Bell’s Palsy – Basics

Bell’s Palsy occurs when one of the two facial nerves in inflamed or damaged, and causes weakness or paralysis in the face. Symptoms of Bell’s Palsy can appear suddenly and peak within 48 hours. Some of these symptoms include weakness, drooping of the eyelid or mouth, twitching, total paralysis, taste impairment and others. Bell’s Palsy generally only affects one side of the face, however, rare cases exist in which both facial nerves have been damaged.

Bell’s Palsy – Diagnostic Patterns

The Chinese Medicine treatment of bell’s palsy generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition.

The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of bell’s palsy: Lung Wind Invasion-Wind Cold, Lung Wind Invasion-Wind Heat and Spleen Qi Deficiency.

Commonly  used points: LU7Lieque, SI18 Tingong, ST2 Sibai, ST44 Neiting,  ST6 Jiache

Commonly used formula: Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu Wu Wan, Gui Zhi Tang Wan


Seems to be effective; insufficient evidence of efficacy and safety; low quality evidence (Li 2015 – SR & MA of 14 RCTs)(1)

Acupuncture superior to waitlist in physical and social function (Kwon 2015 – RCT acupuncture (n=36) vs waitlist (n=13))(2)


1. Li P, Qiu T, Qin C. Efficacy of Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLOS ONE. 2015;10(5):e0121880.

2. Kwon HJ, Choi JY, Lee MS, Kim YS, Shin BC, Kim JI. Acupuncture for the sequelae of Bell’s palsy: a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2015;16:246.