Nearly 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with Bell’s palsy each year. Bell’s palsy is a kind of facial paralysis which typically affects one side of the face and lasts a few months. The main symptom is sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the face, causing that side to droop; other symptoms include drooling, eye problems, loss of ability to taste, numbness, and increased sensitivity to sound. While most people will recover from Bell’s palsy anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, the condition is uncomfortable and can have a negative effect on daily life and regular interactions.
Although the exact cause of Bell’s palsy is unknown, most cases are thought to be caused when the nerve that controls muscles on one side the face is damaged by inflammation. People who tend to be most at risk for this condition are pregnant women and those who are afflicted with the flu virus, the common cold, and respiratory illnesses.
According to a recent study conducted at the Key Laboratory of Neurological Diseases of Chinese Ministry of Education in Wuhan, Hubei, there is compelling evidence to suggest that certain acupuncture treatments can help patients suffering from facial paralysis recover full facial function. “De qi,” a sensation caused when acupuncture needles are wiggled, rather than inserted and left alone, has been shown in particular to be effective for Bell’s palsy. The sensation of de qi is difficult to describe – it includes achiness, coolness, warmth, and tingling. This combination, as strange as it may sound, helps ensure the best therapeutic benefits.
If you or someone you love is suffering from Bell’s palsy, acupuncture may be the way to speed up recovery and regain full facial control. Visit our Wilmington, NC office, and we’ll have you smiling again in no time.