Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy

Bell’s palsy is a relatively rare condition, affecting around 11-40 people per 100,000 each year. It’s characterised by a sudden weakening of the muscles in one side of the face, leading to a distinct lopsided smile and drooping eyelid.

While most people with Bell’s palsy will make a complete recovery over weeks or months, a small number of people can experience ongoing symptoms that may never resolve. Treatment for Bell’s palsy can help manage symptoms, speed up recovery and reduce the likelihood of ongoing issues.

What is Bell’s palsy?

Bell’s palsy refers to paralysis or weakness of the muscles on one side of the face, as a result of nerve dysfunction.

The exact cause is unknown, but it’s believed to be associated with inflammation or virus. 

For many, the first sign of Bell’s palsy is noticing a slight droop on one side of the face. However, people diagnosed with Bell’s palsy also report feeling pain behind the ear or pins and needles along the tongue. 

Symptoms will generally develop over two three days and can also include:

  • Mild weakness to total paralysis on one side of the face
  • Facial droop which makes it difficult to smile or close one eye
  • Drooling
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste
  • Increased sensitivity to sound on the affected side 

Treatment for Bell’s palsy

Because the exact causes of Bell’s palsy are unknown, the range of treatment options is varied. Suggested treatments may include antiviral drugs, corticosteroids, physiotherapy and acupuncture. 

Acupuncture treatment for Bell’s palsy

In China, acupuncture has been used to treat facial palsy for many years. As traditional therapies have become more integrated into treatment in Australia, the use of acupuncture to treat Bell’s palsy has become more common.

Given how rare Bell’s palsy is, comparatively, research into the effectiveness of acupuncture is minimal. Previous studies suggest acupuncture may provide better outcomes compared to pharmaceutical treatment alone, but more research is needed to provide a reliable base of evidence.

At Acupuncture Geelong we provide acupuncture alongside other treatment methods to support the recovery of Bell’s palsy. Fine needles are applied to specific points in the body with the aim to reduce inflammation and increase circulation, which can help reduce recovery time and improve health outcomes.


Dr Phillip Tring is a qualified and AHPRA registered Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner with 8 years of experience. He has experience treating a wide range of presenting conditions, particularly those associated with modern life such as back pain, sciatica, sports injuries, and stress.

Known for his friendly, warm and humorous approach to treatment, Dr Phillip combines his knowledge of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine with a passion for improving his clients’ general health, nutrition and wellbeing.

Leave a Comment