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A pilot study of a yoga meditation protocol for patients with medically refractory epilepsy.

13 Oct
The R. Madhavan Nayar Center for Comprehensive Epilepsy Care at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Kerala, India, assessed the efficacy of a yoga meditation protocol (YMP) as an adjunctive treatment in patients with drug-resistant chronic epilepsy. The yoga intervention consisted of a YMP 20 minutes twice daily (mornings and evenings) at home, and supervised sessions of a YMP every week for 3 months. Continuation of the YMP beyond 3 months was optional.
The non-randomized, open-label, add-on trial with 20 patients suffering from epilepsy with at least 4 CPS (14 males and six females, ages 15-47) began with a 12-week period to get baseline measures, followed by a 12-week supervised YMP phase. The frequency of complex partial seizures (CPS) was assessed at 3, 6, and 12 months during the treatment period. Subjects with 50% or more reduction in the monthly seizure rate from baseline were classified as responders, and subjects with less than 50% seizure reduction were categorized as nonresponders.

At 3 months, a reduction in seizure frequency was noted in all except 1 patient, six of whom had 50% or greater seizure reduction. Of 16 patients who continued the YMP beyond 3 months, 14 patients responded at 6 months; 6 of them were seizure-free for 3 months. All eight patients who continued the YMP beyond 6 months responded; three of them were seizure-free for 6 months.

The study concludes that, if confirmed through randomized trials involving a larger number of patients, this YMP intervention may become a cost-effective adjunctive treatment, with no adverse effects, in patients with drug-resistant epilepsies.

Citation: Rajesh B, Jayachandran D, Mohandas G, Radhakrishnan K. A pilot study of a yoga meditation protocol for patients with medically refractory epilepsy. J Altern Complement Med. 2006 May;12 (4): pages 367-71.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award