International Health News

Epileptics may benefit from aromatherapy

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM. "There are simple ways of helping people with epilesy avoid seizures, but unfortunately doctors and patients are generally not aware of them." So says Dr. Tim Betts, a consultant neuropsychiatrist and senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham. Dr. Betts points out that many epileptics know in advance when they are going to have a seizure and that about half know what sets if off. He suggests that reducing stress levels through relaxation is an excellent idea for anyone suffering from seizures. He is particularly impressed with the results using aromatherapy in combination with massage. Aromatherapy massage using oils such as ylang ylang, bergamot, camomile, lavender, and jasmine are profoundly relaxing and the feeling of relaxation they induce can, after a while, be recaptured immediately by sniffing a small bottle of the oil. Dr. Betts has found that many epilepsy patients after three or four aromatherapy massages are able to avoid seizures by gently inhaling lavender or jasmine oil whenever they feel an impending seizure. In a small trial involving 50 epileptics he found that a quarter of the patients eliminated their seizures altogether by using this method. Dr. Betts cautions that rosemary and other oils containing camphor should not be used by epileptics. He also suggests that patients should make an effort to become aware of what sets off their seizures and then avoid these situations. Sitting too close to the set when watching television apparently is a fairly common precipitating factor.
Betts, Tim. Not a fit response. The Therapist, Vol. 6, No. 3, Summer 1999, pp. 15- 18

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