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Bell's Palsy

Ayurveda regards Bell's Palsy as a vata disorder. Vata dosha is an important component of our makeup and controls many activities in the body including our motor functions like speech, facial expressions, breathing etc. If vata becomes aggravated it tends to become more mobile and diffuse throughout the body leading to discomfort and other problems.

Vata may become aggravated from secondary causes such as trauma, emotional stress or exposure to hot wind or sun. The cause of bell's palsy is unknown but thought to be viral rather than bacterial or fungal infection although this has not been proven by scientific means. It can also result from surgical damage to nerve tissues during dental work and is even reported as being caused by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

To treat Bell's Palsy effectively, it is important to understand the root cause. This can be approached through a complete Ayurvedic assessment but often an initial consultation with a knowledgeable Ayurvedic practitioner will indicate what approach would be best for you and your symptoms. Most importantly it is important to avoid aggravating vata in its aggravated state by avoiding excessive cold and wetness and also keeping stress levels as low as possible.

How does Ayurveda treat Bell's palsy?

Bell's palsy is generally treated by reducing Vata and pitta, which are the predominant doshas in patients with Bell's Palsy. Ayurvedic medicine uses natural herbs that have anti-inflammatory properties as well as healthy helpful fats to increase circulation. These herbs also help in the regeneration of nerves. Regular oil massage (abhyañga) along with herbalized medicated ghee can be very helpful in this condition. Abhyañga stimulates skin receptors which improve blood flow and nourishes nerves that have been affected by Bell's Palsy. It also reduces stress and regulates sleep cycles, all of which contribute to easing symptoms of BPP.

 

Bell's palsy is a disorder of the seventh cranial nerve, also known as the facial nerve. The seventh cranial nerve supplies feeling to the face and controls movements of muscles that are involved in chewing and swallowing. When this nerve is damaged, it can cause weakness in half of your face.

What are the symptoms of Bell's Palsy?

Facial weakness or paralysis is the hallmark symptom of Bell's palsy. Approximately 50% of people with Bell's palsy have pain on one side of the face near the ear, and about half will experience decreased taste on that side as well. Less commonly, a person may experience:

Blurred vision from impaired movement of facial muscles in eye muscles that control blinking and focusing.

Double vision or other visual disturbances due to involvement of the seventh cranial nerve motion eye muscles.

Other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds and trouble speaking may be caused by related conditions.

How does it occur?

The cause of Bell's palsy is unknown, however, it has been linked to:

A viral infection. This may be a cold sore or other types of herpes virus, or possibly the flu. The damage caused by the virus results in paralysis of the nerve fibers that control facial muscles.

Birth control pills have been suggested as a possible cause of Bell's palsy. Although this association has not yet been proven, there is no reason to believe that preventing pregnancy would reduce the risk of developing Bell's palsy.