Epilepsy Talk

Epilepsy: Meditation vs. Medication | August 3, 2021

Neither is mutually exclusive.

You can have medication without meditation. Most of us do.

You can do meditation without medication. Most of us wouldn’t and shouldn’t take that risk.

But together, they can enhance one another.

That’s why meditation is considered part of Complementary Alternative Medicine. (CAM)

The operative word here is: complimentary.

Some benefit by meditation tremendously. Some don’t. And for others, meditation incites seizures.

The decision is yours (and your doctor’s).

While meditation doesn’t replace medication, it may play a significant role in reducing stress-related seizures.

And who doesn’t have stress? Who wouldn’t like to dump it?

Of course the subject has incited studies, medical articles, controversies and many opinions.

Here’s the tip of the iceberg….

Yes.

First of all, there are many different forms of meditation.

But in general, meditation is a way of focusing the mind in the present moment.

You don’t have to sit in a weird position or chant or listen to Indian music.

One small study of adults with epilepsy who practiced meditation for 20 minutes per day for a year, found that they had fewer, shorter seizures and a change in EEG patterns.

The patients in the control group didn’t show significant changes.

UCLA neurologist Jerome Engel clearly thinks there is some value in meditation.

Engel described reasons to believe that meditation might help control seizures.

It increases hippocampus growth, increases fiber connectivity throughout the brain, and generates lots of activity in the mesial temporal lobe, where a lot of epilepsy is focused.

But he did acknowledge that the studies on meditation and seizure control were ambiguous at best: some even suggested that meditation could bring on seizures!

No.

Meditation has been reported to be potentially dangerous for people with epilepsy.

Neuroimaging advances in EEG, fMRI, PET and SPECT techniques have brought with them new insight to our understanding of how various relaxation techniques alter our brain function.

Recent studies show that meditation can have complex influences on the brain, which change mental, neuron-hormonal and autonomic functions such as: erratic EEG activity, increase in both brain serotonin and glutamate, (further exciting neurons), and perhaps, triggering seizures.

So, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks, as well as the benefits of meditation, if you have epilepsy.

Maybe so.

There are many ways the relaxation that comes with meditation can be helpful in managing stress and improving the quality of life.

These shouldn’t be overlooked.

But, so far these are studies. Further research is needed.

Because, as of now, there is no definitive evidence to support either the danger or effectiveness of meditation in epilepsy.

In others words, the jury is still out.

But until someone tells me to stop, I’m going to continue taking my meds and meditate on a daily basis.

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Resources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/#51aa6b9f1465

https://www.epilepsy.com/article/2014/3/meditation-epilepsy-silent-debate-wages

http://thespiritscience.net/2015/04/28/meditation-vs-medication-10-reasons-why-meditation-is-better-than-taking-pills/

https://practicalneurology.com/articles/2019-june/epilepsy-essentials-mindfulness-and-epilepsyby-janel-schneider-md

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/meditation-vs-medication-the-science-behind-the-stillness/

https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/01/13/can-meditation-treat-anxiety-better-than-medication/ZV9bK3upScZQr879sl7xaK/story.html

https://www.epilepsy.com/living-epilepsy/healthy-living/stress-and-wellness/mindfulness-epilepsy

https://www.rscdiagnosticservices.com/blog/is-relaxation-meditation-safe-for-epileptics


2 Comments »

  1. I’m one of those that can quite easily meditate myself into a seizure, I suspect that’s how I got started as my number one employable skill is the ability to focus cometely on complex system tasks. Meditation is dangerous for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Bill — August 3, 2021 @ 1:56 PM

  2. Gosh, that’s the other way around, isn’t it? 🤔

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — August 3, 2021 @ 4:57 PM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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