Q. I am a 30 years old male that has never had any kind of epilepsy nor seizures, but I have suffered 7 nocturnal seizures since August 2010.

At first I thought that smoking cannabis could have been the reason for those seizures and I stopped, but after over 6 months I had an other few in the last three months (and I haven't been smoking since January 2011).

The only link I manage to find so far is physical exercise: I tend to get an episode the night after I have been running or going to the gym. My doctor suggested it might be linked to endorphin.

I was given a therapy (400mg of Tegretol) to be taken daily, but I don't want to start it as the side effects can be rather nasty.

I read on a few websites that acupuncture could help in cases like mine.

Could it?

and should I contact a specific kind of acupuncturist?


A. There is some evidence from Chinese research, which is not generally accepted in the West, that acupuncture alongside standard treatment may be beneficial for this problem, but the trials are mostly methodologically poor and inconclusive. This does not mean that it may not be helped by treatment, only that the evidence on which to base any predictive claims is not adequate. However, if someone has been prescribed medication, we would regard the most responsible course of action to be for the practitioner, with the patient's consent, to talk to the GP or hospital consultant who drew up the prescription about using acupuncture alongside, or instead of, the medication.

This is one of a number of situations where patients might want to come off, or not take, prescribed medications, but the duty of care which BAcC members have means that they cannot recommend or endorse this. There are also ethical issues about agreeing to treat someone who might be putting themselves at risk by doing so. While nocturnal seizures are not usually life threatening in themselves, it is highly likely that your medical practitioner will have a definite treatment plan in mind, and the BAcC would have some reservations about any member who compromised it. It is not clear from the question whether the seizures have been investigated and the diagnosis confirmed by EEG or scans. This may have a bearing on your doctor's reasoning.

There are no specific types of acupuncturist; all BAcC members are trained to the same high standards and capable of offering the same standard of treatment.

Post a question

If you have any questions about acupuncture, browse our archive or ask an expert.

Ask an expert

BAcC Factsheets

Research based factsheets have been prepared for over 60 conditions especially for this website

Browse the facts