April Bui Acupuncture 

Clinic Houston 

Phone 713-922-3474

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Bell's Palsy

What would you do if one morning you wake up and discover that one side of your face has collapsed? This condition is called Bell’s palsy and happens frequently to so many people, yet they don’t know that acupuncture and Chinese herbs are very effective for Bell’s palsy if treated at the early onset. This is why you need to get to an acupuncturist immediately.


Bell’s palsy is a sudden paralysis of the facial muscles and nerves. Common symptoms on the affected side of face include:

  • Asymmetry of face.
  • Facial pain, tightness, and pulling.
  • Numbness and weakness of facial motor functions especially of the eyes and mouth.
  • Speech impairment, slurring.
  • Inability to chew, impaired motor and sensory functions of the tongue.
  • Drooling, inability to hold food or liquid inside the mouth.
  • Unable to smile.
  • Partial loss of taste.
  • Excessive tearing of eye.
  • Inability to close eye completely.

What causes Bell's Palsy?

According to Chinese medicine, this condition is due to wind attacking the face causing the blockage of qi (Chinese word for energy) and blood flow through the energy channels of the face. Whenever qi and blood cannot flow through an area of the body, motor and sensory capabilities of that particular area will be impaired.


Often people with a weak energy system are vulnerable to wind attack. We often give this analogy when explaining to my patients --imagine a well-built sturdy building that can stand strong and able to withstand any amount of wind or storm assailing it versus a flimsy straw hut that would just collapse flat on the ground when a heavy storm blows by. Similarly, the face of a person whose energy system is weak and vulnerable is like a straw hut.

Chinese medicine treatment 

Chinese medicine is probably the only healing modality available to properly and naturally treat Bell’s palsy and able to restore normal functions and symmetry to the face without using reconstructive surgery. The good news is that acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment, especially when treated early, is par excellence for stopping the pain, restore motor and sensory functions, and restore symmetry to the face. We use acupuncture and herbs to clear the affected energy channels, disperse energy blockages, break up blood stagnation, facilitate energy and blood flow, expel wind, fortify the energy system and lift the sunken qi (energy) to restore balance to the face.

IMPORTANT - Restoring symmetry to the face can be very successful or very difficult and less effective depending on the time frame. If treated early, no later than three months from the initial onset, acupuncture is highly successful. The longer you wait, the more time you allow for the asymmetrical pattern of the facial muscles to deeply set in, thus making it very difficult to reverse.

This condition calls for quick and aggressive action. At our clinic, patients typically come three times a week for three consecutive weeks. By the third week most of the motor and sensory functions as well as symmetry would have been restored to normalcy. Afterwards, patients need to keep a maintenance for a period of time to reinforce the progress achieved and to continue to support the healing.

Prevention Tips:

  • Always be mindful and protective of your head and face as this is the most vulnerable part of your body. External forces in the environment will attack your head and face first before any other areas of your body.


  • Avoid exposing yourself to strong wind. If you have to be outside on a very windy day, cover your head with a hat or scarf. Do not stay outside or exercise for a long stretch of time. Especially during exercise and with profuse sweating, the pores of your body open bigger and this allows easy access for wind or extreme temperature to invade the interior – you would only be inviting danger.


  • Avoid sleeping near an open window. Wind can easily invade the body, especially at night as this is the time when your wei qi (defensive energy of the body) retreats inward and not providing adequate protection for the body.


  • Avoid having a fan blowing full force directly at you whether frontal or in the back.


  • In your office, do not sit below a vent to avoid especially cold draft hitting you. If a vent is right above your head, find some way to cover it or deflect the draft.


  • Try to keep the stress level in your life down as much as possible. All of us have had experiences with how debilitating and weakening high stress can be to our energy system. A weak energy system cannot withstand the assaults that come to our bodies in many forms.