Bell's Palsy

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Yes, you can speed up Bell's palsy recovery with natural treatment! In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Bell's palsy is viewed as a result of Wind "attack" on the meridians that go to the face - this is why we normally see more Bell's palsy cases during the windy seasons of spring and fall in New York, as well as after a traumatic event, shock, and, in some cases, after childbirth. This attack causes blockage in the meridians, which can lead to twitching, numbness, swelling, and, paralysis. Acupuncture can clear these blockages, rebalance the body, and restore the proper flow of Qi. Most treatments do not require any needles on the face. We use an advanced technique to maximize results while minimizing discomfort. Most patients can start to feel changes during the first or second treatment.



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Acupuncture & Herbs versus
Conventional Treatments


Conventional Treatments for Bell's

Examination: Your doctor reviews your signs and symptoms, and may order scans and lab tests to confirm that this is Bell's palsy and not Lyme disease or a stroke. You may need to return for follow up tests.

Pathology: According to the NIH, "Bell's palsy occurs when the nerve that controls the facial muscles is swollen, inflamed, or compressed, resulting in facial weakness or paralysis." The exact cause of the damage, however, is unknown. Most scientists agree that it can be caused by a viral infection.

Treatment: Within the first 2 weeks, your doctor may prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation and swelling. Other drugs, such as antivirals, may also shorten the course of the disease, if your Bell's palsy was caused by a virus. Analgesics may also be prescribed to relieve pain or discomforts. Side effects may occur. Beyond the first few weeks, there are no other treatments available.

Prognosis: According to the NIH, the average recovery time with or without treatment is 3 to 6 months.

Acupuncture for bell's

Examination: We review signs, symptoms, health history, lifestyle, and determine channels affected. If we think this may be a more serious condition, we will refer you to your doctor for tests.

Pathology: Bell's palsy is primarily caused by blockage in the Yangming and Taiyang meridians, the main meridians that control the eyes, cheeks, and mouth. Certain traumatic events, lifestyle patterns, and illnesses throw the body off balance and makes the body more susceptible to a Wind attack.

Treatment: The ideal time to start treatment is within the first week of the Bell's palsy onset, the earlier the better. The treatment goals are to prevent the pathogenic Wind from going deeper, strengthen your body's immune system, and reduce risk factors. Treatments are completely natural.

Prognosis: For acute cases, the average recovery time is between 3 weeks to 2 months. The time will vary according to your health history, how soon you start treatment, and how you follow the lifestyle and diet suggestions (see below). More chronic conditions will require more treatments.


Self-Care with Lifestyle and Diet

Eat a balanced diet, maintain a healthy habit, and keep these healing factors in your regimen:

No direct wind. The breeze may feel good, but it isn't good for you. Avoid sitting close to a fan, air conditioner, or open window.

Avoid spicy foods. Spice generates internal heat and Wind, which worsens the symptoms and can delay recovery time.

Sleep. This is when the body heals. We recommend going to bed by 11 PM, and getting 7 to 8 hours of good, uninterrupted sleep.

Take it easy. Studies show that high stress contributes to weakening the immune system. Stress reduction is part of every acupuncture treatment, but we encourage you to find any other healthy activity you enjoy to help manage stress. Check the Fun Stuff page on our site and follow us on social media to see frequently updated posts about tips, exercises, recipes, and workshops (scroll to the top for icons).

Moxibustion. This classical Chinese medicine application involves the burning of dried Chinese mugwort, or Ai Ye. There are several ways of administering moxibustion, and they all involve warming certain acupuncture points to promote Qi and blood circulation. Your acupuncturist will show you how to do this self-treatment at home.


Frequently Asked Questions

When should I come in? We recommend you come in as soon as possible, ideally within 3 days of your onset for optimal results. This will also help to prevent the symptoms from getting worse. We recommend 4 treatments within the first 2 weeks.

When will I see results? Most patients begin to see improvement within the first 2 treatments. We strive to get results while you're on the table. Yes, you can feel changes immediately. On average, we see full recovery within 3 weeks to 2 months, which is faster than the 3 to 6 month waiting period suggested by the National Institute of Health. Of course, each case will vary by how soon treatments begin and if there are any coinciding health complications. Please see your doctor to rule out other disorders and illnesses.

Are there side effects? Unlike the medications prescribed in Bell's palsy protocols, acupuncture has almost no side effects. Many patients report feeling more relaxed and less stressed. If you choose to take the medications prescribed by your doctor to treat your Bell's palsy symptoms, we can work with you to minimize the side effects.

Does it hurt? Your comfort is very important to us. Some parts of the body are more sensitive than others, so you may feel a slight prick at the needle site, but most people do not feel any discomfort during treatments.

How are your treatments different from other acupuncturists? Unlike other acupuncture treatments for Bell's palsy in NYC, I do not start with local needling. This means I will not needle your face. Instead, strategic points are selected on the arms and legs, and you'll be asked to move your facial muscles to see if there are any changes as you're receiving treatments. Yes, this means you will notice changes before you even leave the treatment room. I do not use protocols - there is no one-size-fits-all treatment, since each individual is unique. Additionally, I am a board-certifited diplomate of Oriental Medicine by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), the highest certification available in the United States, which means I am fully qualified in clean needle technique and herbal medicine in addition to the standard qualification requirements in New York state. You can read more about this certification here:

Does insurance cover acupuncture treatments for Bell's palsy? If your insurance plan covers acupuncture, it will cover your treatments. Most health insurance plans in New York cover acupuncture - please contact us and we can check for you.