Approximately 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy every year. The disorder presents with a sudden onset of facial paralysis, which may be preceded by slight fever, stiff neck, or weakness on one side of the face. Paralysis results from decreased blood supply or compression of the facial nerve, which controls facial movement and expression. Although the exact cause of Bell’s Palsy is not known, viral, or a compromised immune system is suspected to play a role.
Most cases resolve in two to three weeks, and 80% can resolve within three months. Acupuncture is an effective therapy for facilitating recovery and expediting resolution especially when treatment is started early. A recent study demonstrated that electroacupuncture combined with warm needle therapy produced a 94.6% total effective rate for treating Bell’s Palsy.