Treating Bell’s Palsy with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

“Bell’s Palsy “is the name given by Sir Charles Bell, a Scottish surgeon, in 1821, to a certain form of temporary facial paralysis as a result from damage or trauma to one or two facial nerves or the seventh cranial nerve. The facial muscle is damaged in turn, causing weakness or paralysis.

The paralysis comes suddenly, often with the patient waking up in the morning noticing that one side of the face is distorted. The paralysis usually worsens within 2-5 days, causing the patient difficultly in eating, chewing and closing the eyes. Bell’s palsy also causes pain around the ear and numbness with tenderness in the mastoid area of the affected side of the face. Usually the patient experiences headaches first and insomnia due to stress.

Bell’s palsy is the most common cause of paralysis of the face worldwide; the incidence is slightly higher within the Asian race and is more common in young adults, with same incidence for men and women. Cases also appear more often during autumn and winter. Forty thousand people are affected by this paralysis each year, making one person in every 65, or about 0.02% of the world population experiencing the condition at some point during their lifetime.

In modern medicine, prednisone or another corticosteroid and acyclovir, an antiviral drug, are given as a regime to eliminate the inflammation of Bell’s palsy. Exercise is also prescribed to rehabilitate the muscles.

In Oriental medicine, Bell ’s palsy is considered a wind invasion of the three Yang channels—Tai Yang (bladder, small intestine), Yang Ming (stomach, large intestine) and Shao Yang (gall bladder, shan jiao)—that is blocking the free movement of the energy through the channels. Oriental medicine helps these patients to recover by using acupuncture, herbology and nutrition.

Although a patient has a greater opportunity to recover faster when seen within three months of the onset of a Bell’s palsy episode and acupuncture is applied to the face, patients who receive treatment after three months of an episode also have experienced positive results.

At Behavioral Wellness Center, we offer acupuncture and other Oriental medicine techniques to help you with your needs and to help bring your body back into balance. We invite you to call to set up an appointment to experience how Oriental medicine can improve your health.

By Consuelo Camarillo De G., Lic. Ac.