Jolie Says Acupuncture Helped Her Treat Bell’s Palsy. What Is It?

Angelina Jolie says she recovered from Bell’s Palsy using acupuncture. We explain what it is. 

3 min read
Hindi Female

Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie’s latest Vanity Fair interview laid bare the damage her divorce from another Hollywood powerhouse Brad Pitt did to her health.

“Sometimes women in families put themselves last,” she says, “until it manifests itself in their own health.” She told the magazine that she suffered from Bell’s Palsy, a temporary partial paralysis of the face, and that acupuncture helped her recover fully.

So What Is Bell’s Palsy?

According to WebMD, Bell’s Palsy is a condition in which the muscles on your face become weak or paralysed. It affects only one side of the face at a time, causing it to droop or become stiff on that side.

It’s caused by trauma to the seventh cranial nerve, also called the “facial nerve” and is more common in those who have diabetes or are recovering from viral infections.

It’s often confused for a stroke, but it’s nowhere as dangerous and more importantly it’s temporary.


What Are Its Symptoms?

Besides the drooping of the face muscles, blinking, smiling, the raising of eyebrows, flaring of nostrils and even your taste sensation can be affected since the same nerve (seventh cranial nerve) is responsible for those functions.

Hypersensitivity to sound, ringing in the ears, headaches, dizziness and impaired speech can also be signs of Bell's Palsy.


What Causes Bell’s Palsy?

Angelina Jolie says after the divorce she also suffered from hypertension. Stress is linked to Bell’s Palsy, and so is diabetes, Lyme disease and autoimmune disorders, ear infections, tumors and trauma to the head or face.

Some studies say viral infections may also play a role in the development of Bell’s Palsy.


How Do You Treat Bell’s Palsy?

According to WebMD, mild cases of Bell's Palsy go away on their own in two weeks. Pain relievers and steroids are recommended for some patients.

Eye drops are prescribed by doctors to reduce swelling, watering.

Most patients recover fully within three to six months, though some may never rid themselves of it or may suffer a recurrence.


Does Acupuncture help?

Angelina Jolie says she recovered completely with the help of acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine, in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body, often by inserting thin needles through the skin.

We spoke with Dr Rajeev Bhasin, an acupuncture specialist in the capital. He explains,

Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine that goes back over 4,500 years and precedes most other forms of medicine. It is based on the concept of Yin and Yang, two interrelated forces which when in balance bring harmony and health. And when out of balance indicates illness
Dr Rajeev Bhasin

He says when it comes to the treatment of Bell’s Palsy,

If a patient visits the acupuncture therapist on the first day they show symptoms, with or without synergy with allopathy, you can treat it 100 per cent. But most patients come to you quite late after trying all other possibilities. Even then the success rate is 3 out of 4
Dr Rajeev Bhasin

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Topics:  Angelina Jolie   Brad Pitt   Acupuncture 

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