The ancient procedure of acupuncture has been a common topic for new research in the field of alternative medicine and supplemental health practices. New benefits of acupuncture are investigated often, and now those suffering from facial paralysis due to Bell’s palsy may also be able to find relief from acupuncture as well. Specifically, the technique of wiggling the acupuncture needles resulting in “de qi” has been shown to increase chances of full recovery, according to a recent Chinese study.
De qi is the name for the feelings resulting from the needle movements. These feelings include aching, coolness, warmth, and tingling which all together create the most benefits in this type of therapy. Bell’s palsy affects about 40,000 Americans yearly, and is characterized by facial paralysis usually on one side of the face and lasting a few months. Although it is generally treated with over the counter medications, de qi may become a new supplement to a traditional program aiding recovery.
The Chinese study split participants with Bell’s palsy into two treatment groups, one receiving traditional acupuncture while the other received acupuncture treatments to elicit de qi. Both groups received prednisone, a common steroid used in treatment. When evaluated by neurologists blind to treatment group separation, the participants in the de qi group received higher scores of facial function than those in the standard acupuncture group. The de qi group also showed higher full recovery rates after six months.
As with any early study, it is difficult to draw any concrete conclusions. These results may come from increased blood flow due to the needle movements, but de qi is also a hard factor to quantify due to the often subjective nature. The important point to take away from this new research is the potential for further research on acupuncture treatments, and the standardization of this area of research. It also opens the door to examine further the specific scientific reasons for these results. But for those experiencing Bell’s palsy, this could be the start of great new treatment and recovery aids.
Read the entire article here: Acupuncture Could Improve Function In People With Bell’s Palsy, Study Finds

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