Laser acupuncture is commonly viewed as a pain-free alternative to traditional acupuncture. It can help patients dealing with a variety of medical conditions, including facial paralysis and Bell’s palsy.
At The Facial Paralysis Institute, Dr. Babak Azizzadeh is committed to exploring revolutionary treatment options to help patients mitigate the effects of facial paralysis. Dr. Azizzadeh is globally recognized for his facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and head and neck surgery expertise, and he continuously helps patients identify safe, effective ways to correct facial paralysis symptoms.
Additionally, Dr. Azizzadeh is dedicated to patient education, and he wants to provide insights into laser acupuncture for facial paralysis and Bell’s palsy. In doing so, Dr. Azizzadeh can help his patients determine if laser acupuncture can be used to address their facial paralysis symptoms.
What Is Laser Acupuncture for Facial Palsy?
Acupuncture for facial paralysis involves the stimulation of different points in the face. These points are typically found in the facial muscles. When stimulated, they can help relieve facial pain or soreness.
Whereas traditional acupuncture uses needles, laser acupuncture involves the use of low-intensity, non-thermal laser irradiation. As such, laser acupuncture is virtually painless in comparison to traditional acupuncture.
The time it takes to administer laser acupuncture can be significantly less than that associated with a traditional acupuncture treatment, too. With laser acupuncture, a laser can be applied to an acupuncture point in seconds. Comparatively, with traditional acupuncture, it can take several minutes to insert needles into specific acupuncture points in the face.
Traditional acupuncture can present additional risks in comparison to laser acupuncture as well. Since traditional acupuncture involves the use of needles, it can put patients at risk of infection.
For patients dealing with facial paralysis symptoms, a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of traditional and laser acupuncture is critical. Because, if patients understand the pros and cons of facial paralysis treatments, they can choose one that is both safe and effective.
An In-Depth Look at the History of Laser Acupuncture for Facial Palsy
To understand the safety and effectiveness of laser acupuncture for facial paralysis, it is important to first analyze the use of lasers in medical treatments.
Scientists initially experimented with lasers in healthcare in the 1950s. In the decades that followed, scientists found that lasers may help patients accelerate wound healing, limit skin scarring, and deliver other health benefits.
In 1991, a Russian study was used to analyze the use of lasers during acupuncture to treat skin on different parts of the body, according to Acupuncture Today. The study revealed light from a laser can enter an acupuncture point and be detected by the body.
Researchers Explore the Effectiveness of Laser Acupuncture for Chronic Bell’s Palsy
Since the Russian study, additional research has shown that laser acupuncture may help people coping with hiccups, nausea, vomiting, and other health issues, Acupuncture Today notes. Furthermore, a Boston University (BU) study was used to assess the impact of laser acupuncture on a Bell’s palsy patient.
During the BU study, a Bell’s palsy patient was treated with red-beam laser acupuncture and silica hydride, a mineral supplement that promotes intracellular and extracellular hydration. One day after the treatment was administered, the patient’s Bell’s palsy symptoms had nearly disappeared, the study indicated.
The BU study researcher concluded that red-beam laser used for acupuncture affected the Bell’s palsy patient on a cellular level. This laser helped the patient increase their adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels; ATP provides energy to drive cellular processes. Also, the laser had an anti-inflammatory effect on the patient.
Along with the aforementioned study, researchers have investigated the use of laser acupuncture for chronic Bell’s palsy in combination with chiropractic manipulation. In one study, a 40-year-old Bell’s palsy patient received low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and chiropractic manipulation twice a day for four days. Following the initial treatment, the patient reported a 70% to 80% improvement of facial movement. After the second treatment, the patient regained full control of their facial muscles.
And, in a study published in February 2020, laser acupuncture was used to treat a 52-year-old Bell’s palsy patient. Over the course of 17 weeks, the patient received 30 laser acupuncture treatments. Following the 10th treatment, the patient started to regain the ability to open and close their left eye. At this time, the patient also reported improvement in their ability to chew, speak, and avoid drooling.
Which Is a Better Treatment Option: Medication or Laser Acupuncture for Facial Paralysis?
Deciding between medication or laser acupuncture for facial paralysis can be difficult. But, research indicates that laser acupuncture may provide facial paralysis patients with a viable alternative to medication.
According to Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMi), a study of 96 patients was used to evaluate laser acupuncture and medications to treat facial paralysis. In the study, 48 patients underwent laser acupuncture, and the remainder received medications.
The HealthCMi study indicated that laser acupuncture had positive effects on facial paralysis patients. It also revealed that laser acupuncture can sometimes be more effective than medications to treat facial paralysis symptoms.
Can Laser Acupuncture for Nerve Paralysis Deliver Long-Lasting Results?
Research has shown that LLLT can be used to increase the functional activity of an injured peripheral nerve. Also, laser treatment can provide positive therapeutic effects for patients coping with acute Bell’s palsy and other forms of facial paralysis. However, the long-lasting effects of laser acupuncture to help patients permanently alleviate facial paralysis remain unknown.
Research into the use of lasers to treat facial paralysis and Bell’s palsy is ongoing, and the initial results look promising. It could lead to the development of laser acupuncture treatments that help patients safely alleviate symptoms of facial paralysis and Bell’s palsy.
Ultimately, laser acupuncture may be safe and effective, but patients coping with Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis must evaluate all available therapy options before they undergo this treatment. If patients meet with Dr. Azizzadeh, they can find out if they qualify for various facial paralysis and Bell’s palsy therapy options. These patients can also learn about the pros and cons of different facial paralysis and Bell’s palsy treatments.
What Is the Best Treatment for Facial Paralysis and Bell’s Palsy?
Laser acupuncture may be considered to treat facial paralysis and Bell’s palsy. Yet, laser acupuncture is not the ideal therapy option for all facial paralysis and Bell’s palsy patients.
Each patient is different; for instance, the Bell’s palsy acupuncture points for one patient may differ from those for another. Meanwhile, how a facial paralysis patient responds to a certain treatment may vary based on their age, overall health, and other factors.
Before a patient undergoes laser acupuncture or any other Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis treatment, it helps to consult with Dr. Azizzadeh. This allows Dr. Azizzadeh to evaluate a patient and review the severity of their Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis symptoms. Then, Dr. Azizzadeh can provide his patient with a personalized treatment plan to address these symptoms.
Once Dr. Azizzadeh crafts a treatment plan, he and his patient can work together to achieve the best-possible results. Dr. Azizzadeh can perform a Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis treatment and track his patient’s results. He can also respond to any concerns and questions and ensure his patient is fully supported throughout treatment.
Schedule a Treatment Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh
For patients who have been dealing with Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis for eight months or longer, Dr. Azizzadeh is available to discuss treatment options. Dr. Azizzadeh can offer insights into laser acupuncture and other forms of treatment and help his patient determine the best course of action to achieve long-lasting symptomatic relief.
Dr. Azizzadeh offers in-person and virtual consultations to patients dealing with Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, please contact us online or call us today at (310) 657-2203.