Friday, November 21, 2014

Use of aromatherapy (with or without hypnosis) in the treatment of intractable epilepsy--a two-year follow-up study

Seizure. 2003 Dec;12(8):534-8.
Use of aromatherapy (with or without hypnosis) in the treatment of intractable epilepsy--a two-year follow-up study.
Birmingham University Seizure Clinic, Queen Elizabeth Psychiatric Hospital, Birmingham B15 2QZ, UK.
We have been trying the effect of aromatherapy (with or without hypnosis) in patients with intractable epilepsy who ask for it. This is a report of the first 100 patients to try the treatment, followed up for at least two years after the treatment ended. It is important to remember that this was a treatment for people who had asked for it and for whom time and a therapist was available. It was not a controlled trial but was carried out when we could and at a time when we were experimenting with the best way of using it. Results must therefore be treated with caution and with due regard to other therapeutic factors that may be implicated in the results, both good and bad. We assume that the result (with over a third of the patients using aromatherapy with or without hypnosis becoming seizure free for at least a year) as being the best that could be achieved and likely to be less in a properly controlled trial. Of the three treatments tried (aromatherapy on its own, aromatherapy plus hypnosis and hypnosis without aromatherapy), aromatherapy plus hypnosis seems to have had the best and most lasting effect (a third of patients still seizure free at two years), but was the most labour intensive and needed medical therapist input. Aromatherapy itself might be best reserved as a short-term treatment for people going through a bad time with their seizures. A fuller and more lasting effect may be obtained with aromatherapy plus hypnosis, but this needs a patient who is prepared to put much time and personal effort into the treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Publication Types, MeSH Terms
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"These results show that just over one third of patients who used the techniques of aromatherapy and aromatherapy plus hypnosis were seizure free after one year: some were still seizure free two years after ending treatment, although some, particularly in the aromatherapy only group, had relapsed. One thing we have not solved is whether treatment of a supportive nature (like maintenance, occasional, massages) are needed or not. Most of the patients who became seizure free adapted what they had learnt into their own method of aborting seizures and ceased to carry oil with them but just used the memory of the smell to abort the seizure. Almost all those who remained seizure free after two years did not have even a warning of a seizure although several spontaneously reported that they occasionally, without warning, smelt, or had a memory of smelling, their oil. This suggests that in these people the process had become automatic and did not require thought to activate it. We assume these patients have developed a ‘smell memory’."

Number of patients seizure free at two years who were seizure free at one year.
Hypnosis onlyMassage onlyMassage plus hypnosis
Seizure free at one year31611
Seizure free at two years3910
Withdrawn from medication1 (seizure free)4 (seizure free)5 (seizure free)
Table 5.
Oils chosen.
OilsInitial choiceFinal choice
Ylang Ylang2932

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