A Beginner’s Guide to Bell’s Palsy

What you need to know

If you are someone you know, has Bell’s palsy, let them know there is hope! Give our office a call at (425) 686-4498 to schedule a consultation and case review with Dr. Heintze to learn more about how we can help.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s palsy is an often unexplained episode of facial weakness or paralysis, typically on one side of your face. It can happen suddenly and progressively get worse. The condition results from damage to the facial nerve which is responsible for raising your eyebrows, smiling and eyelid movements. Commonly, it is brought about by a viral infection, common cold, and is more common in those who have diabetes or are pregnant. It is often accompanied by other symptoms like headache, drooling, loss of sense of taste, hypersensitivity to touch, and inability to close the eyelids.

Most cases resolve spontaneously, but what about the ones that don’t????

How is Bell’s Palsy treated?

Often your provider will do some lab testing or in some cases imaging to identify a cause. However, in some cases there is no known cause. Standard treatments include prescription drugs like steroids to help calm inflammation, antiviral medical, or even physical therapy. In addition for the cases that the paralysis does not resolve or respond as expected to standard therapies, the paralysis can become chronic.

But guess, what?! There is hope because acupuncture has been show to be effective for acute and chronic cases. To learn more about Bell’s Palsy, read our previous post, here.

Can acupuncture help Bell's Palsy

What do the studies say?

In the research studies that look at how acupuncture can help Bell’s palsy. Acupuncture is often thought to be a “low-risk and safe therapeutic method” of treatment and “no evidence of any deleterious effects.” In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) lists acupuncture as an effective treatment for facial paralysis.

In one study, looked at EMG (electromyography) values of when acupuncture treatment was applied to a patient with 20 year history of facial paralysis. EMG is a diagnostic tool to assess the health of muscles and nerve cells. The imaging studies pre-acupuncture and post-acupuncture showed EMG signals improvement in facial movements. Another study examined EMG signals, pre and post-acupuncture treatment in a patient diagnosed with Bell’s palsy approximately one month previously. Results also showed improved symmetry in facial movements. These are just two examples of studies showing acupuncture is and effective treatment for both acute and chronic symptom presentations (Fabrin, 2016).

If you or someone you know has Bells’ Palsy, let them know there is hope! Give our office a call at (425) 686-4498 to schedule a consultation and case review with Dr. Heintze to learn more about how we can help.

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. She specializes in chronic and complex cases and commonly treats neuropathy, fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune, and infertility cases. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the book, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free  and Keep Calm and Zen Out available on Amazon.




Wu, S. H., & Tai, C. J. (2017). Current research in acupuncture treatment for Bell’s palsy. J Acupun Tradit Med1, 1-4.

Bokhari, S. Z. H., & Zahid, S. S. (2010). Acupuncture treatment of facial palsy. Journal of Ayub Medical College Abbottabad22(4), 70-73.

Fabrin, S, et al. (2016). Acupuncture technique applied to the facial nerve branches in Bell’s palsy. J Neurol Transl Neurosci4, 106.

Call or Schedule Now! (425) 686-4498

Call or Schedule Now!

(425) 686-4498

Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Dr. Heintze Acupuncturist and Naturopathic Doctor

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