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Epilepsy Awareness: Massage therapy for patients with epilepsy

 Massages can give relaxing and calming effects which in turn assist in seizure control (Shutterstock)

The burden of Epilepsy care and management has gradually shifted from lack of knowledge and information to the gap in treatment.

While Epilepsy is manageable and treatable, it requires a multidisciplinary approach to achieve a holistic care.

Complimentary therapies are considered to offer an alternative aid in the treatment process together with the use of anti-epileptic drugs.

One of the common therapies used is massage.

In many African cultures, massage is always associated with Traditional African Medicine (TAM), where traditional herbalists use various methods to treat different kinds of ailments.

Jane Richards, a massage therapist and a person living with Epilepsy, shared with us her experience of incorporating massage therapy in her treatment journey for the condition during an interview at her spa in Malindi.

She says: “Most people with Epilepsy can do the same things as other people. I have never felt I could not get a massage because I have Epilepsy. Just as with other health problems, a client's physician should make the decision if a person's problem is very severe such as experiencing daily seizures.

“Of course, it goes without saying that a person shouldn't receive a massage during a seizure. If there is great concern about this, a family member should be present.

“Some meds make it easier for a person to receive a bruise. Also, the falling off the table scare. You should not use a table. Instead use the floor if that is going to be a possibility.

“Also, you should know what to do if a person has a seizure,” Richards adds.

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Stress lowers seizure thresholds and massages are known to help in that regard.

In health care, massage is often used to reduce tension, assist with relaxation and minimize stress.

As stress can be a seizure trigger for some people, massages can give relaxing and calming effects which in turn assist in seizure control.


- The writer is an epilepsy awareness activist and the national secretary-NECC

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