Epilepsy Treatment Accupressure

An increasing number of people are looking for ways to treat epilepsy without experiencing the side effects associated with antiepileptic drugs. For some epileptics, acupressure and acupuncture are viable epilepsy treatment options. Both are natural, holistic therapies, but the success of these treatments is varied. They appear to be most successful when used as relaxation therapy to relieve some of the triggers of seizures (such as stress) or the effects of epilepsy (such as depression).

What are Acupressure and Acupuncture?

Both acupressure and acupuncture are ancient Chinese healing techniques that seek to treat the cause of a condition, rather than the symptoms. Traditional Chinese medicine teaches that energy flows through your body to all your organs in order to keep them functioning properly. They call this energy “Qi” (pronounced “chee”) and the channels through which it flows “meridians.”

According to traditional Chinese medicine, these meridians can become blocked, and energy can accumulate in some parts of the body, while other parts are deprived of energy. They believe that this imbalance causes health problems to develop. This balance can be restored by placing pressure on these blockage sites and releasing the built-up energy. During acupressure treatments, the therapist will apply pressure with her fingers and hands. In addition, an acupuncturist uses stainless steel needles that pierce the skin in these regions.

Western medical professionals have come to recognize the effectiveness of acupressure and acupuncture in treating a variety of health conditions. Most do not agree with the energy imbalance explanation, but these treatments somehow cause the nervous system to release chemicals in the brain, muscles and spinal cord that promote pain relief and healing.

Acupressure and Acupuncture for Epilepsy Treatment: Do They Work?

When it comes to epilepsy, the effectiveness of these two treatments is the subject of much controversy. Success rates appear to be varied and anecdotal. However, according to Epilepsy Action Australia, acupuncture has been shown to reduce the activity of nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme that assists in the transmission of information between neurons. This could help explain the connection between epilepsy relief and acupuncture that some people experience. For some individuals, acupressure and acupuncture seem to help:

  • Control seizures
  • Improve overall quality of life
  • Reduce mood disorders associated with epilepsy (i.e. anxiety and depression)
  • Reduce seizure triggers (i.e. stress, insomnia, fatigue).

Side Effects of Using Acupressure and Acupuncture for Epilepsy Treatment

The side effects of acupressure and acupuncture are virtually non-existent. Because acupuncturists only use sterile, disposable needles, the treatment is quite safe. Cases of infection or internal bleeding are extremely rare.

The only real potential risk to the patient may occur when practitioners use aromatic oils during treatment or prescribe herbal remedies for seizures. No matter how “natural” these products may seem, essential oils and herbs are made with potent biological extracts that may interfere with the effects of antiepileptic medication.

Are Acupressure and Acupuncture Right for Me?

If you have epilepsy, it’s important to consult your doctor before seeking any complementary treatments, including acupressure and acupuncture. You’ll also want to continue taking any prescribed seizure medication while undergoing either of these therapies. Discontinuing medication could provoke severe seizures or a life-threatening condition known as status epilepticus.

Resources

Donner, E. J. (2006). Complimentary and alternative therapies for epilepsy. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Epilepsy/Complementary-and-Alternative-Therapies-for-Epilepsy.aspx?articleID=6991