Epilepsy develops when the brain cells are malfunctioning. Symptoms vary and depend on the types of seizures. In most cases, a patient with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms will be similar from one episode to another. Symptoms often include temporary confusion, a staring spell, uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs, loss of awareness, and psychotic symptoms.

There are two main types of epilepsy, based on how the abnormal brain activity starts. These are focal seizures (abnormal activity in just one area of the brain), and generalized seizures (abnormal activity in all areas of the brain).

Epilepsy has no cause in half of the cases. Other causes could be a brain tumor or stroke, infectious diseases, head trauma, developmental disorders like autism, baby’s brain damage during pregnancy, or you were born with this disease.

How can acupuncture help?

In a clinical trial result published in 2014 in the Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine on patients with epilepsy, the effectiveness of head and body acupuncture was better than the effectiveness of the oral Valproate therapy.

A laboratory experiment conducted by researchers from Chinese Medical University has shown that both auricular (ear) acupuncture and body style electro-acupuncture are effective in patients with epilepsy caused by inflammation. Acupuncture is believed to reduce the exaggerating activity of the brain cells.

The autonomic nervous system includes the sympathetic autonomic nervous system and the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system. Most organs have nerves from both the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.  An abnormal activity of the parasympathetic systems may lead to seizures. A clinical review published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine has come to conclude that seizures could be suppressed by auricular acupuncture therapy due to balancing the parasympathetic systems’ functions.


1. Healthcare Medicine Institute; 2014; Anti-inflammatory Acupuncture Halts Epileptic Seizures. Link

2. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine; 2011; Auricular Acupuncture May Suppress Epileptic Seizures via Activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System: A Hypothesis Based on Innovative Methods. Link

  1. National Knowledge Infrastructure; 2014; Clinical observation on treating 30 cases of epilepsy by head and body acupuncture. Link
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