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Are you at risk for Bell's Palsy (facial paralysis)?

What is Bell’s Palsy?

Bell’s Palsy, also known as idiopathic facial palsy, is the most common cause of facial paralysis, affecting about 40 000 people each year in the US alone. Although It can affect anyone of any gender and age, it most commonly occurs in individuals between ages 15 and 45. The facial paralysis results in the temporary inability to control the facial muscles on the affected side of the face and involves the dysfunction of the cranial nerve VII (Facial nerve) which controls eye blinking and facial expressions. Risk factors for Bell’s Palsy include pregnancy, diabetes, hypertension, and recent upper respiratory tract infection.

What are the symptoms of Bell’s Palsy? 

Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy can vary between individuals and ranges from mild to severe. It usually occurs suddenly and continues to worsen over the next 48-72 hours.
The following are some common symptoms of Bell’s Palsy:
● Facial drooping caused by weakness or paralysis on one or both sides of the face
● Unable to make facial expressions
● Difficulty closing eyes or raising eyebrow
● Drooling
● Pain along the jawline or around the ear
● Headaches
● Impaired tasting, hearing, and vision

What are the causes of Bell’s Palsy? 

Western View
The exact cause of Bell’s Palsy is unknown. Many scientists believe viral infections can play an important role in the development of Bell’s Palsy. However, a combination of impaired immunity from stress, physical trauma, sleep deprivation or even travel are most likely triggers. As the facial nerve swells up and inflamed, it can restrict blood and oxygen to the nerve cells.

Traditional Chinese Medicine
Bell’s Palsy is diagnosed with “External wind-cold attacking the meridians of the face”. These two pathogenic factors can cause constriction of blood vessels and impedes facial nerve function which results in paralysis and pain. Another implication of Bell’s palsy is underlying Qi (energy) deficiency. Individuals who have low protective Qi, which translate into the immune system, can be easily affected by external pathogens.

How does our clinic use Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat Bell’s Palsy? 

There are several natural remedies that can quicken the recovery process of Bell’s Palsy.

Acupuncture has been used in China for thousands of years to assist in treatment. First, acupuncture can reduce inflammation on the facial nerves and clear the pathogenic factors. Secondly, it can be used to increase blood flow and promote healing to the affected area. Special styles of acupuncture like Zhu’s Scalp Acupuncture which is used at our clinic, can not only increase circulation into the micro-capillaries on the face, but also reduce pain and stimulate nerve growth.

Daoyin is a form of stimulation/ physical therapy that is often paired with acupuncture treatment. While acupuncture opens up the blockage, daoyin guides the energy and blood flow to the affected area and restores its structural position and function. It improves acupuncture results significantly.

Herbal remedies can be admissioned to help both the face and the constitution. Specific formulas can be used to ease the pain, promote circulation, and stimulate the nerves. On top of that, when the body is constitutionally weak, there can be factors that affect and impair the treatment results. This is when herbal remedies come in as excellent support by improving the immune system and other underlying conditions.

Most people with Bell’s Palsy start to regain normal facial function within 3 weeks even without treatments. However, 15% of the individuals suffer from mild residual facial weakness or no improvements since onset. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed or starting to show symptoms of Bell’s Palsy, it is
important to start treatment as soon as possible for a speedy and complete recovery. Our clinic has successfully treated Bell’s Palsy using Zhu’s Scalp Acupuncture for both initial onset and residual symptoms. Contact us at 416-901-2873 or info@mycompletebalance.com to book your initial video assessment appointment!


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