Bell’s palsy is a condition characterised by the rapid onset of unilateral facial weakness due to acute inflammation of the facial nerve, with impairment of all facial movements on the affected side, including blinking. The cause of the inflammation is unknown and can develop at any age. Although it can resolve spontaneously, around 29% of cases are left with moderate to severe weakness resulting in major facial dysfunction and disfigurement. Conventional medical treatment includes eye protection, drugs (i.e. corticosteroids, antivirals), surgery and physiotherapy.
Clinical research suggests that acupuncture is effective in improving and speeding recovery at any stage of the condition.
Acupuncture helps in the treatment of Bell’s palsy by:
- reducing inflammation through the release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors
- enhancing local microcirculation by increasing the diameter and blood flow velocity of peripheral arterioles
- nerve and muscular stimulation