Acupuncture for Epilepsy in East Asian Medicine

Epilepsy is very old disease in Eastern-one of the first known documentation of epilepsy appeared in ‘the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine'(700-221 BC)-and Western Medicine as well and there are still many people suffering from Epilepsy even with all the medication backed by the 21c highly advanced neuroscience in this country and they do not seem to know that there are other complementary and alternative therapies which can go with the western allopathic medicine and maximize the whole improvement and decrease the side effects of the current medication.

I myself has been recently interested in the conditions of those people with Epilepsy in this country and started treating them, and feeling the need to give the information of the Eastern Medicine and acupuncture for Epilepsy.

First let’s see how many Americans have Epilepsy and Seizures!

Below is the statistics of Epilepsy in USA from Epilepsy Foundation

  • Epilepsy and seizures affect almost 3 million Americans of all ages,at an estimated annual cost of $15.5 billion in direct and indirect costs.
  • Approximately 200,000 new cases of seizures and epilepsy occur each year.
  • Ten percent of the American population will experience a seizure in their lifetime.
  • Three percent will develop epilepsy by age 75.

In East Asian Medicine, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine work hand in hand.

How Acupuncture works for Epilepsy?

  • Studies have shown that acupuncture produces endocrine and neurological responses helpful in counteracting the effects of stress.
  • fMRI study of PC6 at Harvard Medical school showed direct hypothalamus activities.
  • Studies show that acupuncture increases cholecystokinin level in the central nervous system a deficiency of which can cause seizures.
  • Clinical  researches show: before acupuncture, EEG showed moderate generalized cortical dysfunction with no electrographic seizures, and no overt seizure activity.

If you research yourself on the internet, you will find so many studies and clinical researches, showing that acupuncture reduces the frequency and severity of seizure, decrease the post seizure symptoms and so on.- too many to enumerate.

From my knowledge and experience of treating epilepsy as a physician, I’d like to tell you that although each epileptic patient seems to respond to acupuncture, there has no side-effect, and some really show the noticeable improvement and want to have regular acupuncture treatment and at times the herbal medicine as indicated. Therefore it is really worth trying, and if you have experienced the side effects of your medication, more likely this therapy will help you.

According to the causes of your epilepsy and seizure and its severity and also the imbalanced elemental energy of your mind and body, I choose the acupuncture points and also the proper technique and you probably have those needles on the body 20-30min. You feel more calm and grounded or at times, gentle wave over the area where the needles are placed or sometimes along the meridian and whole body.

The most recommended frequency of acupuncture treatments is 2/week for 6 weeks and once a week for a long term control and maintenance, however you will start the improvement around 4-6 sessions.

The herbal medicine; there are the herbs and the formulas that have been used for many centuries in Asian countries for epilepsy and seizures. I also use the herbal medicine, usually starting twice a day for 10 days at the beginning of the treatment. when the patient has excessive phlegm and dampness or constipation, the herbal medicine help to remove those and clear the bowel.

One of the most popularly used formula is ‘tian ma gou teng yin’.

and in this formula, the chief herbs are Gastrodia(tian ma) and Uncaria(gou teng).

My Conclusion:

Still many acupuncturists do not want to treat epilepsy, why?, because they do not want to take any risks, ‘what if?’, but acupuncturists learned from the school how to treat Epilepsy and know its efficacy. I really like to help those people with epilepsy and also educate the publics about acupuncture’s benefit for Epilepsy, and hope to see many more acupuncturists in this country opening their practices to and confidently treating them.