Bell Palsy

Bell palsy is a sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of the face. It can cause pain and problems with hearing, vision, taste, and speech.

Medicine and physical therapy are used to improve muscle function and recovery time. Some people turn to natural therapies to provide further benefit.

Natural Therapies

May Be Effective

  • Electrostimulation uses an electrical current through electrodes on the skin. It may quicken recovery time.B1
  • Physical therapy may help improve facial function.D1, D2, D3

May Not Be Effective

These therapies may not be effective:

Not Enough Data to Assess

  • Laser therapy E1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse.

References

Acupuncture

A1. Chen N, Zhou M, et al. Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(8):CD002914.

A2. Li P, Qui T, et al. Efficacy of Acupuncture for Bell’s Palsy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLoS One. 2015;10(5):e0121880.

A3. Zhang R, Wu T, et al. Compare the efficacy of acupuncture with drugs in the treatment of Bell’s palsy: A systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(19):e15566.

A4. Kwon HJ, Choi JY, et al. Acupuncture for the sequelae of Bell's palsy: a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2015 Jun 3;16:246. doi: 10.1186/s13063-015-0777-z.

A5. Kim JI, Lee MS, et al. Acupuncture for Bell's palsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Chin J Integr Med. 2012 Jan;18(1):48-55.

A6. Tong FM, Chow SK, et al. A prospective randomised controlled study on efficacies of acupuncture and steroid in treatment of idiopathic peripheral facial paralysis. Acupunct Med. 2009 Dec;27(4):169-173.

Electrostimulation

B1. Kim J, Choi JY. The effect of subthreshold continuous electrical stimulation on the facial function of patients with Bell’s palsy. Acta Otolaryngol. 2016;136(1):100-105.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

C1. Holland NJ, Bernstein JM, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Bell’s palsy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(2):CD007288.

Physical Therapy

D1. Teixeira LJ, Valbuza JS, et al. Physical therapy for Bell’s palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(12):CD006283.

D2. Nicastri M, Mancini P, et al. Efficacy of early physical therapy in severe Bell’s palsy: a randomized controlled trial. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2013;27(6):542-551.

D3. Monini S, Iacolucci CM, et al. Role of Kabat rehabilitation in facial nerve palsy: a randomised study on severe cases of Bell’s palsy. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2016;36(4):282-288.

Other Therapies

E1. Alayat MS, Elsodany AM, et al. Efficacy of high and low level laser therapy in the treatment of Bell's palsy: a randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial. Lasers Med Sci. 2014 Jan;29(1):335-342.

Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 5/19/2020

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