Bell’s palsy often strikes young adults (around the ages of 20 to 35 years of age) and it does affect both human males and females. There is about 1 in 5000 chance a person will develop this condition each year. It rarely happens that Bell’s palsy will affect a person twice or more in his/her lifetime. This condition is a certain type of facial paralysis that generally affects one side of a person’s face. When it appears, the paralysis develops all of a sudden often accompanied by weakness and numbness. The person who is affected will have problems closing his/her mouth on the affected part of their face, be acutely sensitive to noise, have a change of taste, and have a problem closing one of his/her eyes. Pain is usually not experienced although sometimes it may be felt behind the ear or other parts of the face.
Western medicine is still unsure of what exactly causes Bell’s palsy. Current studies have suggested that the cause of the paralysis may be due to a certain type of virus. In about 80% of the subjects with Bell’s palsy was discovered a Herpes Simplex virus a Japanese research recently noted. Herpes Simplex is a virus that also causes cold sores. It attacks the 7th cranial nerve causing it to swell leading to the impairment of the facial nerves causing the symptoms of numbness and paralysis and sometimes, pain.
People with Bell’s palsy usually recover on their own. Around 10% to 20% of affected people, however, may have permanent mild paralysis of the face. Those with this condition and who are over 55 years old may feel facial pain on both sides of the face; some of them may have a high probability of permanent damage in the facial nerves.
Bell’s palsy treatment using Western medicine usually utilizes anti-viral drugs. People who have control only of one eye or who have a lack of tearing will need to use eye drops to help maintain the moisture in their eye until eye normal function is restored.
Diagnosing Bell’s palsy and curing it using Chinese Medicine
Bell’s palsy in the view of Chinese medicine is usually the result of an invasion of an external pathogen known as Wind. When wind enters the body, it causes blood flow to slow down leading to poor nourishment as well as poor control over some parts of the body. In the case of Bell’s palsy, it’s the face that is affected.
One of the most effective and increasingly popular treatments for this condition is acupuncture. Inserting very slender acupuncture needles on the affected areas of the head, neck and face and in certain other body parts, the acupuncturist can help cure this disorder.
Bell’s palsy and the acupuncture points to cure it:
Common points used to treat this condition include:
Chia Cheng Jiang
LI 19 and 20
ST 4 and 6
Acupuncture points needles for the improper closing of the eye:
Most of the acupoints used are on the affected part of the face although certain needles may be place on both sides of the face.
Other alternative modalities to help treat Bell’s palsy
Electrical Acupuncture- the acupuncture stimulation may be sufficient of the affected muscles begin to twitch during the treatment.
Some other helpful tips include a facial massage after the face is applied with a hot compress to help boost blood flow. Chewing of gum can also be helpful and the affected person needs to avoid wind and drafts. To shield your body and face from the cold, wear high jackets and wear scarves and keep the wind away from the affected part of your face.