Complementary approaches and epilepsy

At present the most successful treatment for epilepsy is anti-epileptic medication.

Research into the use and effectiveness of complementary therapies in epilepsy is limited, but interest in this area is growing and more work is being carried out.

Complementary therapies can help to give people with epilepsy a sense of control over their bodies and lives, and in improving their sense of well-being. Complementary approaches are best used as a complement to an existing drug treatment, with both the knowledge and approval of the doctor.

Several people we interviewed had used complementary therapies at some point. A few people noted that they had not used complementary approaches for epilepsy but had used them for other conditions. One woman, who had trained in complementary therapies, said she had benefited from aromatherapy oils, reflexology, and group counselling.

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Some people discussed the advantages of having an aromatherapy massage. One man described benefiting from cranial massage. He also discussed the costs of complementary therapies and that he would have liked more information on alternative treatments. Others expressed doubts about the effectiveness of complementary approaches to epilepsy.

A few of those interviewed had used the Bach Rescue Remedy and noted how it had helped them feel more relaxed. Several people mentioned the importance of relaxing and recalled trying breathing exercises, yoga and meditation. Others reported occasionally using hypnotherapy and acupuncture. One person discussed using biofeedback, and another explained how homeopathy had helped him. He also recommended going to reputable, registered practitioners.

Diet was an important consideration for some people. One woman, whose son had severe epilepsy, discussed the dairy-free and gluten-free diet that he was on. Another woman, who had slowly been weaned off anti-epileptic drugs, reported being on a Chinese diet.

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When discussing complementary therapies, several people also noted the therapeutic effects of music and art. One man explained how art, creative writing and meditation had benefited him over the years.

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Some therapeutic activities, such as gardening, art or walking, cost little or nothing. They may also improve general health, fitness and confidence.

Last reviewed May 2016.
Last updated May 2016.


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