A very important component of China’s medical heritage for over 4,000 years, acupuncture was introduced into the United States in the early 70’s.

Because of its extreme effectiveness, it has become one of the most sought after forms of complementary and alternative therapies around. People’s worries about extremely invasive and harmful after-effects of neurosurgical and pharmacological modalities have led to the rise in the use of alternative and complementary medicine.

Even if no clinical studies have produced a definitive proof that it works in treating epilepsy, acupuncture can directly improve the condition of a person suffering from epilepsy. Thousands of anecdotal evidence has shown that this healing procedure effectively lessens anxiety and stress, which are some of the factors that trigger seizures.

Acupuncture treatment has also led to an improvement of people’s underlying health and well-being. It also works for fatigue and headaches associated with epileptic seizures.

The goal of acupuncture is not merely to alleviate symptoms, but also to address the root cause of the condition. Acupuncture is a holistic type of treatment that brings back balance to the spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of the person.

This treatment also provides epilepsy sufferers a better ability to manage their condition, improve their sense of well-being, and give them a much better sense of control over their bodies. The fact is, a growing number of individuals with epilepsy are discovering that this very old treatment assists them in controlling seizures.

While a doctor may measure blood loss and the heartbeat of our body as well as palpate our pulse, an acupuncturist observes our tongue and reads our pulse to gather vital information about organs such as the liver, spleen, abdomen, etc. The pulse, to an acupuncturist, can reveal the state of health of the energy systems in our body, something that Western medicine does not even consider.

The acupuncturist classifies the pulse into a dozen main parts. The wrist has six and each of them is associated with the twelve primary energy systems of our body. One specific type of energy corresponds to a particular organ and all these energies flow through energy vessels known as meridians.

Acupuncturists get to know where the needles need to be placed after determining how energy circulates all over the patient’s body.

A typical traditional acupuncture procedure will involve the sticking into the skin of very fine needles or pins into certain parts of a person’s body to activate the energy vessels and initiate the natural processes of healing.

How deep the needles go depends on the part of the body being treated.

More often than not, the inserted needles are left in the body for around 20 to 40 minutes. Occasionally, the needles may just be inserted for a few seconds or a full hour. Its stimulating power may be enhanced by laser, electricity or by hand manipulation.

Scientists have yet to discover the scientific mechanism that makes acupuncture work. Some have theorized that acupuncture helps produce and sets free the body’s own pain-killing chemicals known as endorphins to help the person relax and assist in the healing process of the body. Bob Clarke is an Oregon based acupuncturist who believes that acupuncture can be a very useful treatment for epilepsy, although how well the treatment goes depends on the extent and type of the patient’s condition.

He is an expert when it comes to epilepsy treatment. He states that acupuncture can really help decrease the severity and frequency of seizures. Acupuncture addresses the source of the illness although its effects may often not be felt immediately. So for those who expect immediate results, acupuncture may not be for you.

Acupuncture can help treat lower back pain, addictions, stroke rehabilitation, headaches, and migraines according to a consensus statement issued by the National Institutes of Health in 1998. We can now include epilepsy to this official list.

Acupuncture Treatment Risks

Acupuncture can have certain albeit minimal risks, a recent study has indicated. A team of scientists studied more than 3 decades of medical literature, gathering information about instances in which individuals had been seriously harmed by acupuncture. They found that the treatment causes four fatalities and 110 serious injuries; the piercing of the surrounding tissue or the lungs where the most common issues found. The scientists believe that all complications were caused by the lack of skill of the acupuncturist.

In a botched acupuncture treatment, It can be argued that the acupuncturists who erred weren’t very skilled. As with most treatments, the patient can feel worse before he/she gets better; sometimes, also the treatment many not actually work at all. Most states require the passing of a state board exam before the acupuncturist can practice his/her profession in the state he/she is in. This helps a lot in minimizing the likelihood of injuries during an acupuncture procedure.

Here are some helpful advices to minimize the risks of accidents and injuries during an acupuncture procedure:

1. Ask for credentials – Your acupuncturist should be a licensed practitioner who had been trained at an accredited school. He/she should have 2,000 – 3,000 hours of training behind him/her.

2. Your acupuncturist should only use sterile, single-use, disposable needles to prevent the rise of infectious diseases

3. Ask your acupuncturist how much experience he/she has in treating epilepsy.


In the United States, around 10 million people have tried acupuncture according to statistics provided by the National Institutes of Health. The Chinese have never had a clinical study about acupuncture that didn’t produce negative results. This is difficult to believe and has even raised more the negative opinion about acupuncture among skeptics.

But since there have been a ton of anecdotal evidence and a number of clinical studies to show that acupuncture works, the question that should be asked now is why there are still skeptics to this treatment. If evidence from thousands or scientific studies and millions of personal testimonies doesn’t sway them, nothing will.

To countless number of patients and acupuncturists, it may seem obvious to them that the skeptics are just being obstinate, or worse crazy. Skeptics who believe that acupuncture does not work are plainly wrong. Acupuncture is a very powerful, safe and natural treatment for a lot of individuals.

Zuobiao (Roy) Yuan is a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of chinese medicine in Edina, MN.