Ode to Homeopathy

 

My meditation,no more medication

Food for thought

Not good for contemplation,

Is life not hard enough without demotivation?

 

Difficult to see through fog

A path is hard to find,

The mind becomes a quagmire

I am lost and I am blind.

 

Challenged pharmaceutically

Is blood thicker than water?

The memory of what went before

Impressed upon a daughter

 

Given up biology

A need to go much smaller,

The head confined into a cell

It takes time to walk taller.

 

Where did I go wrong?

Prison is not the place to dwell,

For ignorance is only bliss

When not in living hell.

 

Physics shone like a blinding light

For the answer was inside,

My knight in shining armour

Now there’s no place left to hide.

 

Mind and body reunited

A homeopath was my guide

The soul is not a cell I feel

As a whole I now reside.

 

Thank you http://mariangray.co.uk/  I’v been accepted onto Acupucture course – you did a good job hunny, hope you enjoy seeing the world.

 

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What do Epilepsy, Autism, Hormones, Sleep, Music, Meditation, Exercise have in common? The Hippocampus and Neurogenesis.

This was my first full year of blogging and it has been an enormous learning curve.

Blogging has been an amazing way to connect with other people, read about life experiences, thoughts, emotions and ideas. Thank you to all the bloggers whose work I have read this year. It has been very enriching.

For me, I have been able to express myself in writing, and to say what I am thinking about – which is quite liberating.

Most of all blogging has helped me to make sense of epilepsy.

So, when I was looking back at all the subjects that came up in the last year, I was struck by how although very different subject areas were covered, a number of these topics  could all be knitted together in a ‘holistic’ kind of way via one area of the brain.

The hippocampus.(1)

Architecturally the hippocampus sits within the limbic system (2) fairly centrally inside the brain (towards the brainstem).

This area of the brain is implicated in; mood, memory, learning and spatial awareness. Because of these factors the study of the hippocampus has been important in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and depression.

Relatively recently scientists identified the hippocampus as one of a number of areas in the brain that is capable of neurogenesis into adulthood. (3) Neurogenesis is the ability of the brain to create new neurons.

For this reason the hippocampus crops up in lots of neurological studies.

Within epilepsy for example, some of the factors that aggravate seizure symptoms generally are sleep deprivation and stress. Sleep deprivation and stress negatively affect neurogenesis and there are a number of studies around the relationship with epilepsy and the hippocampus. One study in particular shows; abnormal neurogenesis in the hippocampus of people with epilepsy, increased neurogenesis in people with epilepsy and inhibited neurogenesis in the hippocampus, in particular a study relating to temporal lobe epilepsy (4). All of these problems can impact on mood, depression, memory and learning in epilepsy.

Having found information that epilepsy and autism can be linked I started exploring this area more and even found people advocating for both such as Epilepsy Action’s Advocate blog (5).

Within autism, the hippocampus is mentioned in studies relating to the importance of autism and working memory. (6) The reason I was looking at this relationship is because one of my friends who is on the autistic spectrum benefits highly from martial arts training. I read an article ages ago in ‘Martial Arts Illustrated’ magazine  about ‘Sandra Jane Beale Ellis’(7) who has autism and has spent her life helping people with autism to train in Karate (8). Recently someone posted a blog about how kung fu and tai chi training help people with autism. (9) These studies reminded me how much tai chi training helped me with seizures and how much my memory, concentration, co-ordination and overall health was improved by tai chi and karate training. Some studies of autism indicate that an enriched learning environment from a young age in autism can be beneficial to promote neurogeneisis (10).

Hormones such as cortisol negatively effects neurogenesis within the hippocampus (11) cortisol is elevated by stress. Studies relating to oestrogen show there may be some impact of this hormone within the hippocampus and co-ordination (12) I found this research interesting because of problems I have around oestrogen and progesterone and seizure control. Melatonin (13) studies within the hippocampus indicate that melatonin may have neuroprotective qualities and indeed other bloggers with epilepsy have said that they find melatonin supplementation to be beneficial (14).

This leads onto Sleep deprivation negatively influences or reduces neurogenesis within the hippocampus (15). I am quite interested in the importance of sleep in relation to this area of the brain, because it crops up a lot in my personal experience of managing seizures. Reading about Jill Taylor Bolt stroke insight caused me to think about how sleep influences the brain and why. The asdresearchinitiative also shows a study of how sleep pattern problems impact on autism. (16) During sleep the brain goes through a process of ‘pruning’ neurons, this process also happens at different times in life. (17) (18)

Music came up more recently in relation to the ‘Mozart effect ’ in classical music (19). Studies of the hippocampus in music show how the hippocampus is implicated in long term memory and stringing together music in the brain. The music of Mozart in particular has been used to train mice to carry out spatial tasks in mazes, and one theory is that music may activate the same pathways as spatial awareness in the brain. (20) Music can cause emotional responses and I was interested how the hippocampus is located in the emotional brain or limbic system.

Within meditation, Studies into meditation have shown that meditation influences neuroplasticity and neurogenesis positively within the hippocampus. (21)

Exercise studies show that exercise promotes neurogenesis within the hippocampus. (22) In relation to exercise and mental health exercise has been shown to have a positive influence on mental health and some studies show that this positively influences the hippocampus. (23) This could explain why life systems such as yoga or tai chi which incorporate meditation as well as exercise are very good for the mind and body, because they support growth in the hippocampus.

In the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Kidney energy (24), is an area that I felt conceptually could be linked to neurogenesis by ‘pre natal chi’ (25) or Jing. This is because of the involvement of the Central Nervous System and stem cells in neurogenesis (26). I also thought that this could be carried across into ‘sexual energy’ or ‘kundalini’ in yoga.

Of course the hippocampus is only one small area of the brain and only one small part of the ‘whole body’, but I am interested that there are so many links with so many corresponding or similar impacting factors such as stress and sleep. The hippocampus is a bit like the ‘spaghetti junction’ of the brain! It is quite important how it fits into the whole body and mind because when it goes wrong or without it (such as was the case for poor Henry Molaison who had his hippocampus removed!)(26) things could get really messy!

The hippocampus is not the be all and end all of epilepsy and autism, or brain function; but I thought it was a good area to take a ‘big picture’ ‘small area’ snapshot into holistic mind body connections.

Normally I talk about one thing at a time, but it occurred to me that it can all fit together if you cross reference all these areas to help understand mind body health!

Happy Christmas and New Year! Wishing you all the best for 2013!

 

1)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocampus

2)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbic_system limbic system

3)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurogenesis

4)      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2654382/ epilepsy

5)      http://rosewinelover.com/      Epilepsy Action Advocate Blog

6)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autism_and_working_memory

7)      http://challengeautism.wordpress.com/ Sandra Beale Ellis blog

8)      http://www.challengeautism.co.uk/#/autism-me/4543515032 autism and karate

9)      http://doctordilday.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/just-another-form-of-exercise/ tai chi and autism

10)   http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/124/7/1317.full#ref-29  enriched learning and autism

11)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurogenesis  cortisol

12)   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16965297 oestrogen and cognition

13)   http://www.angelfire.com/yt/yas709neuroscience/hippocampus1.htm melatonin

14)   http://epilepsytalk.com/2012/11/19/epilepsy-and-melatonin-yes-no-or-maybe-so/

Epilepsy Talk

15)   http://asdresearchinitiative.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/top-40-research-articles-of-2012-autism/#comment-1391 autism research

16)   http://asdresearchinitiative.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/sleep-disturbance-in-autism/ sleep autism

17)   http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/new-brain-cells-many-triggers-for-neurogenesis pruning neurons in sleep

18)   http://ahmritanaturalmentalhealth.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/autism-spectrum-as-a-developmental-disorder/ see webinar

19)   http://dragonandrose.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/epilepsy-classical-music/ Mozart effect

20)   http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro99/web1/Sancar.html

21)   http://www.brainsync.com/blog/neurogenesis-your-brain-renewed/ meditation and neurogenesis

22) http://www.enotes.com/exercise-78701-reference/exercise-108360

23)   http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/new-brain-cells-many-triggers-for-neurogenesis exercise

24)   http://wellmother.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/reflections-on-winter-part-2-how-to-support-our-water-energy-and-the-energy-of-kidney-and-bladder-and-their-relevance-to-211212/ kidney energy

25)   https://www.acufinder.com/Acupuncture+Information/Detail/The+Definition+of+Jing+-+Essence prenatal Jing

26)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurogenesis

27)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Molaison Henry Molaison

Another Rare Drugs Free Sighting! Flying without wings – someone who got off anticonvulsants!

I am very excited!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about ‘Epilepsy drugs free – is it possible to fly without wings?’

This was about the one and only person I have ever read about managing epilepsy without anticonvulsant medication.

BUT I am happy to announce I was wrong!

There is MORE than one!

I have discovered a blogger who has recorded her journey towards anticonvulsant free epilepsy management and put it online!

It’s like Christmas! Well it nearly is in 3 weeks!

The link to the blog is here:

http://epilepsycure.blogspot.co.uk/search?updated-min=2011-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2012-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=12

The blog, somewhat ambitiously titled ‘The Epilepsy Cure’ (Well why not reach for the stars?) Caught my eye straight away!

The first blog is January 2009

http://epilepsycure.blogspot.co.uk/2009_01_01_archive.html

And describes how the journey began.

The final blog is September 2011

http://epilepsycure.blogspot.co.uk/search?updated-min=2011-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2012-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=12

In a nutshell this medical student blogged her way through coming off medication and has road tested nearly every natural therapy for epilepsy known to mankind. Not only that but at the end she and her partner are about to become 3!

Not a nearly extinct species either!

She emphasises this is not a guide, and that anyone reading should do their own research, but it really is a good read!

Enjoy!

Epilepsy Drugs Free – Is It Possible to Fly Without Wings?

One year ago I opened my copy of Epilepsy Action ‘Epilepsy Today’ magazine to read the ‘My Journal’ experience pages. (1)

There before my eyes was the story of a lady so rare that she could be listed as an endangered species next in line to the Dodo.

The story read:

‘The Jury is still out on whether complementary therapies can be effectively used to treat epilepsy. After an initial seizure, Emma Wilkinson decided to try them for herself.’

‘There is very little available information about treating epilepsy naturally, without medication. If you ask your doctor about it, they will probably say that there is no scientific evidence to prove it is possible. Yet, I have done it – through natural health my seizures have stopped. After being diagnosed with epilepsy, I began upon a natural route. I have seen incredible results on my health. It is my hope that by sharing my journey, you may be inspired to look into the treatments that may be used alongside your medication.’(p 27)

Unfortunately although Epilepsy Action have started posting new issues of the magazine online the back issues are not yet up, so I will briefly outline Emma’s story.

Emma started having seizures in 2008 following a gym training session which caused her to develop a migraine and on the way home she had her first seizure.

After initial investigation and a tumour scare, her neurologist told her that a small area of her brain showed up as having died, and was harmless (not a tumour), but caused an increased risk of seizures. This condition was linked to head injury but Emma had never had one.

She had been living with Bulimia for 7 years at the time and was not sure when to tell her neurologist.

She was diagnosed with Primary generalised seizures and epilepsy in 2009, when she was offered anticonvulsant medication.

At this point Emma’s story deviates drastically from the one’s I have read about previously, because she decided to meet a natural nutritionist who listened to her concerns about the side effects of anticonvulsant medication.

She says she was cynical about meeting her nutritionist because she didn’t see how changing her diet could stop her having seizures; her doctors were quite clear there was something wrong with her brain. The nutritionist really listened to her which was the first time she felt this had happened.

Information was gathered about events surrounding her seizures, emotionally and physically, health from birth to present day, Family history of health and illness, her troubled relationship with diet and exercise.

The nutritionist was clear that she could not ‘treat’ epilepsy, but the aim was to improve migraines that seemed to be linked to the condition.

‘She (the nutritionist) explained that when we suppress illness symptoms, our bodies lose the ability to tell where imbalances lie. Her job was to understand those imbalances and teach me to treat them appropriately through gentle detoxification techniques.’(p 29)

Additionally, to help Emma reduce the stress of experiencing epilepsy.

Emma made dietary changes, created a tailored supplement programme using naturopathic techniques from the nutritionist.

Emma says ‘It was the first time since my seizure that I felt so optimistic. Rather than being consigned to a lifetime on drugs, I was given an option of trying a different way. In natural health I was expected to take an active part in my own healing process. I would rather that than passively accept a one-size-fits all drug.’

Emma’s friends and family had reservations but within 6 weeks Emma noticed fewer migraines with loss of vision.

Additionally she felt she had more energy, felt less stressed and craved less exercise, she felt the incentive to continue.

She also enrolled in counselling specifically to help with her bulimic symptoms. She went to psychotherapy. Understanding how her early life had formed her thinking, feeling and behaviour and how it affected her relationship with food. It also helped her come to terms with having epilepsy.

Things got complicated when she started her teacher training. Emma had to rely on public transport where before she could drive. Between the long journeys, work and pressure she became tired, relapsed into her old stress, exercise and bulimia problems and so a year after her first seizure she had another one.

Obviously she was devastated. With a second seizure came further loss of independence and driving. Her consultant said she was at 90% risk of more seizures.

‘After much deliberation, I came to terms with the fact that I was responsible for my own health. Perhaps another seizure was just part of the journey. It told me that something within my body was not right and needed to be addressed, rather than supressed. I could see that, despite having this second seizure, I had come so far with my health. I felt that I owed it to myself to continue. With renewed determination, I moved onto the most important part of my healing process. I didn’t want to simply work towards reducing the likelihood of having another seizure. I was finally prepared to understand what factors, other than diet, were causing them.’

Emma purchased ‘Treating Epilepsy Naturally’ by Patricia Murphy (2).

She started to receive acupuncture and zero balancing therapy in addition to nutritional therapy. She went to a complementary therapist for massage which helped her to manage stress.

Her migraines totally disappeared.

‘My overall health and vitality blossomed. I was experiencing a wonderful state of full health for the first time in ages. These practitioners have also helped support my body through detoxification. They have enabled me to get rid of negative thinking patterns. They have allowed me to understand how my emotions are mapped onto my physical body.’

Emma states that her ‘team’ of therapists helped her to come to the painful realisation that she thought she was unable to love and accept herself unconditionally.

‘All of this work helped me make lots of positive physical and emotional changes. It is only through this understanding of my physical body that I made the biggest achievement of all. I learned to believe in my own self-worth. I can love and respect myself.’

In December 2011 Emma had been seizure free since 2009 and was looking forward to a career in music and was experiencing good physical and emotional health.

Emma finishes by acknowledging the contribution that western medicine has had on epilepsy treatment options.

She goes onto say ‘Western medicine encourages us to believe that doctors hold the power and have the answers that will cure us. It does not encourage us to listen to what our bodies are telling us or try to understand why a seizure occurs. I have learned that full health is my right – but it is also my responsibility.’

Emma ends by saying that natural health offers a totally effective therapy that can be tried alongside medication. She thinks it can work for everyone.

Epilepsy Today have BIG red writing paragraphs underneath about there being no scientific evidence to suggest that any type of complementary treatment is successful in curing epilepsy; AND about using complementary treatment alongside anti-epileptic medication rather than on its own.

It also signposts to www.cnhc.org.uk Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council to find a trained and qualified complementary healthcare practitioner.

Personally there is a lot about Emma’s story that I could relate two, although the circumstances around our epilepsies are completely different.

I would also state that in my experience no anticonvulsant medication has ever ‘cured’ the seizures I experience.

I have also used a large number of complementary therapies on my epilepsy journey, and there is a small army out there who I need to thank.

Unlike Emma I do take anticonvulsant medication. I was very young when my seizures started and so never had the opportunity to choose alternative therapy as a sole treatment from the outset.

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to try alternative therapy as my main source of treatment, and whether or not the drugs I have taken over the years prevent me from ever finding out.

I don’t know what research there is in relation to neurodevelopment when anticonvulsants are prescribed.

Research into Cannabis shows that this drug does affect neurological development (3), I wouldn’t trust a drug company to honestly state what anticonvulsant medications do to the developing brain, but I still take my medication. (4) I did have really big problems with learning on some medications.

Emma mentions a book by a lady who chose to treat epilepsy naturally; I have found a second in my search for natural treatment see (5).

From this I have concluded that the incidence of completely natural epilepsy treatment is very much like spotting an extremely rare bird, there isn’t a high incidence of sightings.

For me Emma’s story goes to show it is possible in some RARE circumstances to ‘fly without wings’ and go it alone without medication, and for her sharing her story I am grateful.

She might be rare but she is flourishing and that is really something to behold.

Emma BELIEVES she can fly.

Not everyone is so fortunate.

It has served to highlight to me how unique we really all are in our health needs, experiences and treatments.

1)      Epilepsy Action Magazine – Epilepsy Today Issue 110 December 2011 pages 27-30.

http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/news

2)      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Treating-Epilepsy-Naturally-Alternative-Therapies/dp/0658013793

3)      http://www.mcpap.com/pdf/Cannabis.pdf

4)      http://www2.massgeneral.org/childhoodepilepsy/child/index.htm#anticonvulsant

5)      http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Treating_Epilepsy_Naturally.html?id=lj99VaBHSFcC

Epilepsy in Chinese Medicine – ‘Towards a spirit of Peace’

‘Towards a spirit of peace’ is one of the most interesting texts I have ever read about epilepsy in the context of Chinese Medicine and is available on line. It is a work by an author named Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D. (see link below)(1).

This is NOT a text about epilepsy although it is covered, but rather it looks at a wider concept. The ‘Shen’ or ‘spirit’ in Chinese medicine and its embracing view of the body heart-mind in oriental medicine.

The ‘shen’ or ‘heart-mind’ is how I think about it in words, but mostly I would say ‘spirit of the heart’ is how I feel about it.

I feel that the role of the heart in Chinese medicine is seen as having a great deal to do with consciousness. From what I have read of Ayurveda it appears to be held as the same or similar.

In the west the heart is perhaps overshadowed by the brain’s electrical discharges, and the importance that is attached as the brain being the ‘hub’ of the body. (2)

The first chapter of this book goes to great lengths to explain the Shen, and so I will not go into it in depth, except to say that the heart is seen as ‘the Emperor’ in its role alongside the other organs of the body.

There are barriers that cause problems in understanding in relation to accessing information on Chinese medicine.

The Chinese language is written as ideograms, the sounds of the language all are totally alien to English language speakers. Variations in tone and pitch could be compared to learning to play a new musical instrument for the English tongue; a language that has you patting your head and rubbing your belly, and tap dancing all at the same time.

Then the philosophy, differences in thinking, the possible conflicts that arise from cultural, social, and religious beliefs.  The Great wall that surrounds China could be a metaphor for many barriers in understanding.

Why did I read this text?

The most beneficial part of my tai chi training by far has been in relation to training in awareness. Perhaps this is also called mindfulness? (3)

Without awareness I wouldn’t be able to feel seizures starting, I wouldn’t feel that my back hurts, my joints hurt and my belly is churning. Is my vagal nerve trying to tell me something? Is my anger or my fear or my grief making me ill?

I don’t know, but if I feel then I can try to understand.  If I am aware how I feel then perhaps I can change the emotion.

When I feel emotions, I am more likely to become ill, in particular if I don’t acknowledge them and where and how they have arisen.

This text talks about emotions in the context of ‘emotional equilibrium’ something I’m sure we all aspire to obtain but very, very few I suspect will achieve.

Even if we have fleeting glimmers of equilibrium, there may well be more emotional storms than sunny days.

Who feels good all the time anyway? Isn’t it part of being human to feel, in all the emotional colours?

My emotional storms are accompanied by lightening, this has given me extra motivation to want to look at how to heal them before they take a hold and turn into a thunderstorms.

It may be that describing it in words is not appropriate because it relates to feeling.

I don’t like being allergic to emotions.

The last time I cried for a day because I was sad, I had seizures for 2 days afterwards. I don’t know which is worse; crying because I am sad or the fact that if I cry then I’ll have a seizure.

Does this mean heart is broken?

I don’t think so, I still feel with my spirit the same as everyone else.

1)      http://www.itmonline.org/shen/index.htm

2)      http://www.wakingtimes.com/2012/09/12/the-heart-has-its-own-brain-and-consciousness/

3)      http://alysonyoga.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/whos-in-control-of-your-mind-one-benefit-of-mindfulness/

Epilepsy and the Circadian Rhythm – Do you dance to the beat of your own drum?

Exercising for many people can be a struggle, because of body image, obesity, lack of time or just lack of interest.

For myself it was seizures that were very much inhibiting movement.

One of the important factors in turning that around was the discovery of the Circadian Rhythm (1) and how it impacted on my hormones and seizure patterns.

I have always had difficulty keeping my alter ego ‘Wareruth’ under wraps. Husbands across the globe will hold testament to the fact that their nearest and dearest turn into unrecognisable creatures, with gnashing teeth that can only be consoled with chocolate bribes when the moon gets fat. For women with epilepsy this may be compounded by the problems that ‘Catamenial’ (2) epilepsy and oestrogen and progesterone fluctuations cause (3).

Since childhood I have always been more likely to have seizures on a monthly basis resulting from hormones, although it is not the reason why I have epilepsy.

I now monitor the situation closely and have found that my seizure pattern has changed over the years. This appears to be in time with the progesterone and oestrogen monthly cycle.

Changes in oestrogen production also occur around pregnancy. In women with epilepsy it also can cause marked changes at menopause as well (4).

Interestingly migraine is also commonly linked to the monthly cycle in some women (5).

Personally I find that pain management becomes a high priority at this time, my body in particular my back and my joints get really sensitive.

After trial and error no medication has controlled this.

On realising this was the case I had to find out how to ‘go with the flow’ sought of speak.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda seemed to be helpful because of their understanding of the endocrine system.

I would be very interested in finding out more about what Ayurveda has to say about epilepsy, the model I am most familiar with is TCM.

TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is based on the Five Element model (6). Within this model holds the key to understanding how seasons in the year and times of the day are attributed to different organs in the body (also known as the Circadium rhythm or biorhythms), and how these impact on the body.

For example the Kidneys are linked to winter and the element Water. The TCM model also incorporates the emotions into this model so the emotion that is attached to the kidneys is fear. The endocrine system is very sensitive to emotions (7),so understanding your emotional make up is a useful tool for managing potentially damaging emotions such as stress which may impact on epilepsy management.

Using methods like yoga – in particular Hatha yoga, ‘yin yoga’ (8) and Qigung (9); have brought me some relief from epilepsy symptoms, this includes meditation exercises of any form.

Yin Yoga, in particular, I found very helpful for acute problems at the wrong time of the month. Yin yoga postures that allow for supported deep relaxation on the floor allow me to feel in a place of safety as well as relax, stretch and release tension. My living room floor looks like a sofa the amount of cushions and blankets I use!

Having spent much of life hitting the floor, feeling safe on it is very reassuring. Letting gravity take its course without going south can be a good thing.

Equally I have found that standing poses in tai chi practice (although nothing in riding horse stance – sitting down into hips with legs wide apart this causes dizziness and nausea for me). Standing in Bear posture with feet shoulder width apart so the Kidney 1 points (10) on both feet are firmly anchored to the ground can also be highly beneficial for hormonal problems (I find).

Sadly wanting to run around and play with my friends is not something that results in good seizure management when my body is at its most sensitive. Neither is activating the sympathetic system. There is a delicate balance between doing too much and too little. I defiantly don’t want to be rolling around or standing on my head at high risk times.

I’m not saying I wrap myself in cotton wool, but from my experience pushing to exercise my body when it’s vulnerable can cause further seizures. If I listen to my body and give it some respect when it needs tender loving care, problems don’t crop up so much.

Throughout the day, one of the most positive changes that has helped in my seizure management was being able to lye down for 20 minutes at lunch times.  This is either to close my eyes and rest or meditate. This meant that I have a chance to de-stress, re-charge and avoid overtiring which caused further seizures.  This has really reduced seizure problems associated with overtiredness and stress.

My Qigung and tai chi instructors (11) are very passionate about ‘lying chi gung’. The hours between 11am and 1pm are known as ‘heart time’ on the Chinese Clock and for this reason it is identified as a good time to rest the heart.

Although this is not an exact science – like the rhythm method of birth control (don’t take risks – I always take my medication), having some understanding of how hormones can be managed through exercise or not has been really helpful to me.

For the best results I find continual practice of yoga or chi gung and tai chi are what is most effective in order to have preventative and long term health benefits.

It is unfortunate that my favourite pastime – calculating how many endorphins are in one cubic centimetre of chocolate Marsbar – is probably not helpful to my hormone balance or blood sugar! 🙂

If you have epilepsy and have any experience of the above I would be very interested in hearing your management strategies and any tips are always welcome!

If you have any experience of complementary or integrative medicine I would also like to hear your thoughts on this as I find it fascinating and would welcome hearing from anyone else’s experience.

I like dancing, finding my own beat has meant that I can enjoy the music of life.

1)       http://www.jcircadianrhythms.com/

2)      http://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/women/your-periods-menstrual-cycle

3)      http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/michael+r-+trimble/women+and+epilepsy/3569072/

4)      http://professionals.epilepsy.com/page/hormones_menopause.html

5)      http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Migraine-Triggered-by-Periods.htm

6)      http://www.tcmbasics.com/basics_5elements.htm

7)      http://candacepert.com/biography/

8)      http://www.sarahpowers.com/

9)      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qigong

10)   http://www.acupuncture.com/education/points/kidney/kid1.htm

11)   http://www.uktqf.co.uk/

A Breath of Fresh Air – Post viral O2

There is nothing like influenza to boost catch up reading.

Ironically the book I chose to read was called ‘The Revelation of the Breath’ by Sharon G. Mijares Editor.

This collection of short essays on breathing did at least serve the purpose of ramming home to me why I was sick in the first place (unhealthy breathing patterns). It is a fabulous introduction to many breathing techniques from east to west, religious, spiritual and medical.

What I particularly liked about it was an article on breathing for Aikido by Darrell Bluhm Shihan.

I really like aikido but have never read up on it in particular because my teacher who is a bit of a traditionalist, put the emphasis on ‘doing’ not ‘reading’.

When I asked if there were any books he recommended he told me in no uncertain terms that it was practice not reading I should be concentrating on.

Fair point really.

But this book is really good  at explaining breathing techniques, their purposes and the philosophy, physiology and psychology behind them.

I was particularly taken by Buteyko for asthma, sleep and apnoea, and Rebirthing completely reframed birth trauma. The section on Freediving was quite revealing. Personally holding my breath is not an area I have ever explored (one of the diving instructors I met said that underwater diving and epilepsy aren’t a good gas and air mix).

Maybe I’ll just have to practice pausing between air intake and exhale for now. There are lots of rhythms to use after all.

Breath can be energising or relaxing, exciting or tranquil. Huffing and puffing can be quite good fun 🙂

I like that someone took the time to write about how breathing can be a revelation.

Make of it what you will I hope you enjoy this book as much as I am.

Here is a link to view it, also available from Amazon.

http://www.sunypress.edu/p-4912-the-revelation-of-the-breath.aspx

At One With Flu – when it’s not a good idea to put up a fight

I have now been in bed for over a week.

I am a little bit put out.

Viruses trigger more seizures and I spent my first 3 days twitching.

It has taken me nearly a week to come to terms with the fact that something smaller than I can see, probably only made up of protein/ amino acids has hijacked my immune system and busily replicating its way through my cells.

I feel violated.

Unfortunately it seems that trying to ‘do’ something about it is the last thing that I should be doing.

This time it looks like I will have to stay in bed for another few days until my body has finally ‘slept’ it off.

Trying to feel inner peace for my flu virus is actually quite a strain, my liver is clearly having a field day.

I’m off to try to mediate on compassion (and do lying chi gung).

Epilepsy and fear – Why Shiatsu?

“Transformation happens when we live through the experience of deep fear. Seeing fear as a signal to hide in some realm of safety prevents our connection to what lies behind our self-identity. When we ignore parts of ourselves, or the world, in response to fear, we insist on too small an identity. If we are lucky those ignored parts will come knocking at our door revealing what appears menacing to be actually some part of ourself which we cannot yet accept as our own. “

Bridgette Ludwig Shiatsu Society Journal Autumn 2012

Health problems bring us closer to fear. They remind us we are not immortal.

One problem of living with epilepsy is that there is the fear. The fear of when the next seizure will come. The fear of not waking up.  Spending waking moments wondering about black out or experienceing altered states of consciousness? Fear of loosing control or having no control over the way life opens out. It is hard to plan ahead when there is no guarantee that seizures won’t get in the way.

Coping mechanisms for this type of problem can allow us to carry on and live life to the maximum. Feeling grounded and centred in the body is helpful to remind us that we are ’in our bodies’ rather than ‘out of our bodies’ in the sense of unconscious and disconnected by the experience of living through a seizure.

The power of touch in particular, in this example shiatsu, can bring us back into our bodies and help us to realign with life following disconnection brought about by seizures.

It is important that coping mechanisms don’t become our prison. Change is the essence of moving through and forward through fear.

Without fear there would be no control. We instinctively look to control our lives but is there any control when none of us can be certain what will happen next?

Fear cripples if it is not challenged.

Only when we challenge the fear does it loose its power and therefore the control it has over us.

“The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”
Buddha

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/fear.html#6JqP39s9pl2Qk8SL.99

Shiatsu is a holistic therapy which utilizes healing touch and treats the whole person mind, body and spirit.

Read more about it at:

http://www.shiatsusociety.org/content/about-shiatsu

My Favourite ‘Pep’ Blogs – ‘Gin and T’ for your in box

When your health’s gets you down in the dumps there are things you can do for yourself to make your day go better.

I do this by seeking out the people who are having a good day. Friends and family sometimes aren’t enough.

Getting connected via the internet is a useful tool to make connections via social media, networking and blogging sites. If you can’t talk or leave the house this can be the only way to get ‘empowered’.

There are lots of people out there who have insight into wellness, holistic and mind -body medicines. Remember you are not alone in being unwell and that the nature of the human condition means that this won’t change.

If you have been somehow hoodwinked into thinking that poor health is something that happens to other people or that you are unlucky enough to be alone in your suffering then it’s time to look around!

EVERY BODY NEEDS BACKUP!

Remember – no man is an island! 🙂

Seriously;

The current medical model does not include a pep talk at your doctor’s from a wellness warrior. This is a great shame because getting us into shape when we are not at our best can need military strategy.

Don’t just rely on your doctor.

For this reason some of my favourite blogs are from ladies and gentlemen who in their own way are driven to educate us on our health and well –being. Either by sharing their experience or by providing information about how to improve your physical, emotional, mental or spiritual health.

I have some regulars that I stream directly into my life and some of these I would like to share with you.

In no particular order I give you;

Number 1

http://www.thewellnesswarrior.com.au/

Jessica Ainscough

This lady is clearly THE ULTIMATE aptly named ‘wellness warrior’. She survived cancer and so to be honest every word she writes I cling to like a limpet; because you don’t know how good you have it until you read about someone else’s misfortune. This lady is very positive and provides me with a little ray of sunshine even when I feel like a glow slug.

Number 2

http://sierrabender.com

Sierra Bender

Following some truly awful experiences around ectopic pregnancy Sierra went on to write ‘Goddess to the core’ and brings to America ‘Boot-camp for goddesses’ with yoga and empowerment teaching, in particular aimed at women.

I have not read the book but I find Sierra’s weekly updates on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies very insightful. My in -box would be empty without her and I would like to meet her one day.

Number 3

http://www.brucelipton.com/

Bruce Lipton

Bruce is not a man who is afraid of ‘out of the box thinking’ and for this reason I could kiss him!

Even if you don’t share any of this maverick biologist’s research views you should check him out for sheer positive collective thinking.

It’s all down to experience at the end of the day. If you read this man’s research you may realise it’s NOT just down to your genes.

This man is the ultimate warrior for ‘Mind over matter’.

Number 4

http://www.energyarts.com/

Bruce Frantzis

Another Bruce on the warrior list, this time a real life martial warrior. Bruce’s blog updates are very much tai chi orientated but his life experience is well worth researching.

Bruce suffered severe back injury following a car accident and spent many years re-training his spine.

As a person who suffers from back pain myself I respect him for not only his immense skill, knowledge of Tai Chi and martial arts, but also as a survivor of back injury!

I found it necessary to read his books to really benefit from his experience and understand how he has overcome problems with – training. You don’t need to be doing tai chi to listen to his meditations which are available to download in some cases.

Number 5

http://epilepsytalk.com

Phylis Feiner Johnson

Everybody has their specialist subject and this lady is the ultimate ambassador for mine. I have not managed to find any other blogger with such a rich encyclopaedic knowledge of epilepsy. Phylis is using her life experience to educate and inform others about epilepsy. I only wish I could ship her to the UK to meet my consultant, because I think she knows more than he does.

Number 6

http://www.drfranklipman.com/big-pharma-define-better/

Dr Frank Lipman

Last but not least Dr Frank Lipman the newest addition to my inbox. Promoting alternative wellness on a grand scale in New York. This link is to his blog about ‘big pharma’.

Even though I do take medication, there is a good argument for all things in moderation.

It’s important that we don’t neglect the whole.

Without medication I would have seizures, but it is worth noting that even with medication if I neglect the whole body – Mental. Physical, Emotional and Spiritual then I get sick anyway.

Meditation is my medication.

It is important to keep learning about your body.

Don’t be blinded by science it hasn’t got all the answers.

It is important to look for ‘Back up’ and depending on what health condition ails you, your personal reading may lean towards specific health conditions. Facebook, twitter and specialist websites exist to take us to other people when we are not able to leave the house.

Get Googling!

Don’t be alone when you need help.

Get conneted, get smart, get empowered and get well!