Music for Epilepsy

Epilepsy and Me

Diagnosed with this supposedly incurable condition at the age of 26, I soon found that epilepsy was impacting my life in significant and unacceptable ways. I became determined to fight back. I discovered alternative and complementary treatments that did work, music among them. Being a musician, it was natural for me to experiment with music along my own path to healing. Out of my research and personal experiences, I learned a great deal about this topic.

Music can change EEG (brain wave activity)

Music can be used as a stimulant, energizing and quickening brain activity, helping us to focus and  think more clearly. It can also help us to relax and and ease tension.

Neurologists use EEG tests to diagnose epilepsy. The brain waves of someone who has seizures will typically exhibit less beta (faster brain waves) and have frequent spikes or bursts of slower brain waves (alpha or theta). Changing the brain wave pattern can often lead to reduction or elimination of seizures. This is often accomplished with training in neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback). Listening to music can also be helpful.

Normalizing the EEG

Of course we absorb music through our ears, but the body itself also absorbs it. The body receives messages from the vibrations of sounds, and forwards these messages to the brain. We have billions of brain cells, but we only use a small portion of those cells. It is possible to change the way our brain cells interact and also create  new brain wave activity. The body assists in such a process as you listen to music.

Music at a moderate or moderately fast tempo, without a lot of abrupt changes in dynamics (loud and soft), helps to normalize the EEG. Look for tempo markings that are titled, “Andante,” “Allegretto,” or “Allegro.” The clarity and elegance of classical music by Haydn and Mozart are good examples of this.

Music for Relaxation

Stress can lead to seizures for the person with epilepsy. Stress isn’t the cause of epilepsy, but it can make the person with epilepsy more vulnerable to seizures. An important thing to note is that we don’t have seizures 24 hours a day, even though the abnormal brain wave activity is occurring all the time. Taking some time for meditation or relaxation can prevent many seizures. Again, music can be helpful for this.

For meditation and periods of non-thinking, which can relieve stress, listen to Gregorian Chant or improvised quiet music.

Meditation or completely letting go isn’t helpful, however, when you experience an aura (feel yourself starting to have a seizure) or even when you feel in a vulnerable mood. At times like that use brighter, faster music, and try to focus or concentrate as you listen.

You are unique. You are the ultimate guide and healer, so experiment with different music at different times. Use quiet soothing music when you want to relax or meditate. Listen to music that is faster and more upbeat when you want to be alert and focused. Choose music that appeals to you.

More about my experience with epilepsy—

I have written further tips and information based on my experiences of epilepsy and alternative, complementary healing methods, on a web site that I dedicated to that subject. It is my fervent hope that my experience can help educate others who have been impacted by epilepsy to find their own pathways to reclaim their lives, as I did. I have now lived epilepsy free without medication for going on 20 years.  http://www.epilepsyhealth.com/

I have also written a book: The Challenge of Epilepsy, Complementary and Alternative Solutions, which is available on my site, http://astore.amazon.com/heavenlyhar03-20/detail/0961551364.

 

7 comments.

  1. For me it helped a lot when i was taking medication that caused siezure like symptoms. Mostly Bach and Mozart, because they are highly organized in their music. I must say though, some music, music that has obstinato Rhythms, harmonies, melodies(obstinaton means repeat more then once without variation) CAN INFACT INDUCE A SEIZURE FROM SOMEONE WHO IS SUFFERING FROM SEIZURES.

  2. I have Dystonia and had Epilepsy for years from the medication to treat me. My healing came from learning to play the harp. I’m a beginner and playing my music heals my brain waves especially when there’s an electrical storm going on. At that time there’s very little I can do except music. I also use harp music for my mother with Alzheimers. She says it soothes and calms her confusion. We go to bed every night with your Hymns for Healing music and prayer. God Bless You!!

  3. How beautiful! The power of music, especially the harp, is awesome.

  4. I have epilepsy. Generally I suffer from frequent ‘absence seizures’ (loss of body and mind control, often promoting a ‘jerk’ of the body but not an actual full seizure). I also occasionally do have full seizures.
    The other night I used a ‘THETA WAVE meditation soundtrack’ and fell asleep. When I awoke in the morning, I got up, walked to the kitchen, fell to the floor and experienced a full seizure.
    Do you think this has anything to do with the meditation CD, or coincidence?
    Please help. Thank you – T.

  5. It’s possible that it could be the theta brain waves. Of course, it could be just coincidence, too, as you mentioned. Try listening to relaxing music but not extremely slow “theta” music just to be safe.

  6. I’ve been searching for ways in which to induce sleep and curtail my seizures. I downloaded and tried a Brainwave app on my mobile based on theta waves. I found that when the subtle sound of the frequency began I started getting feelings of panic but in contrast enjoyed the overriding sound of water. I still feel very edgy after half an hour and an aura of ‘impending doom’ which I often have before a seizure. I’m wondering if this application has been a contributing factor? Scary stuff playing with an already scary illness!

  7. You know yourself better than anyone else does. Many people with seizures already produce a lot of theta, so theta waves may not be the ideal thing for you.