How does Acupuncture Heal Facial Paralysis?

Facial paralysis is a loss of facial movement which may be related to a viral infection of the facial nerve or caused by stroke which is a more severe condition that involves damage of brain cells. Some other causes may be head tumor, middle ear infection, Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome, some autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and injury to the face. Among all, Bell’s Palsy, also known as acute peripheral facial palsy of unknown cause, is the most common diagnosis of facial paralysis which usually includes a combination of symptoms:

  • facial droop and difficulty in closing eyes and smiling on the affected side

  • difficulty in eating, drinking and speaking clearly

  • drooling

  • altered sense of taste

  • hypersensitivity to sound

  • pain behind ears, around jaws, and headache

  • decrease in tearing and saliva production

Electro-acupuncture is widely used in the treatment for peripheral facial paralysis.  As facial paralysis is caused by the inflammation of facial nerves and electro-acupuncture aims at restoring the shape and function of facial mimetic muscles on the affected side. The appropriate stimulation of electro-acupuncture improves excitability, flexibility and reactivity of the nerve system.

In a recent study, researchers concluded that electroacupuncture together cupping, and combined with rehabilitation training and physiotherapy can significantly improve facial paralysis symptoms in the early stage.

The intensity of the electroacupuncture wave (20-30min/day) depended on patient tolerance determined by the level of the visible muscle contractions. 3-5 treatments per week are recommended.

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