What basically characterizes Bell’s palsy is the lack of control or paralysis of the facial muscles usually affecting one side of a person’s face although in rare cases can involve the paralysis of the entire face. Bell’s palsy is a neuropathic disease – it is also termed as idiopathic facial paralysis. Bell’s palsy starts to develop when a cranial nerve known as cranial nerve VII begins to dysfunction. Swelling and inflammation in the facial nerve are suspected to cause this dysfunction which can result in damage, inhibition or even death of the nerves.
Bell’s palsy is treatable and because it is a serious condition, it needs to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible in order to ensure its full treatment and the complete restoration of normal nerve function. Doctors usually recommend the use of corticosteroids to help facilitate recovery. One other option is surgery particularly for patients who have already tried medications but are still frequently bothered by this condition. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which includes acupuncture, has been a particularly effective alternative in treating Bell’s palsy.
Besides acupuncture, TCM consists of several medical practices using the Chinese medical system, and based on archeological evidence, has been shown to be used since the Stone Age.
The healing art of acupuncture entails the use of very thin needles inserted and manipulated into strategic points on the body called acupoints to elicit a healing response. Acupuncturists believe that the insertion of these needles redirects blood and Chi flow. These specialists believe that pain, illnesses and disease are due to blood and Chi stagnation and restoring their proper flow will lead to the resolution of the problematic condition.
Acupuncture is used by acupuncturists in treating Bell’s palsy. The degree of the disease, illness or pain affects the time and extent for the patient to fully heal. From the viewpoint of TCM, Bell’s palsy is due to the patient’s exposure to wind and a weak immune system that leads to inflammation in the affected area and block the Chi.
For Bell’s palsy, acupuncturists and other TCM practitioners often recommend acupuncture along with Chinese herbal medicine to remove blockage and bring back movement to the face of the patient. Acupoints chosen for needling to remove wind include the Yangming and the Shaoyang acupoints to stimulate Chi flow. Since Bell’s palsy is suspected to be due to a weak immune system, the patient’s immune system needs to be tonified as well. This is accomplished by living a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet, stress reduction and rest.
One of the best benefits of acupuncture and TCM for treating Bell’s palsy is the fact that it allows the body to properly and naturally heal itself. Individuals who are reluctant taking medicines such as steroids (since they cause harmful side effects) should talk to their doctor and TCM practitioner to know if acupuncture is the proper treatment plan for them.
Needles & Moxa Wellness Center
700 S Red Rd
Miami, FL 33144
Ph: (305) 265-5265