So why is breathing so important in epilepsy?
Yoga and tai chi are both beneficial for epilepsy management but what is the reason for this?
I have spent some time looking at what others have to say about breathing in relation to seizures. Here are some of the points which came up that have helped me to understand why breathing exercises are beneficial for epilepsy management.
These are extracts from Kenneth Cohen which are very illuminating.
According to Dr Fried’s The Psychology and Physiology of Breathing, “Rapid breathing (i.e. hyperventilation) reduces brain blood flow, while slow, deep breathing enhances it, other factors being equal.”5
‘Wilder Penfield, one of the world’s leading neurosurgeons and experts on epilepsy, wrote, “the mechanism whereby hyperventilation elicits change in the EEG and seizures in epileptic patients is still unknown. It may act by causing a partial ischemia (reduced blood flow) due to cerebral vasoconstriction, and there may be some increase in excitability accompanying the lowered CO2 concentration.”6 (ref info source ) p116
This book by Kenneth Cohen is a fantastic resource for any chigong or tai chi practitioner as it very clearly lays out the components of chi gung practice.
Kenneth Cohen makes accessible through his understanding of the Chinese language and qigong practice what is often lost in English translation.
What he makes clear is that research into breathing has led to the discovery that arteries can constrict causing changes in blood flow to the brain.
If you are prone to seizures or migraine this is very valuable information indeed.
The Way of Qigong – The art and science of Chinese Energy Healing by Kenneth S. Cohen ISBN 0-345-42109-4