I have a prospective client with severe epilepsy – Grand Mal Seizures. He’s had it since his mid teens and he is now in his 50-60s. Epilepsy runs in the family, but he has also suffered several incidents of trauma to the head, so I don’t know if he has inherited the epilepsy or if it has been caused by trauma, or a combination. And possibly there are lots of other restrictions making the epilepsy worse.
I haven’t treated anyone for epilepsy before. Is it advisable to treat them. I might be able to do so much for him, but since I don’t know anything about what might happen seizure-wise if I do treat him, I’m a bit scared he might have a huge seizure and die. What is your experience or what do you know of treating epilepsy with CranioSacral? What could be expected in terms of getting better or getting worse? I don’t want to take him on until I know what the risks are.
Thanks for any advise you can give.
Eva (Eva-Lena) Kuhl Bornefelt
New South Wales
I have found that the dynamic of epilepsy has two components, one is structural and the other is energetic. The structural component is usually a restriction that is impinging on some part of the brain frequently around the frontal bone.
So a thorough check of all the obvious places in that area is a good place to start. Coronal suture, both pterions, falx cerebri as it meets the frontal bone and then on down to the crista gali and how the ethmoid is sitting generally.
I generally find that if there is a sutural compression it is usually caused by a restriction in the underlying membranes. So check the falx and the membrane lining the frontal and parietal bones.
I have also found it useful to check the central sulcus. Sometimes there can be restrictions there that, once released, alleviate the epileptic symptoms. Check that the frontal and parietal lobes are separated.
The energetic component of epilepsy is like a build up of, what feels like static electricity, in the head that releases itself in the form of a fit, seizure or convulsion.
Which is kind of what happens on a physiological level when all the neurons in the brain fire at the same time during a seizure.
While we’re on the subject of fits and seizures, I’ll quickly run through the different types.
Tonic/clonic or Grand Mal seizure:
This is the classic epileptic fit. The person becomes totally unconscious with their body spasming or jerking (called the clonic phase). Grand Mals are potentially dangerous for the person because of the risk of them swallowing their tongue during a convulsion. This won’t happen if they are put in the recovery position.
With grand mals the person generally will experience warning signs that they are about to have a seizure.
Absence or petit mal seizures:
This is where the person looses concentration or focus momentarily. They appear blank, staring off into space, sort of ‘vague-ing out’. Petit mals are subtle, only last a few second and so are easily missed.
These are abrupt jerking movements of one or more limbs. They usually happen in the morning, not long after waking. Patients have described them to me as feeling like shivers that travel up their spine.
Eva, you sound a little concerned about whether your prospective patient will have a seizure on the table. If you are going to treat someone with epilepsy you need to accept the fact that this may happen.
Witnessing epileptic seizures can be disturbing if you’re not familiar with them. The person with epilepsy is familiar and so will their partner or family. So have someone come with them and be in the room. Having someone present who IS familiar with the process will make it easier for you.
The length of time required for treatment depends on the source of the epilepsy. If it’s stemming from birth or an accident it generally won’t take too long to see results. If it is caused by the after effects of meningitis it can take longer because you are working with scar tissue which you are encouraging to heal in a new way.
Standard medical practice with epilepsy is to try and manage it with various drugs.
When you palpate a body with these types of drugs, it will often feel like you are trying to palpate through a layer of cotton wool. This makes it hard to feel what is going on in the first place and then whether your treatment is having any real effect.
In the course of the treatment program you will reach a point where the insulating effect of the drugs is making it hard to know how much more work you need to do. It’s a bit like an iceberg with nine tenths of it covered by water. You need to drain off the water a bit to see what else there is to do.
BUT, you need to be careful how you handle this. Discourage the patient from doing any kind of self medicating. Strongly encourage them to go and see the prescribing doctor and ask them to reduce the medication. That way the doctor is included in the process.
The doctor will often say there is no need, particularly in light of the fact that the person has gone from having 1 grand mal a day, to 1 a week. ‘The drugs are obviously working.’ If the patient perseveres, most doctors will relent
particularly if the patient says they would prefer not to be on a drug for the rest of their lives. Doctors being very aware of the side effects of drugs and all.