Bell’s palsy is a condition that more often than not affects one side of the face resulting from damage to the facial nerve (7th cranial facial nerve). The development is quick and can occur overnight, with a slight weakness to complete paralysis that can result in the drooping of the affected side of the face making facial expressions such as smiling difficult. It usually impairs the ability to shut the eye on the affected part of the face.

Bell’s palsy can cause pain behind the ear or around the jaw, lessening the sense of taste and altering the manufacture of tears and saliva. The sufferer often is incapable of closing his/her eye in order to lubricate it. And to be able to sleep, the patient may need to tape it shut.

There is no known cause as to why Bell’s palsy develops though scientists suspect prior viral infections such as respiratory illness, Epstein Barr, shingles, chickenpox, or herpes can make the condition likely to appear.

In TCM or traditional Chinese medicine, Bell’s palsy diagnosis is external cold-wind invading the meridians of the face. This means that the patient has a weak immune system or an underlying qi (vital energy) deficiency. The condition may sometimes be triggered by being out on windy days, sitting under a fan, or by sweating.

Recovery from Bell’s palsy can be achieved with TCM, which has been used for thousands of years to help in the recovery of patients with this condition. Acupuncture along with three weeks to a full month of electro-stimulation, can enhance nerve function, help accelerate the reduction of the paralysis, and calm the patient from the very uncomfortable and upsetting emotional aspect of the disorder that usually results in depression.

Acupuncturists in Saratoga Springs are known to achieve full recovery of their patients or gain significant improvement of their condition who have been suffering from Bell’s palsy for years. With just a few needles, patients with longstanding symptoms have been able to fully recover.

TCM treatment for Bell’s palsy uses herbs to heal the problematic nerves, relieve stress (which can also trigger symptoms), and bring about optimal functioning of the nervous system. Zinc, vitamins B12 and B6 and other supplements can help improve nerve growth and bring about speedy recovery of the affected facial nerve.

Performing daily facial exercises and massage of the afflicted parts can also assist in the alleviation of symptoms. Electro-acupuncture or TENS stimulation of the problematic muscles coupled with physical therapy can also be beneficial.