Treating Epilepsy with Buteyko Breathing

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a group of neurological disorders characterized by epileptic seizures. A pattern of repeated seizures is referred to as epilepsy. Episodes can vary from brief and nearly undetectable to long periods of vigorous shaking.

The Cause of Epilepsy

When nerve cells in the brain fire electrical impulses at a rate of up to four times higher than normal, it causes a sort of electrical storm in the brain, known as a seizure.

Two important studies have been done on the role of CO2 (and breathing) on the brain and epileptic seizures:

  1. In their article in the Journal of Physiology (1988), M. Balestrino and G. G. Somjen came to the following conclusion: "The brain, by regulating breathing, controls its own excitability."
    The longer version is as follows: "Since the brain regulates respiration and, through respiration, the pH and CO2 content of its own fluids, the brain also exercises control of its own excitability".
    How do Balestrino and Somjen state this happens? "Inhaled CO2 depressed neuronal firing, and hyperventilation enhanced it."
    Explanation: When the breathing center of the brain decides to increase breathing, more CO2 is exhaled and CO2 levels go down, causing neurons to fire more electrical impulses. When it decreases breathing, less CO2 is exhaled and CO2 levels go up, causing neurons to fire less electrical impulses.
  2. In their 2011 article in Epilepsia (the Official Journal of the International League against Epilepsy), Tolner et al conclude: "5% CO2 has a fast and potent anticonvulsant action. The present data suggest that medical carbogen with 5% CO2 can be used for acute treatment to suppress seizures in epilepsy patients."

With the direct relationship between CO2 levels and the excitability of brain cells, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Professor Buteyko was able to revert epilepsy in many students. The main cause of epilepsy is overbreathing and low CO2 levels of the blood. When we correct the breathing and improve CO2 levels, the braincells calm down and epilepsy attacks can be a thing of the past.

Revert Epilepsy with our Buteyko Breathing course

Reverting epilepsy with Buteyko Breathing is a slow process that usually takes place over several months, where we gradually increase the body's CO2 content using the Buteyko Breathing approach. With better breathing, epileptic seizures become less intense and less frequent and when breathing is optimal, can be completely reverted. Progress depends on:

  • Severity of symptoms
  • Students' dedication and effort in following instructions
  • The level of practice: basic, intermediate or advanced
  • Ongoing guidance and support after finishing the course.
  • Other factors: age, general health, other chronic diseases, medical history, medication usage, fitness and lifestyle activities.

Doing the Buteyko Breathing course and keeping in touch with drs. Eduard Reuvers over the course of your practice, students can experience good results after 1 to 3 months of advanced Buteyko practice. The frequency and severity of the epileptic seizures goes down as students make progress.

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