Most parents seeking treatment for their epileptic or autistic children have found their choices in treating their child’s epilepsy are quite limited, if given any choice at all. Specialists often present the treatment of medication as the ONLY method of treatment, and parents might even feel bullied into accepting medications. While anti-convulsive medications do work well for treating many children, there are other effective treatments available.
What if you had the choice of a possible treatment that is non-invasive, non-medicating, safe, and effective? Neurotherapy could be that choice for your child!
In this episode of the EpilepsyMoms podcast, Arlene Martell (founder of EpilepsyMoms) welcomes guest Dr. Paul Swingle to discuss the effects of neurotherapy on autism and other conditions that present with epilepsy. Dr. Swingle, author of the recently published book called “Biofeedback for the Brain”, is a registered psychologist in British Columbia, and is certified in biofeedback and neurotherapy.
Having taken her son Adam to Dr. Swingle 8 years ago in an attempt to gain control over his seizures, Arlene has experienced first-hand the power of neurotherapy over the brain, and of alleviating seizures and other symptoms. Detailed even further in her ebook “Getting Adam Back”, Arlene recounts the story about her son Adam who struggled with seizures at a very early age, and who found great relief with the Ketogenic diet at age 8.
When after 5 years of being on the diet she attempted to wean him off, Adam was again plagued by seizures. Arlene sought out treatment with Dr. Swingle, and found that not only did neurotherapy relieve his seizures, but she was amazed to find that he “woke up” and experienced many other behavioural benefits, which affected him socially, and his impacted his ability to learn in school.
For anyone unfamiliar with “neurotherapy”, they will be relieved at the ease at which Dr. Swingle can explain the process and its benefits to parents. Arlene leads Dr. Swingle though a comprehensive interview about neurotherapy, addressing such aspects as:
What is neurotherapy?
Neurotherapy, which can also be referred to as neurofeedback, EEG biofeedback, or brainwave biofeedback, is simply modifying brainwaves to treat a condition. As Dr. Swingle explains, “All of our behaviours and symptoms are associated with brainwave activity, obviously. And if we can find the area of inefficiency or abnormality… in the brain associated with a particular symptom and normalize it, the symptom goes away.” Neurotherapy’s first application was in drug-resistant epilepsy more than 40 years ago.
Is neurotherapy intrusive or painful?
Neurotherapy is anything but. In fact, many patients even enjoy the treatments. With one form of therapy (neurofeedback), electrodes that are placed on the head measure the brain waves, and can be linked to a computer which responds according to their brain’s function. A screen visible to the patient reacts with objects much like a video game- the patient can have an enjoyable experience, without realizing their brain is being trained.
What conditions can neurotherapy help?
Neurotherapy has been used to treat a multitude of disorders. Basically, if the brain is implicated by a condition, neurotherapy can be helpful. In Arlene’s son’s case, neurotherapy was used to treat epilepsy and behaviour associated with autism. Neurotherapy has also been used to successfully treat other brain-affected conditions, such as: depression, sleep problems, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel and inflammatory bowel conditions, learning disorders, ADD/ADHD, prevention of dementia in the elderly, and even for peak or optimal performance training in athletes.
Dr. Swingle is quick to point out that “mom knows best” when it comes to knowing what is right with your child. Over-medicating your child is NOT necessarily the best solution, and can be dangerous. He discussed the epidemic of sedating drugs in children and says “…as a culture we’ve become intolerant of children’s behaviour, and we’re medicating normal children’s behaviour”. Rather than be bullied into medicating your child, for seizures or otherwise, you might be able to consider neurotherapy as an alternative option.
To listen to Arlene and Dr. Swingle’s interview in its entirety, including many parent-led questions, and where to find a certified practitioner for treatments, be sure to listen to the entire podcast.
Dr. Swingles recommendation:The best source for finding Certified Neurotherapists is The Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA). Go to their site and look for practitioners in your area who are certified in EEG.Click on “Find a practitioner” to find one in your area.
Of course, if you are anywhere near Vancouver B.C., I highly recommend Dr Swingle himself.