Bell’s Palsy is a condition of facial paralysis or weakness, not resultant from a stroke or TIA (transient ischemic attack). It affects the facial nerve that controls the muscles on one side of the face, causing drooping and lack of responsiveness to that side of the face. This impairment may also affect your ability to form tears, close your eye, make expressions, or to taste. Most often, the patient wakes with this condition and it appears suddenly. Western medicine attributes this condition to the herpes virus that causes cold sores, and typically treats it with corticosteroids or antiviral medications.
Most patients do not find pharmaceutical treatment to be effective. Many cases will resolve on their own within a few weeks, however it’s possible that the paralysis or weakness can be permanent. Or, you can use acupuncture! This is one of those cases where Chinese medicine offers dramatic results where there is otherwise little remedy.
In Chinese medicine, this condition is due to what we call “wind invasion”. Quite literally, most of my patients with this condition report being exposed to air conditioning drafts for extended periods of time, working in a refrigerated environment, or other unusual condition involving cold drafts to the face.
Using tiny acupuncture points along the facial nerve pathway, treatment stimulates activity of the facial nerve and activates the drooping facial muscles while warming the pathways and expelling the wind pathogen. If you or someone you know suspects Bell’s Palsy, don’t wait! The sooner I can treat you, the faster and better the outcome will be in this case.