As a chronic disorder, epilepsy can cause anxiety, fatigue and in many cases, pain after seizures. Sleep disturbances are also common among sufferers of epilepsy. Could yoga be helpful in alleviating any of these complaints?
Yoga for Relaxation
For many, stress reduction is an important factor in reducing seizures. Reducing stress can reduce fatigue, which in turn, may reduce seizure frequency. It is believed that yoga induces relaxation and stress reduction. In addition, the gentle stretching of sore muscles after a seizure may also help to reduce discomfort and promote quicker recovery times.
Yoga for Anxiety
Anxiety can be problematic for those suffering from seizure disorders, possibly due to the unpredictable nature of this condition. Anxieties may contribute to or occur from stress, so the relaxation techniques experienced may be beneficial in reducing anxiety both before and after seizures. Anxiety can also disturb sleep, lead to fatigue and possibly cause an increase in seizures. Since yoga tends to increase self-awareness and helps one to make modifications in other parts of their lives, it may help to curb feelings of anxiety.
Yoga for Better Sleep
Getting adequate sleep is very important in managing seizure disorders. Most adults should get between seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night to feel properly rested and refreshed the next morning. If you struggle to get to sleep at night, yoga may be helpful for you to get the rest you need. Many people find that the deep, controlled breathing patterns of yoga can be used to help them fall asleep quicker. Just the regular practice of yoga may produce a deeper, less restless sleep.
Does Yoga Lessen Seizure Frequency?
The impact of yoga on seizure frequency is highly speculative and unproven. Anecdotal stories relay how yoga has reduced seizure frequency in some people, but there is no scientific evidence that connects yoga to a reduction in seizures. However, many people explain how yoga helped them to reduce anxiety or fear before and after seizures. Others say that the breathing techniques and relaxation exercises are useful in managing their anxiety. Most epileptics who practice yoga report that they feel it is beneficial to them. Often, people who are considering whether to try yoga wonder whether they should be aware of any precautions.
Precautions for Practicing Yoga with Epilepsy
While many epileptics report positive results from practicing yoga, it is unclear whether these results will be the outcome of all patients. Some medical experts believe that the relaxation benefits of yoga could have a positive impact on seizure disorders. It is possible that yoga could be a beneficial complementary therapy for managing seizures. Tell your doctor that you would like to try yoga and be sure to report any changes you may experience. There is no guarantee that yoga will help you with your seizures, yet yoga is generally considered safe. The potential reduction in stress or anxiety may be reason enough to try yoga.
One important caveat! Yoga should not be used to replace seizure medications that your doctor has prescribed for you. It is important to maintain medication compliance for effective seizure control. Yoga can be a wonderful complementary therapy, but it is not substitute for seizure medications. The positive benefits a person experiences from yoga may likely be well worth the time and effort invested into it.
Yoga for Epilepsy. (n.d.). Retrieved September 3, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10908505
Yoga for Epilepsy. (n.d.). Retrieved September 3, 2015, from http://www.cochrane.org/CD001524/EPILEPSY_yoga-for-epilepsy
Yoga for Epilepsy. (2013, March 13). Retrieved September 3, 2015, from http://www.yogajournal.com/article/balance/seized-yoga/