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  • Writer's pictureAndre Shih

Bell's Palsy Fully Recovered with Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

Male, age 37, suffered from Bell's Palsy after working out at a gym one evening. Patient called me a day after he found out he couldn't move the right side of his face nor close his right eye. With this kind of acute issue, patient should come for intense treatment 3 times a week for a quick recovery. If this had not been treated quickly, it would take much longer and more effort to recovery, and there is a chance that it might not fully recover.

Mar 13, 1st visit: he couldn't close his right eye nor smile with the right side of his mouth. I could see some minor swelling and redness under his right eye. He also had lost his appetite since 2 days ago along with the sense of taste. After the first treatment, there was about 10% of improvement visually, and face looked more relaxed Patient felt it was easier to move the muscles on his face. Because I had to go on a business trip, he could only had one treatment that week. To bridge the gap, I prescribed a week of herbal medicine based on his presenting symptoms.

Mar 22, 2nd visit: there was only 20% of improvement around the eye. The inner side of his eye had the most trouble closing. He had to wear an eye mask during sleep. The recovery was slower than I expected. After some inspection, I realized the dosage of key herbs in the medicine wasn't enough.

Mar 25, 3rd visit: patient hadn't started taking the new medication. There was little progress from last treatment.

Mar 27, 4th visit: With the help of proper dosage, patient was able to close his eye completely, although some eye muscles were twitching very hard. Part of his eye sight was still blocked by the eye lid when opened. Movement around the lips was 50% better. 80% of the sense of taste also came back.

Mar 29, 5th visit: 70% of the motion around the eye was recovered. When he winked the right eye, he couldn't do it as much as the left.

Apr 1, 6th visit: right eye still twitched when he winked. There was an area under the right side of his mouth where the movement was still only about 50% compare to the left side. Sense of taste was fully recovered. I adjusted herbal medicine to improve blood circulation.

Apr 3, 7th visit: similar as last time

Apr 5, 8th visit: there was 80% recovery around the eye, and 60% around the mouth

Apr 8, 9th visit: there was 95% recovery around the eye, and 85% around the mouth. I adjusted formula again to address patient's other underlying issue.

Apr 12, 10th visit: right eye was fully recovered, and mouth was 90%.

Apr 15, 11th visit: 99% recovered. It was very difficult to tell the difference between left and right side of the face. I said 99% because even a normal person could have some difference between left and right. This last treatment was just to secure the treatment effect by "setting the face" and address any loose ends.

In western medicine's view, Bell's Palsy is a type of infection that causes inflammation of the facial nerves when someone's immune system is down. In TCM, it is quite similar. We think that facial paralysis happened when someone is deficient of energy and blood, and then exposed to wind and cold after breaking a sweat. Wind and cold invade the face while the sweat pore are open and cause the paralysis.

This patient, for many years, had the habit of staying up very late at night, and sometimes even till dawn. After draining more energy and breaking a sweat from working out, he was exposed to the cold temperature.

This could also happen during the summer, when it was very hot and you turn on the a/c full blast on the face. Make sure you don't do that. But more importantly, live a healthy life style. So even when you have fully blast a/c on your face, it won't affect you.

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