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ACUPUNCTURE’S ROLE IN MANAGING EPILEPSY Presented by Maoshing Ni, Ph.D., D.O.M., L.Ac. Ban B. Wong, M.S., L.Ac. TAO OF WELLNESS Can Acupuncture Help Epilepsy? Acupuncture May Reduce the Frequency and Severity of Epileptic Seizures Acupuncture May Decrease Post-Seizure Symptoms

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acupuncture s role in managing epilepsy


Presented by

Maoshing Ni, Ph.D., D.O.M., L.Ac.

Ban B. Wong, M.S., L.Ac.


can acupuncture help epilepsy
Can Acupuncture Help Epilepsy?
  • Acupuncture May Reduce the Frequency and Severity of Epileptic Seizures
  • Acupuncture May Decrease Post-Seizure Symptoms
  • Acupuncture May Also Reduce Side-Effects of Anti-Seizure Medications
research 1
A study of 1,315 patients treated with acupuncture along with herbal medicine over a two year period, conducted by Fushan Epilepsy Hospital in China, as published by its director, Dr. Shoyin Wei


1,087 (82%) cases received complete remission.

170 (13%) cases experienced substantial decrease in frequency and rate of seizure episodes.

58 (4%) cases experienced no change.

Research 1
research 2
Research 2
  • One German study involved 98 people with epilepsy over 12-18 months, 65 people showed marked improvements with an absence of seizures during a one-year period without drugs. Afterwards, patients received acupuncture maintenance treatments once a week over 2-3 months. Relapses occurred in 5 cases.
  • Epilepsia, May/June 1991, pp. 289-302. 2. Fisher, M.V., "Acupuncture Therapy in the Outpatient Department of the Heidelberg University Clinic." Anaesthetist. 31(1):25-32, 1982.
research 3
Research 3
  • One U.S. study of acupuncture on 5 dogs with seizure disorder, all had decreased numbers of seizures after being treated with acupuncture. Three continued to have fewer seizures with lower levels of anticonvulsants; the other two dogs also had a reduction in seizures.

Klide, A.M. et al. "Acupuncture Therapy for the Treatment of Intractable Idiopathic Epilepsy in Five Dogs." Acupuncture Electrotherapy Research, 12 (1), 1987, pp. 71-4.

how does acupuncture work
How Does Acupuncture Work?
  • Studies have shown acupuncture to produce endocrine and neurological responses as well as helpful in counteracting the effects of stress
  • fMRI study of P6 at Harvard Medical School showed direct hypothalamus activities
  • fMRI study of G37 at UCI showed direct visual cortex activities
  • Studies show acupuncture increases cholecystokinin level in the central nervous system--a deficiency of which can cause seizure
case study
Case Study

A 7-year-old female patient in the pediatric intensive care unit with intractable seizures for 6 weeks.


Y.C. Lin, MD, MPH, Dept of Anesthesia, Stanford University School of Medicine

and G. Hong, MD, Oregon Academy of Medical Acupuncture,


Acupuncture: 3 treatments for the first week, then 2 times weekly for 4 weeks. Each treatment was 10 minutes long, and electrical stimulation was performed at low frequency.


Before Acupuncture: EEG showed periods of burst suppression alternating with periods of continuous seizure activity.

After Acupuncture: EEG showed moderate generalized cortical dysfunction with no electrographic seizures, and no overt seizure activity was noted; more obvious change at the second treatment.

Result: Patient was weaned off phenobarbital drip and was transferred to the regular ward. Following discontinuation of her tracheotomy tube, she was transferred to a rehabilitation facility.


Seizure is viewed in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM):

1. One of the four major disorders affecting children

2. The first known documentation of epilepsy appeared in the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine (700-221 B.C.)

3. TCM considers Seizure as “Wind” generated by extremes of Heat or Cold

recent development
Recent Development
  • Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy were the topic of a recent three-day course at New York University School of Medicine in New York City
seminar continued
Seminar Continued

“There are many approaches to complementary and alternative therapies and that many patients [with epilepsy] benefit from the additional treatments.”

Orrin Devinsky, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, Director NYU-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

seminar continued15
Seminar Continued

“Alternative therapies can include …. aromatherapy to yoga, hypnosisto massage therapy, pet therapy to magnetic stimulation, or acupuncture to herbs.”

traditional chinese herbs

Anticonvulsive effects

Raises Seizure Threshold and inhibits development of epilpsy signs on EEG

Duration of effect in stopping seizure after halting treatment is longer than phenobarbital


Anticonvulsive effects

Stopped seizure in induced epilepticus in guinea pigs

Regulates blood pressure

Calming effect

Traditional Chinese Herbs
current research on herbal medicine
Current Research on Herbal Medicine
  • Dr. Steven Schachter, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and Associate Director of Clinical Research at the HMS Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies, recently received a research grant from The Epilepsy Project to lead a study on East Asian herbs as a potential source of new anti-seizure medications.
dr steven
Dr. Steven

“The main goal of the study is to scientifically study herbs and combinations of herbs that have traditionally been used over a number of centuries in East Asia to treat seizures.The ultimate goal is to discover new compounds that could possibly undergo further testing in people with epilepsy.”

- Steven Schachter, MD

international collaboration
International Collaboration
  • China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
  • Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Keio University, Japan.
  • Harvard Medical School Division for Research and Education in Complementary & Integrative Medical Therapies (David Eisenberg, M.D., Steve Schachter, M.D.)
  • Ban B. Wong, M.S., L.Ac., Tao of Wellness, U.S.
the future model for epilepsy
The Future Model for Epilepsy
  • An Integrative Approach
    • Lifestyle Management
    • Meditation/Stress Management
    • Dietary Therapy
    • Massage Therapy
    • Herbal Therapy
    • Acupuncture
    • Drug Therapy
    • Surgery
our contact info
Our Contact Info

1131 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 300

Santa Monica, CA 90401