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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 615476, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/615476
Review Article

Auricular Acupuncture May Suppress Epileptic Seizures via Activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System: A Hypothesis Based on Innovative Methods

1Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
2Stronach Research Unit for Complementary and Integrative Laser Medicine, TCM Research Center Graz, and Research Unit of Biomedical Engineering in Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 29, 8036 Graz, Austria

Received 12 October 2011; Accepted 26 October 2011

Academic Editor: Lu Wang

Copyright © 2012 Wei He et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Auricular acupuncture is a diagnostic and treatment system based on normalizing the body's dysfunction. An increasing number of studies have demonstrated that auricular acupuncture has a significant effect on inducing parasympathetic tone. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder consisting of recurrent seizures resulting from excessive, uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Autonomic imbalance demonstrating an increased sympathetic activity and a reduced parasympathetic activation is involved in the development and progress of epileptic seizures. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system such as vagus nerve stimulation has been used for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. Here, we propose that auricular acupuncture may suppress epileptic seizures via activating the parasympathetic nervous system.