Classical Chinese Medicine theory states there are two types of epilepsy, one yin and the other yang. The yin patient is calm, their eyes are dull and they may talk to themselves in a low voice; the yang patient’s eyes are bright, they speak loudly and may become violent.
It is believed that the heart stores the spirit – the mental consciousness, the mind. Therefore, when a patient loses consciousness it always means that an evil has attacked the heart; here the evil is said to be a heavy mucus-like material that occurs in the blood when liver is excessive and spleen deficient. The heart organ has many orifices and it is believed that this mucus can block them and, as a result, prevent sufficient qi reaching the heart. When qi is unable to access the heart organ, consciousness is lost. Treatment consists of clearing the blockages and this is performed by needling the Heart and/or Pericardium Meridian.
As well, severe or persistent anger or extreme fever can cause evil qi to attack the heart and both these conditions may result in epileptic seizures. These blockages to circulation are generally blockages to the flow of Ying Qi and are treated with both needling and herbs.
The same or a very similar acupuncture treatment is used for most brain related problems, whether the problem is yin or yang. For example, the needling treatments for epilepsy are also used to treat Alzheimer’s because both conditions require treatments that raise yang qi to the brain.
Treatment of a new epileptic involves applying moxibustion to GV20 until they become conscious.
The general treatment for epilepsy is highly effective and consists of treating the extra-meridian point Sishencong (also known as Szushenchung and EX HN1). Four 1.5 inch needles are used. Ask the patient to take a deep breath before inserting each needle horizontally – that is, just under the skin – till the point of each needle is one body inch from the acupuncture point. The placement of the four needles is symmetrical; one comes from the front, one from the back, one from the right and one from the left. This treatment increases the strength of the qi. Governing Vessel 16 and Gallbladder 20 can also be treated and usually are.
In order to clear the mucus, treat Stomach 40 or 36. To release extreme anger, treat liver points. With extreme fire evil choose Pericardium 7 to increase energy and decrease fire evil or Heart 7, The Door of Consciousness. For a steadying effect, add a kidney point like Kidney 6.
Treat the patient daily – every other day if daily treatments are not possible. Perform at least ten treatments initially. At this point, the disease may recur; emergency treatment for a seizure is to apply stick moxibustion to GV20 till the patient revives.
Epileptic patients often look strong and healthy. However, if the patient is weak, it is important to promote the immune system so they don’t develop more mucus or different physical problems. Always remember to keep The Five Phases in balance.
Improvement is indicated when the time between seizures increases, when the intensity of the seizure decreases, when the intensity of the prodromal headache decreases or when consciousness is not lost during seizures. As the patient improves, they may reach a point where they only suffer from headache. However, because patients have been known to have a seizure after many seizure-free years, it is always impossible to state that an epileptic patient has been cured.