Epilepsy Foundation

How Valentine's Day Is Connected to Epilepsy

Did you know St. Valentine is considered to be the patron saint of epilepsy? True story.

Medicine and religion have long been intertwined, however medical practitioners were sometimes regarded skeptically in medieval times causing people to seek spiritual intervention for their illnesses. 

In addition, brain disorders in the 14th and 15th centuries were widely regarded as supernatural phenomena incited by evil spirits or the devil.

Because many people believed their symptoms were the work of dark spiritual forces, it made sense for them to combat their perceived tormenters with an antidote to evil in the form of saints—in particular patron saints—who were believed to have restorative abilities for specific ailments.

Information on the origins of St. Valentine’s connection to epilepsy varies. Some accounts suggest he is connected to epilepsy because the name Valentine is similar to the German word for “fallen.” Epilepsy was once known as the “falling sickness” because some seizures cause a person to lose consciousness and fall. Still other legends propose that a 3rd century bishop named Valentine von Terni freed the son of a Roman orator from an epileptic seizure.

The good news is, medical research and an increasing variety of scientifically proven therapies have improved the lives of the nearly 3 million people living with epilepsy in the United States, significantly diminishing the need to turn to supernatural forces for respite!

So, in the wake of this Valentine’s Day, when all the sugar-coated, floral-scented hype has passed, remember that Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers, it’s for people with epilepsy, too.

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Comment by marcia mendez on August 16, 2013 at 9:55am

cool

Comment by Eugina G Herrera on February 12, 2013 at 1:56pm

I do surely hope that you have a wonderful Saint Valentines DAY..

~Eugina

Comment by Eugina G Herrera on February 12, 2013 at 1:49pm

too Patron Saints is where they had been active.

~Eugina

Comment by Eugina G Herrera on February 12, 2013 at 1:48pm

@ miracles as Saint Maurus is transformed...

~Eugina

Comment by Tracy Cooper on February 12, 2013 at 1:40pm

Actually, upon research, there appear to be quite a few, one of which is St. Valentine. -t

Comment by Eugina G Herrera on February 12, 2013 at 12:53pm

GoodMorning Lisa are you talking 'bout Saint Maurus he was invoked especially against fever also against epilepsy(of the moats).

enjoy your day.

~Eugina

Comment by Tracy Cooper on February 12, 2013 at 11:21am

Not a big follower of Valentine's Day (although I really like the post-day candy sales :D), but I was unaware of this secondary relationship (well, by today's standards). Thanks for the info. :D -t

Comment by Art on November 25, 2012 at 4:31pm

Lisa,

Just read your post on Valentines day and appreciate the input.  All holidays, actually each day has a deeper meaning than what many 1st see.  Thanks.  Art

Comment by Boomer Sooner on March 25, 2012 at 11:22pm

I've always hated st. Valentines day, because in school, no one cared to talk to me, give me a valentines day card or gift, but we HAD to give everyone else a valentines day card. very frustrating. Now, everyone is so entheusiastic about it, except me- never had a girlfriend, never got my first kiss, or first date. I always said "so what- big deal"; everybody kept saying "you'll find a girlfriend...." I'm tired of hearing that..

Comment by Lisa Boylan on February 21, 2012 at 4:47pm

Hi Kari--great idea! :-)

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