TCM Approaches for Bell's Palsy
What is Bell's Palsy?
Bell's Palsy is also known as acute peripheral facial palsy of unknown causes. This condition can occur in anyone regardless of age; the exact cause is still unknown. Bell's Palsy can cause muscle weakness on one side of someone's face(Mayo Clinic, 2022). However, in many cases, the muscles will regain their strength, and the condition is only temporary, with rapid improvements in the coming weeks.
How does bell's palsy happen?
As previously mentioned with Bell’s Palsy, there is no known reason why it happens. However, many experts from Mayo Clinic believe it may be caused by inflammation of the nerve controls on one side of a person's face, leading to swelling, which is how many experts believe the “droopy” face comes from and how it happens(Mayo Clinic, 2022). One thing about Bell's Palsy is that it can happen at any point; there may not be a necessary trigger to inflame the nerves on one side of someone's face (Johns Hopkins, 2021).
What are the symptoms of Bell's Palsy?
There are many symptoms of Bell's Palsy, but the most notable one is the disordered movement that controls facial expressions, such as smiling, blinking, or squinting. Another is numbness or loss of feeling in the face, which can come with droopiness when someone first encounters Bell's Palsy (Johns Hopkins, 2021). Some other symptoms when someone develops Bell's Palsy are difficulty speaking, eating, drinking, loss of taste, ringing in ears, and sensitivity to sounds(Cleveland Clinic, 2020). While each of these is a symptom of Bell Palsy, someone may also develop these symptoms from having a stroke or Lyme disease, which have both known to cause facial paralysis (Cleveland Clinic, 2020).
What are the causes of Bell's Palsy in Oriental Medicine?
In TCM/OM, the diagnosis of Bell’s palsy is due to the Wind pathogen. The Wind attacks the meridian channels on the face transporting Qi and blood to nourish the facial muscles. Therefore, the condition is more likely to occur if someone has an underlying Qi deficiency (Paragon, 2022).
What can Oriental medicine do to treat Bell's Palsy?
With roughly 40,000 people developing this condition each year, it is crucial to learn about it and see what TCM/OM modalities may be best to counteract the symptoms. According to TCM/OM, the initial treatment goal would be to expel the Wind, resolve the Dampness, invigorate Qi, and promote blood circulation to the face.
In China, acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to assist in Bell’s palsy recovery. Consistent acupuncture treatment can help soothe a patient and expedite the healing of paralysis, and enhance nerve function(PCOM, 2020). Acupuncture has shown excellent results for those with Bell's Palsy, and it is the best TCM/OM modality to help heal Bell's Palsy over time.
Acupuncture provides the best results when accompanied by another modality, such as traditional Chinese herbs. One main herbal formula used to help treat Bell's Palsy is Qian Zheng San (Leading To Symmetry Powder) (West Village, 2022). Qian Zheng San promotes the regeneration of nerve endings and can expel the Wind and Dampness leaving the body.
Traditional Chinese herbs and acupuncture can create a steady recovery to regain feeling back in the face, allowing many people to live without worrying about Bell's Palsy.
At Rapha Acupuncture in Newport Beach, we are a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinic specializing in men and women’s health and can help you design the best treatment plan for Bell's Palsy! Using acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs customized to your symptoms, Rapha Acupuncture provides a natural and holistic solution. Give us a call today!
the meridian system
deficiency and excess in tcm
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2021, August 8). Bell's Palsy. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/bells-palsy
West Village Acupuncture. (2022, November 11). Bell's Palsy. https://westvillageacupuncture.com/treatments/emotional-neurological-disorders/bells-palsy/
Cleveland Clinic. (2020, May 29). Bell's Palsy: Symptoms, diagnosis & treatment. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/5457-bells-palsy
Mayo Clinic. (2022, May 4). Bell's Palsy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bells-palsy/symptoms-causes/syc-20370028
Paragon Medical Center. (2022, May 30). TCM acupuncture treatment for Bell's Palsy. Thomson Chinese Medicine. https://www.thomsontcm.sg/articles/tcm-treatment-for-bells-palsy/
Pcom. (2020, March 6). A traditional Chinese medicine approach to Bell's Palsy. Pacific College. https://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2015/02/20/a-traditional-chinese-medicine-approach-to-bells-palsy