Acupuncture Combined with TDP Lamp Irradiation in the Treatment of Peripheral Facial Nerve Paralysis
Keywords: Chinese medicine, acupuncture, TDP lamp, peripheral facial nerve paralysis
Isolated facial paralysis may occur in patients with HIV seropositivity, sarcoidosis, or Lyme disease. However, it is most often idiopathic. Idiopathic facial paralysis is also called Bell’s palsy. Bell’s palsy is believed to be due to an inflammatory reaction (in turn possibly due to reactivation of herpes simplex virus) involving the facial nerve near the stylomastoid foramen or in the bony facial canal. It is characterized by abrupt unilateral facial paresis, pain, restriction of eye closure, and difficulty eating and with fine facial movements. A disturbance of taste is common as is hyperacusis. the good news is that approximately 60% of cases recover completely without treatment. Considerable improvement occurs in all but 10% of the total number of person affected, leaving those few with permanent disfigurement or other long-term sequelae. the only treatment Western medicine has to offer for this condition is corticosteroids and acyclovir. However, such treatment is controversial. A poor prognosis for complete recovery is associated with advanced age, hyperacusis, and severe initial pain as well as complete as opposed to complete palsy on initial presentation. In China, Bell’s palsy is a commonly seen disorder in acupuncture-moxibustion clinics. In issue #1, 2003 of Gan Su Zhong Yi (Gansu Chinese Medicine), Wang She-wen and Dong Qiu-guan published an article titled, “A Short Discussion of the Treatment of 30 Cases of Peripheral Facial Nerve Paralysis with Acupuncture Combined with TDP [Lamp].” This article appeared on page 31 of that journal. Since modern Western medicine has little to offer sufferers of this condition, a precis of that article is given below.
Twenty-one of the 30 patients included in this study were male and nine were female. The youngest was 17 and the oldest was 64 years old. These patients had been ill for 3-15 days. All these patients were seen as out-patients at the authors’ hospital in Lanzhou, Gansu, and all had been diagnosed as suffering from peripheral facial nerve paralysis.
Based on the principle of choosing points along the course of the affected channels, Yang Bai (GB 14) was needled through to Yu Yao (M-HN-6), He Liao (TB 22) was needled through to Qian Zheng (N-HN-20), Tong Zi Liao (GB 1) was needled through to Quan Liao (SI 18), and Di Cang (St 4) was needled through to Jia Che (St 6). In addition, He Gu (LI 4), Ying Xiang (LI 20), and Yi Feng (TB 17) were needled. The needles were retained for 20-30 minutes each time and were stimulated once every 10 minutes. These needles were also warmed by a TDP lamp. This warming was stopped five minutes before the needles were to be withdrawn in order to prevent bleeding. Ten treatments equaled one course of therapy. If the condition’s duration was less than one week, draining technique was used, while if it had lasted two months or more, supplementing technique was employed. Otherwise, even supplementing-even draining technique was used. It was considered essential to needle He Gu each and every treatment and invariably on the healthy side.
Cure was defined as disappearance of wry mouth and eyes with complete return to normal of the affected area. Marked effect was defined as decrease in wry mouth and eyes and improvement in the affected area. No effect meant that there was no change for the better from before to after treatment. Based on these criteria, 24 out of 30 cases in this study were judged cured, four got a marked effect, and two improved. Therefore, the total effectiveness rate was 100%.
In Chinese medicine, Bell’s palsy is believed to be due to external contraction of wind cold evils which attack and enter the sinews and vessels in the facial region. Due to the righteous qi being insufficient and the vessels and network vessels being empty and vacuous, the channel qi becomes obstructed and stagnant and the sinews and vessels lose their moistening and nourishment. Hence there is edema, pressure pain, and disturbances in the circulation of blood. TDP lamps are a type of heat lamp which are popular with acupuncturists both in China and the West. TDP lamps are a new type of mineral infrared device invented in China in 1980 by a group of scientists and physicians, headed by Dr. Gou Wen-bin at the Chinese Medicine Institute in Chongqing (Chungking). Unlike conventional infrared therapeutic devices, the TDP lamp features a plate coated with a proprietary mineral formation consisting of 43 elements. When heated by an electric heating element, this mineral plate is believed to emit a special band of electromagnetic waves in the infrared range of 2_50 microns. These waves supposedly simulate the bio_spectrum waves released by the human body itself. In Chinese medicine, TDP lamps are considered a type of dian jiu or electric “moxibustion.” Because they produce no heat and do not involve an open flame, many acupuncturists and their patients prefer these lamps over more traditional Herba Artemisiae Argyii (Ai Ye) moxibustion. According to the Chinese authors, these lamps improve the local circulation of blood, disperse and eliminate water swelling, dispel wind and scatter evils, quicken and nourish the blood and free the flow of the network vessels. When combined with acupuncture, this technique might be considered a type of wen zhen or “warm needle” treatment. It is one of the innovative developments within contemporary Chinese acupuncture-moxibustion where new technologies are used according to traditional theory.
Copyright © Blue Poppy Press, 2003. All rights reserved.