Bell’s Palsy is the inflammation of Cranial Nerve VII (Facial Nerve) and causes a unilateral fascial drop from the forehead down to the chin. Bell’s Palsy can happen at any age, and some research isn’t quite sure what causes it. There are theories related to stress, virus, or even a secondary side effect to disease. (1)
Now considered a mainstream option for several medical conditions, Acupuncture is proving to be effective in treating and managing Bell’s Palsy. Studies have shown that Acupuncture may provide up to 98% improvement rates – even for those experiencing chronic Bell’s Palsy symptoms. (2)
Most people think Acupuncture is some form of magic, but actually, Acupuncture can be used and explained with a scientific approach. So, I’m very excited to be able to discuss how we do that.
There are two ways I personally treat Bell’s Palsy. First, I focus on the Facial Nerve itself. When a needle is inserted and manipulated, the local free-nerve endings and specialized neural receptors receive the stimulation that is then transformed into nerve impulses. (3)
Once I get the facial nerve firing, I focus on the face motor points. During Bell’s Palsy, the facial muscles become paralyzed. Needling motor points of the face allow me to activate weak muscles and release overly tight muscles, usually giving immediate relief of pain.
Most patients are seen daily for two weeks and the needles are retained for approximately 20 minutes. I also incorporate Facial Cupping, Gua Sha, and Electrical Stimulation. After two weeks most patients have significant improvements and then a new treatment plan is made based on individual results.
If you are interested in treating Bell’s Palsy with Acupuncture, it’s best to make an appointment as soon as your Neurologist clears you. Increasing the blood flow and reducing inflammation of Cranial Nerve VII is crucial in the recovery process. The sooner we can get those muscles and nerves firing, the better chance for a quicker recovery.
Most Acupuncturists do not need referrals to make an appointment, and many do take insurance. Make sure you ask these questions when booking your appointment.
Want more info on this treatment? Check out this 2017 Vanity Fair interview, Angelina Jolie credited Acupuncture for her full recovery from Bell’s Palsy.