Bell’s palsy(1) is a common disorder that affects the facial nerves and results in paralysis or weakness of each side of the face. Facial paralysis is known as ‘deviated mouth”. Acupuncture is an ancient technique that has been used for many years. It has proven beneficial and is still in practice for decades.
Bell’s Palsy can be treated through many therapies and treatments. Acupuncture for Bell’s palsy is amongst all treatments. People usually avoid major surgeries or harsh therapies when they are faced with Bell’s palsy in their facial nerves.
Acupuncture is beneficial and gives a soothing effect. It is a short period of treatment, and it offers minimum pain, which is bearable. Acupuncture involves using super-thin needles to lower the pain level. These needles are pre-sterilized to avoid any infection in the skin and are disposed off after used. Acupuncture is used in many treatments like nausea, stress, and anxiety.
Acupuncture for Bell’s palsy is beneficial in shortening the course of the disease. Acupuncture for Bell’s palsy involves inserting very fine needles into specific points on the skin. It also engages in applying various other treatments to acupuncture points for healing (2).
How is Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy Done?
For acupuncture, you need an expert to carry out the treatment. If you are unable to find any expert for acupuncture, then it might be risky for your health, then being beneficial. The Bell’s palsy Acupuncture points and the procedure is mentioned below.
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- Before starting the treatment, your doctor will ask you about your health, i.e if you are not on medication or supplements. Before starting the acupuncture, your health history is significant to know, for a doctor.
- The first group acupuncture treatment focuses on local acupuncture points that are related to facial muscles that paralyzed. These acupuncture points applied to the orbicularis oculi muscles and used for GB14 for about 3cm. They also apply SI18 and ST3 at the zygomaticus major. At EX-HN8 and LI20, the elevator will be a needle.
- The Orbicularis muscles will be needled at MHN18 and ST4. Needles will be inserted in the muscle layer superficially.
- The electro-acupuncture current will be adjusted until the twitching of facial muscles. The time for needle retention is 20 minutes, max.
- On the other hand, ST7, GB20, TB17, and LI4 acupuncture points will be inserted without the electro-acupuncture devices.
- The second group acupuncture, will be applied to acupuncture points that are GB14, MHN9, GB1, ST6, ST4, SI18, GV26, and CV24.
- TB17 and GB20 will be applied to the patient with acute mastoiditis pain. And the patient with a severe deviation of mouth will be added with ST7 and LI4. The time for needle retention will be 20 minutes.
- Both groups of patients may receive the treatment once per day. With the break of two days in between each course, five courses will be treated to complete the course.
There are also some other methods for acupuncture for Bell’s palsy like acupuncture with drug therapy. In this infrared heat therapy and meditation are combined. But it has a low effective rate of treatment that is 60.42%. In many cases, symptoms of Bell’s palsy will begin to improve in as little as two weeks. When people have more severe paralysis, it may take longer to recover.
Bell’s Palsy symptoms can be treated easily by using the following steps.
- Bell’s palsy can be treated by protecting the eyes from drying at night. Like while watching television or using a computer, you must pay attention to their eyes, and avoid them from getting dry.
- Bell’s palsy can be treated by meditation or pain killers; it may help you in relieving pain but not for a long time.
- Bell’s palsy can be treated by massage or exercise. Massaging or doing facial exercises that are advised by your physical therapist will help you in the relaxation of facial muscles.
- Biofeedback training can be helpful. It involves the use of your thoughts to be in its senses and in control of your body. It can control your facial nerves.
- Keep the washcloth soaked in warm water on your face several times a day. It can help you in pain relief.
- If you are unable to close your eyes, completely you need to wear glasses in the day time; also, use your fingers to close your eyes throughout a day. You can also use eye drops prescribed by your doctor, and even wear an eye patch at night.
Acupuncture is known to promote the effective functioning of the nervous system and prevent stress. Studies have shown that acupuncture may give up to 60-70% improvement rates – even for those experiencing chronic pain. There are numerous beneficial effects of acupuncture treatment for Bell’s palsy.
Many patients with facial paralysis have obtained benefits or completely recovered after acupuncture therapy. However, Acupuncture can also cause some risks; that is, it can cause bleeding in patients, which is dangerous. After needle insertion, bleeding bruising and soreness may occur. An internal organ may be damaged due to the breakage of a needle. The side effects include pain and minor bleeding or bruising where the needles are inserted. Thus, it is safe to consult your doctor before deciding on acupuncture.
[Read: Exercises for Bell’s Palsy]
1. How Is Bell’s Palsy Diagnosed?
Electromyography (EMG), Blood tests, and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can diagnose Bell’s palsy.
2. What Are the After-Effects of Acupuncture?
You might experience minor aches in the body after acupuncture.
3. Does Acupuncture Cause Bleeding?
Bleeding can only occur if you have a bleeding disorder.