Massage For Seizure Disorders

Updated May 2, 2018


Once thought to be caused by demonic possession (Werner, 2009), a seizure disorder is anything that causes a person to suffer from seizures. A seizure is “an abnormal electrical discharge that occurs in your brain,” (Madell, 2016). Basically, a seizure is when electrical currents flow quicker than normal through the neurons and/or brain cells.



Image by Pixabay


Causes of Seizure Disorders (Ehlrich, 2016 & Madell, 2016)

  • Injury to the head, which may or may not occur before birth
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Chronic stress
  • Epilepsy, defined as two or more seizures that were not caused by another medical issue (Werner, 2009)
  • Genetics


Symptoms of Seizure Disorders (Werner, 2009 & Ehlrich, 2016)

Partial seizures involve abnormal activity in an isolated area, most often the motor cortex and the temporal loves.

  • Simple partial seizures do not involve the loss of consciousness. Patient may experience:
    • Weakness
    • Numbness
    • Dizziness
    • Smelling or tasting things that are not present
    • Temporary change in vision
    • Temporary vertigo
    • Muscular ticks or twitching
  • Complex partial seizures are specifically associated with a dysfunction of the temporal lobe. The patient may experience:
    • Repetitive behaviors (pacing, rocking, etc)
    • Uncontrollable laughter
    • Unexplained fear
    • Smelling or tasting things that are not present


Generalized Seizures involve electrical signals all over the brain. They spread quickly, making it hard to identify their origin.

  • Absence seizures
    • Stare off into space and losing consciousness for a brief period of five to ten seconds
    • Will have no memory of the episode
  • Tonic-clonic seizures
    • Patient may experience an unusual feeling before seizure begins
    • Uncontrolled movement of face, arms & legs
    • Loss of consciousness, which will result in falling to the floor
    • Loss of bladder control
    • Last anywhere from five to twenty minutes
  • Myoclonic seizures
    • Bilateral muscular jerking, ranging from unnoticeable to pronounced
  • Status epilepticus
    • Life threatening variation of tonic-clonic seizures.
    • Last for long periods of time
    • Can put strain on body that can cause brain damage or death
    • Considered a medical emergency


Can Massage Be a Treatment?



Image by Ea Spa Consulting Massage Institute


Seizures are typically treated with anti-convulsant medications, but can also be treated with a change in diet, or dietary supplements. Sometimes, surgery may even be helpful.

As you may have guessed, it is inappropriate for a bodyworker to work on a client who is currently experiencing a seizure. Should a seizure begin during a massage, the therapist should cease treatment and contact emergency services if necessary.  There are no restrictions as far as receiving bodywork for patients with a history of seizure disorder if an episode is not presently occurring.

Massage can help ease tenderness caused by a seizure, but certain other injuries, such as sprains, bruises, lacerations, or broken bones should be avoided.

Receiving regular massage is a great way to reduce stress, which can be a causative factor for seizures as well. It can also improve sleeping patterns, which people suffering from seizure disorders will greatly benefit from.



This blog is not meant to diagnose or prescribe treatment for any medical disorder. Massage therapy should not be used as an alternative form of treatment – it is only complementary. Please always follow the advice of your primary care physician.




Madell, R. Seizures vs Seizure Disorders. [Internet]. [Updated 2016 Apr 28]. Healthline Media, New York, NY, 10003. [Accessed 2017 May 14]. Available from:

Ehrlich, S. Seizure Disorders. [Internet]. [Updated 2016 Jun 2]. University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, 20201. [Accessed 2017 May 14]. Available from:

Werner, R. 2009. A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology, Fourth Edition. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD, 21201. Pp 323-326




About Tonya Sapiel, LMT

My goal with The Wellness Seeker blog is to educate the general public on the benefits of massage therapy, why it is an important addition to their health care routine, and what they can do to help themselves in between their massage therapy sessions. I welcome feedback and questions. I also accept requests for post topics. For more information about me or my practice, please visit

One response to “Massage For Seizure Disorders

  1. Pingback: Massage as a Complementary Treatment: Neurologists | The Wellness Seeker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: