Plum Blossom Needling and Cupping for Facial Palsy/Bell's Palsy Superior to Laser Irradiation

By Chad Dupuis
Tagged in Acupuncture and Research

Bell's palsy is a commonly treated condition with acupuncture/Chinese Medicine as most western treatment options do not lead to very consistent results.  As it is generally accepted that acupuncture helps clinically with bell's palsy, researchers now are looking at ways to get the best most efficient results.  Within this study, researchers from the People's Hospital of Beijing University, compared laser irraditation with plum blossom needling with cupping.

Plum blossom needling is a small hammer type device with a number of tiny needles on the end.  It is lightly tapped over areas to induce bleeding which clears heat and stagnation locally from a Chinese Medicine perspective.  Cupping (see What is Cupping?) is quite similar although it generally clears more tension and stagnation than heat per se.  The two together are often used to clear heat, wind, and move energy in an area.  Skin conditions, pain, cold and flus and other conditions are commonly treated with these methods.

Researchers here recruited 60 patients with bell's palsy and divided them into a laser-irradiation (control) group and a plum-blossom/cupping (treatment) group. Treatment involved plum blossom tapping with cupping at TH 17 and GB 12 - with treatment being given daily until pain resolved.  Following pain resolution, regular acupuncture was used at TH 17, GB 12, ST 4 and other commonly used acupuncture points for bell's palsy once daily for 20 days.  Measurements regarding pain, EMG activity, movement/nerve function, etc. were taken. 

Researchers found that the acute pain segment was cleared faster and more reliably with the plum blossom/cupping methods.  3 months after treatment the treatment group had much lower incidences of relapse and/or continuing issues.  Researchers concluded that plum blossom needling plus cupping is superior in every regard to He-Ne laser irradiation.

Plum Blossom Needling and Cupping for Facial Palsy/Bell's Palsy Superior to Laser Irradiation

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Authored by: Chad Dupuis on 4 March 2012

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