Acupuncture and Bell's Palsy
Brisbane Acupuncture Clinic
What is Bell's palsy?
Bell's palsy is facial paralysis that is considered idiopathic. It has an acute onset, with symptoms that are isolated to one side of the face and often associated with facial weakness and numbness (Zhang et al.,2020).
Bell's Palsy occurs as a result of an inflamed, swollen or compressed cranial nerve with the exact cause unknown, though research suggests the underlying cause to be of a viral nature (Zhang et al., 2020). These nerves innervate the facial muscles and are responsible for the movements of muscles in the face. Bell's palsy can therefore effect smiling, frowning, chewing and can potentially effect the functioning of the tear ducts and salivary glands as well (Tiemstra & Khatkhate, 2007).
Do you see patients with Bell's palsy in your Brisbane Clinic?
Yes, we do see patients with Bell's palsy in our Brisbane Acupuncture clinic. Often patients have been assessed by a medical practitioner and given the diagnosis prior to attending our acupuncture clinic to rule out any sinister complications (e.g. stroke).
Patients presenting in our acupuncture clinic for Bell's palsy are often seeking alternative or adjunct therapies to support with recovery.
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine view Bell's palsy?
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, Bell’s Palsy is a condition caused by an attack of external wind pathogen to the face and subsequent blockage of the meridians. This blockage reduces the flow of qi and blood through the meridians and consequently the surrounding muscles.
When applying acupuncture for Bell's palsy, the focus would be to clear blockages in the effected channels, thereby improving the flow of qi and blood and subsequently the movement of muscles surrounding these channels.
When should I get Acupuncture for Bell's palsy?
The earlier the better. It has been shown that patients who receive acupuncture treatments within the first three weeks of Bell's palsy symptom presentation, have a more rapid recovery (Bokhari & Zahid, 2010). Acupuncture after this three week period can still be effective but progress to recovery is slower (Bokhari & Zahid, 2010).
We always recommend getting an assessment completed by your general practitioner prior to booking in to an acupuncture appointment. If you doctor prescribes you medicines such as anti-viral medication or corticosteroids, you can still book in an Acupuncture appointment to support the recovery of your Bell's palsy symptoms.