Fortunately, 85% of facial palsy is due to idiopathic palsy (Bell’s Palsy). The etiology remains unclear although viral infections have been implicated and it occurs more frequently in pregnant women. The diagnosis of idiopathic paralysis is made by excluding all other causes. Healing occurs automatically within 6 months and usually no neurological signs remain.
For treatment to be effective it should be started immediately or at the latest within the first three days of symptoms. It is very important to protect the corneas using eye drops until eyelid closure commences.
Clinical studies show that acupuncture is very effective in treating facial paralysis, without the serious side effects of the cortosteroid therapy used in Western medicine. The acupuncture treatment protocol essentially returns the face back to normal in one-third of the time of any other treatment. Research has demonstrated that electroacupuncture has the ability to up-regulate nerve growth factor, thereby restoring neurons, thus the facial muscle mobility returns to normal.
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