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Bell's Palsy

What is Bell’s Palsy?


Bell’s palsy is an acute disorder of the 7th cranial (or facial) nerve.  When the nerve in swollen, damaged, compressed, or inflamed, it causes weakness or paralysis the facial muscles on one side of the face (rarely on both sides).  The disease can appear suddenly, reaching its peak around from 48 hours to 72 hours.  It takes few weeks to recede, and fully recovery in about 6 months.  


What cause it?

The exact cause of Bell’s Palsy is unknown.  However, it’s often related to having a viral infection such as herpes simplex, herpes zoster, Epstein-Barr, rubella, influenza B, or mumps.  Bells Palsy can also be the result of a brain tumor, shingles, skull fracture, diabetes, chronic otitis media, or hypertension.


  -  Facial droop: feel heavy and tight

  -  Loss of taste

  -  Jaw and ear pain on the affected side

  -  Speech impairment

  -  Sensitive to sound on the affected side

  -  Headache

  -  Tearing/dry eyes on the affected side

  -  Dribbling

  -  Cannot raise eyebrow on the affected side. 

     (This is the key difference between Stroke and Bell’s Palsy.)


Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine for Bell’s Palsy


According to Chinese medical theory, Bell’s Palsy is caused by attacking of external wind to the ear and subsequent blockage of the meridians OR caused by deficiency of the Qi and blood stasis.  Thus, the electro acupuncture will unblock the meridians, invigorate the energy and blood flow.  Most of the cases, we combine acupuncture treatment with hot oil and herbal formulas for faster recovery.  


Acupuncture treatment should be begin as soon as possible.  This is required 3 times per week.  If receiving treatment twice a day, the therapeutic effect can be faster.  Depending on the onset, the herbal medicine will be giving differently.  The main formula is Qian Zheng San (Powder for treating facial paralysis) is often modified with either Gui Zhi Jia Ge Gen Tang or Bu Yang Huan Wu Tang or according to the patient's condition.


How many treatments do I need?


It totally depends on how much effort you do to help the recovering process.  If he/she follow the practitioner’s advice, do facial massage and exercise, take herbs regularly, then he/she will recover much faster.  For those who don’t follow the instructions, no facial exercise or massage, don’t want to take herbs, then it will take longer time.


How do I know my treatments are completed?

First phase: without smile, you face seems to look even

Second phase: with smile, you face looks almost even.  You can now move some stubborn facial muscles.  You face less heavy or tight on the affected side.  

Final phase: when puckering your lips either to blow a candle or whistle, you can do it easily.  Your great smile is back to normal.  You can control all facial muscles by now.


Many people stopped treatments after seeing his/her face even (1st phase).  Leaving untreated for a while, the facial nerves will become weaker or even be damaged.  It will get harder to treat later on.  In some cases, it will never come back.

For those who stopped treatment after 2nd phase, you will get it again either on the same side or the other side.  Some cases, it can get both sides.




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