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The use of hypnosis with epilepsy

Hypnosis with epilepsy seems promising. Epilepsy occurs when suddenly there is a short disturbance in the transmission of signals in the brains in the form of a seizure. De number of seizures and the severity varies from person to person. Sometimes a cause is given for the problem and sometimes not. The treatment by regular health care is usually giving anti-epileptic medication. About 35% of the patients does not respond sufficiently positive and that is the reason why people are searching for complementary alternative treatment. An extensive overview of the alternative treatment of epilepsy is given in the book: Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy. This book is written by three professors in medicine. Many alternative treatments are discussed and evaluated. To name a few: Meditation, Neurofeedback therapy, Ayurveda, Acupuncture. In this book a number of points made invite to think very seriously about using hypnosis with epilepsy.

Stress en epilepsy

Patients indicate that stress and stress related events can influence the number and severity of epileptic seizures. Klinical research shows that in these anecdotal cases there is a strong relation to stress related epileptic seizures. the specific stress factores are not yet specified sufficiently. Being troubled with epilepsy is a stress factor in itself and too much stress of not being able to cope well with stress is especially problematic for people with epilepsy. Factors that contribute to an epileptic seizure are sleep deprivation, hyperventilation, being overtired and overexerting oneself happen more often when feeling stressed. In an important research with 149 adults stress was the most important factor preceding a seizure. That is why stress reduction is an important factor for the wellbeing of epileptic patients.

Autogenic training

Autogene training is a method of relaxation that was developed by Johann Schultz, a neurologist from Germany. Autogene training is a form of self hypnosis that gives the person a high level of physical and mental controle. Research shows that positive results can be made using autogene training.


Self controle seems an important factor to prevent or reduce the severity of an epileptic seizure as shown in studies. General effects are described as relaxation, release of fear and cognitive changes. For the person it is irrelevant what works as long as it works.

So it seems that smelling a specific smell has the effect that it inhibits the part of the brain from where the seizures originate. For instance by smelling the scent of jasmine the memory of small takes over and suppresses or prevents a seizure. The interesting thing is that after learning this method the thought of the smell of jasmine seems to be sufficient to stop the seizure without smelling the scent itself.


The authors of Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy indicate that patients are warned against using hypnosis. This problem is partly caused because of hypnosis shows and movies. The authors consider hypnosis as a safe therapy when working with a well trained hypnotherapist. For induction techniques it is important to use relaxation inductions and not using inductions that use a startling element and not using shock inductions. The hypnotherapist must make sure not to evoke situations that are known by the person to evoke a seizure. A good intake is important. Bringing the person out of trance needs to be done slowly and carefully.

Aromatherapie in combination with hypnosis

The authors describe in their book that an anker can be placed to evoke relaxation by having the person smell an essential oil such as jasmin. Using the scent of jasmin or another essential oil the person can bring back the feeling of relaxation on his or her own. The results of a research conducted with 100 patients who were followed during the period of a year and who were treated with hypnosis in combination witha aromatherapy and massage are impressive. 38 persons stayed completely free of seizures, 31 persons had a 50% reduction, 25 had no effect and 6 were worse of.

In conclusion

Hypnosis, autogenic training and self hypnose possible in combination with aromatherapy seems to be promising for people suffering from epilepsy. It is important to find a well trained hypnotherapist and treat the person under the referral of a qualified medical professional. In any case it is important for a hypnotherapist to know if and how treatment is allowed according to local legislation. Furthermore a hypnotherapist should always refrain from any advise with regards to starting or stopping regular health care unless the person has a sufficient medical qualification to do so.