Learn how we can restore facial nerve function in as few as 4 treatments.
Scroll down for real patient photos!
Bell's Palsy Background Information
Imagine- one evening you go to bed as normal, but overnight something happens. You wake up the next morning with one side of your face so weak that you can't close your eye or your mouth!
This is the reality for many patients who develop Bell's Palsy. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:
Bell's palsy, also known as idiopathic facial palsy, is a form of temporary facial paralysis or weakness on one side of the face. It results from dysfunction of cranial nerve VII (facial nerve) which directs the muscles on one side of the face, including those that control eye blinking and closing and facial expressions such as smiling. (There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves, identified by Roman numerals.) The facial nerve also carries nerve impulses to the tear glands, the saliva glands, and the muscles of a small bone in the middle of the ear. The facial nerve also transmits taste sensations from the tongue.
Bell's palsy is the most common cause of facial paralysis, although its exact cause is unknown. Generally, Bell's palsy affects only one side of the face; however, in rare cases, it can affect both sides. Symptoms appear suddenly over a 48 - 72-hour period and generally start to improve with or without treatment after a few weeks, with recovery of some or all facial function within six months. In some cases, residual muscle weakness lasts longer or may be permanent.
While the exact cause of Bell's Palsy remains unknown, it is often thought to be caused by a recent or latent viral infection, stress, decreased immunity, trauma, or even autoimmune conditions. Doctors typically prescribe a course of steroids and sometimes antivirals or analgesics to help mitigate symptoms and hasten recovery of facial nerve function. Acupuncture is also an excellent treatment option!
Acupuncture Treatment for Bell's Palsy
As anyone who has had acupuncture likely knows, some of its most important effects are decreasing inflammation and improving circulation (and therefore oxygenation, since oxygen is carried in the blood!) to the treated part of the body. According to NINDS, "As the facial nerve swells and becomes inflamed in reaction to the infection, it causes pressure within the Fallopian canal (a bony canal through which the nerve travels to the side of the face), leading to the restriction of blood and oxygen to the nerve cells. In some mild cases where recovery is rapid, there is damage only to the myelin sheath (the fatty covering that acts as insulation of nerve fibers)." This is why acupuncture can be so effective at treating Bell's Palsy- the inflammation and restricted circulation that cause the palsy symptoms happen to be the exact same things acupuncture helps to improve!
I have seen many, many cases of Bell's Palsy in my career. One important thing these cases have taught me is this- the sooner we start treatment, the faster and more dramatic our results tend to be. If a patient starts acupuncture within 72 hours of symptom onset, we typically see 80% improvement in symptoms within 4 treatments. Of course, no results are guaranteed and every case is different. However, there is a very clear distinction in efficacy between patients who start treatment quickly and those who start treatment more than 1-2 weeks after onset. The sooner we start treatment, the sooner your nerve function returns to normal!
Treatment Progress Photos
Curious what our results can look like? One of our patients was kind enough to allow us to show her progress photos. Follow her treatment journey and results below!
Day 3 of symptoms, 3 days prior to starting acupuncture
Day 14 of symptoms, after 2 acupuncture sessions
Day 29 of symptoms, after 5 acupuncture sessions.
This photo was taken prior to her 6th visit, after which she was released from care.
I have taken specialized training in treating Bell's Palsy and continued to refine my techniques over the last several years. It is this experience and training that has allowed me to develop a protocol that achieves consistent results for my patients. If you or someone you know is interested, feel free to schedule an appointment by clicking the button below so that we can evaluate your case. Remember, time is of the essence!