, the shaking becomes more pronounced over time.

The tremor may start in one area, such as the hand, and then spread to other areas over time. It’s also common for the tremor to become more noticeable when the person is tired, stressed, or has consumed certain substances like caffeine.

Understanding the progression of symptoms can help healthcare providers make a diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan.

Diagnostic Process for Essential Tremor

Diagnosing ET involves a series of steps. These steps are designed to rule out other conditions that could be causing the tremors and help determine the severity and progression of the condition.

Medical History and Physical Examination

The first step in diagnosing essential tremor is a thorough medical history and physical examination. The healthcare provider will ask about the patient’s symptoms, including when they started, how they have progressed, and any factors that make them worse or better.

The physical examination will involve observing the tremor, its location, and its severity. The healthcare provider may also check for other neurological signs, such as problems with balance or coordination.

Tests and Assessments

There is no specific test to diagnose ET. However, certain tests and assessments can help rule out other conditions causing the tremors. These may include blood tests, imaging tests like an MRI or CT scan, and neurological assessments.

The healthcare provider may also ask the patient to perform certain tasks, such as writing or drawing, to assess the impact of the tremor on fine motor skills. These assessments can provide valuable information about the severity and progression of the condition.

Traditional Treatments for Essential Tremor

While essential tremor is not cured, several traditional treatments can help manage the symptoms. These treatments aim to reduce the severity of the tremors and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Essential-Tremor Treatment


Medications are often the first line of treatment for essential tremor. The most commonly prescribed medications are beta-blockers, such as propranolol, and anticonvulsant drugs, like primidone.

Beta-blockers are typically used to treat high blood pressure but can also help reduce tremors. They work by blocking the effects of adrenaline, a hormone that can increase heart rate and blood pressure.

Anticonvulsant drugs, on the other hand, are usually used to treat seizures. However, they can also help control the shaking associated with ET. Primidone, in particular, is effective in reducing tremors in many patients.

Pharmacutical treament for essential tremor

Surgical Options

For patients with severe ET who do not respond to medication, surgical options may be considered. These include deep brain stimulation (DBS) and focused ultrasound.

Deep brain stimulation involves implanting a device in the brain that sends electrical signals to the areas responsible for the tremors. This can help control the shaking and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Focused ultrasound is a newer, non-invasive procedure. It uses high-intensity sound waves to target and interrupt the brain pathways causing the tremors. This procedure has shown promising results in reducing tremors and improving quality of life.

Holistic Treatment Approaches

Several holistic approaches, including mind, body, and spirit, can help manage ET symptoms in addition to traditional treatments. These treatments focus on the whole person and can be used alongside conventional therapies.

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The Role of Magnesium for Essential Tremor

Magnesium is a mineral that plays a crucial role in nerve function and muscle relaxation. Some studies suggest that magnesium supplementation may help reduce the severity of essential tremor.

However, the research on magnesium for ET is still in its early stages. While some patients report improving their symptoms, more scientific evidence is needed to confirm these findings.

Before starting any new supplement, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider. They can guide the appropriate dosage and potential interactions with other medications.

Acupuncture for Essential Tremor

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that may help manage tremor symptoms. It involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to balance energy flow.

Clinical trials on acupuncture for ET have shown mixed results. Some studies suggest that acupuncture can help reduce tremor severity, while others find no significant effect.

Despite the mixed evidence, some patients find acupuncture helpful in managing their symptoms. If you’re considering acupuncture, it’s important to find a licensed practitioner with experience in treating neurological disorders.

Hypnotherapy for Essential Tremor

Hypnotherapy uses guided relaxation and focused attention to achieve heightened awareness. 

Clinical Hypnosis, NLP, and Hypnotherapy

It can help with relaxation and stress reduction, potentially reducing the severity of tremor.

Hypnotherapy for essential tremor is a relatively new area of research. While some patients report improving their symptoms, more scientific studies are needed to confirm these findings.

If you’re considering hypnotherapy, it’s important to find a certified hypnotherapist with experience in treating neurological disorders.

CBD for Essential Tremor

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD oil may help to calm tremors, but scientific research is limited.

While some patients find CBD helpful in managing their symptoms, it’s important to note that the quality and potency of CBD products can vary widely. It’s also crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before starting CBD, as it can interact with other medications.

Homeopathic and Natural Remedies

Homeopathic and natural remedies can also play a role in managing essential tremor. These 

Homeopathy for Essential Tremor

treatments are based on the principle of “like cures like” and are highly individualized.

Homeopathic Remedies for Essential Tremor

Homeopathic remedies for essential tremor include Agaricus muscarius, Gelsemium, and Zincum metallicum. These remedies are selected based on the individual’s unique symptoms and overall health.

It’s important to note that homeopathic remedies should be used under the guidance of a trained homeopath. While these remedies are generally considered safe, they can interact with other medications and should be used cautiously.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

Diet and lifestyle changes can also help manage essential tremor symptoms. A healthy diet and regular exercise may contribute to overall well-being and help manage symptoms.

Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants can help reduce the severity of tremor. Some individuals with essential tremor may also be sensitive to certain foods or additives, which could exacerbate symptoms.

Regular cardiovascular exercise can help improve overall health and potentially reduce the severity of tremor. Yoga and tai chi can also improve balance and reduce stress.

It’s important to remember that while diet and lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms, they do not cure essential tremor. These strategies should be used in conjunction with other treatments as part of a comprehensive management plan.

Living with ET: Management and Support

Living with ET can be challenging. The impact on daily activities can range from mild inconvenience to severe impairment. However, with the right strategies and support, individuals with essential tremor can lead fulfilling lives.

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Daily Life and Coping Strategies

Understanding the triggers that worsen essential tremor can help in managing the condition. Emotional stress, fatigue, caffeine, and extreme temperatures can exacerbate essential tremor symptoms. Avoiding these triggers when possible can help reduce tremor severity.

Assistive devices, such as weighted utensils, can help manage tremors during daily activities. The use of adaptive computer equipment can help individuals with essential tremor maintain productivity at work. Some individuals with essential tremor may also experience improvement using weighted wristbands.

Physical and occupational therapy may be recommended to help improve muscle control and coordination. Precision grip exercises and hand-strengthening activities can be part of a physical therapy regimen for ET.

Support Systems and Resources

Support groups and counseling can provide emotional support and coping strategies for those with essential tremor. The International Essential Tremor Foundation offers support and resources for those suffering from the condition.

Patient advocacy groups can provide support and resources for individuals with ET. These organizations can help individuals navigate the healthcare system, understand their rights, and connect with others facing similar challenges.

Regular follow-ups with a healthcare provider are important for managing essential tremor effectively. Regular monitoring of essential tremor is important to assess the progression and effectiveness of treatment.

Finally, maintaining a positive outlook and developing coping strategies for living with a chronic condition like ET can be beneficial. This can include engaging in hobbies and activities that can be performed despite tremors, maintaining a supportive social network, and staying informed about the latest research and treatment options.

The Future of Essential Tremor Treatment

The future of essential tremor treatment is promising. Ongoing research and emerging therapies are paving the way for more effective management of the condition. The potential for future treatments, including novel pharmacological approaches and advancements in surgical techniques, is exciting.

Ongoing Research and Emerging Therapies

Research into the genetics of ET is ongoing. The hope is to better understand and treat the condition. Non-invasive neuromodulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), are being studied for their potential in treating essential tremor.

The role of environmental factors in developing ET is an area of ongoing research. The role of oxidative stress in essential tremor is a subject of current scientific investigation. The cerebellum’s role in ET is a focus of neurological research.

Research into ET’s pathology suggests it may involve abnormal communication between certain brain areas. Understanding these mechanisms could lead to new treatment approaches.

The Importance of Advocacy and Education

Advocacy and education are crucial in the fight against ET. Patients and their families must stay informed about the latest research and treatment options. This knowledge empowers them to make informed decisions about their care.

Patient advocacy groups play a vital role in this process. They give those who suffer from ET access to resources, support, and a voice. The importance of advocating for oneself and staying informed cannot be overstated.


Essential tremor is a complex condition with a wide range of symptoms and impacts. While there is currently no cure, a variety of traditional and holistic treatments can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

The future of essential tremor treatment is promising, with ongoing research and emerging therapies offering hope for more effective management. Patients and their families must stay informed and advocate for their care. Individuals with ET can lead fulfilling lives with the proper support and resources.

References and Further Reading

For more information on essential tremor, its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options, consider visiting reputable health websites, medical journals, and organizations such as the International Essential Tremor Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

Holistic Treatment for ET in Philadelphia

If you or a loved one is looking for holistic treatment for ET, contact the Philadelphia Holistic Clinic. We offer all kinds of natural treatment approaches, including acupuncturehomeopathyhypnotherapy, etc. Contact our clinic and schedule your appointment with Dr. Tsan for a comprehensive holistic evaluation. You will receive customized treatment based on your medical condition, body constitution, personal beliefs, gender, age, and other criteria.

Contact us at (267) 403-3085 to schedule your appointment, or use the widget below.