TCM for Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that is caused by excessive or abnormal activity in the neural areas of the brain. It is more likely to occur in younger children and those above 65 years of age, but other instances are not uncommon. Epilepsy is rarely cured by medication, but can be controlled so that the seizures are spaced out. Brain surgery is considered in rare cases, but is not a guarantee of a cure. It is often confined to certain stages of life and the patient may simply outgrow these problems. It is not a single disorder and can have many symptoms, but in all cases, the episodes are built around abnormal activity in the electrical parts of the brain. Seizures can be partial or generalized and would depend on the extent of involvement of the various parts of the brain. Some seizures may lead to muscular contractions in some parts of the body. Epilepsy can also lead to amnesia, loss of consciousness, and other unusual sensations or emotions. There may also be deep sleep episodes caused by epilepsy. It is also known to cause out-of-body sensations. Allergic reactions to food are also sometimes responsible for epileptic seizures and it is necessary that this aspect be examined where children are concerned. Low allergen diets are known to help reduce the incidence of epilepsy.
Vitamin and folic acid supplements can help to control epileptic seizures, however, these need to be carried out with strict medical supervision as adverse effects can also happen. Vitamin B6, taurine (an amino acid) and omega 3 fatty acids are also known to help patients with epilepsy. There is a Chinese herb called bupleurum which is used in combination with peony root, cassia bark, jujube fruit, ginger root and pinellia root to form two different herbal formulae known as sho-saiko and saiko-keishi. Other ingredients in the two formulae are ginseng root, licorice root and skullcap root. These Chinese medicines are known to help people with epilepsy without any negative side effects.
Acupuncture and massage therapy are other therapies for epilepsy that have had a significant presence in the treatment of this disorder. Acupuncture has been known to reduce seizures and also control abnormal brain activity that causes the seizures. Studies in China have established that treatment of epilepsy where acupuncture and massage is used along with certain herbs have had the best results. A study in Germany which involved almost a hundred people established that acupuncture treatment over a period of up to 18 months showed marked improvement in 65 percent of the cases. All drugs were discontinued during the period of the test.
There are two types of massage therapy that have been known to be effective in treating epileptic patients. They are Cranial-Sacral Therapy and Aromatherapy. Cranial-Sacral therapy helps to get fluid moving freely around the brain thus releasing any blockages that can cause seizures. Aromatherapy using Jasmine makes the patient associate the scent with relaxation and this induced state of relaxation can reduce the possibility of seizures.