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Acupuncture Treatment for Facial Pain and Paralysis

Acupuncture Treatment for Facial Pain and Paralysis

Acupuncture Treatment for Facial Pain and Paralysis

By Michelle Gellis LAcMAcDiplAc

This article addresses acupuncture treatment for facial pain and paralysis which are common conditions which can be difficult to treat with western medicine.  As a practitioner and instructor of facial acupuncture I frequently get calls from individuals seeking help for various medical conditions affecting the face. Although conditions such as Bells Palsy, Stroke, TMJ, Trigeminal Neuralgia, and Ptosis are vastly different, they all affect the facial muscles, nerves, functionality and appearance of the face. Fortunately, there are many acupuncture techniques, which are extremely effective in bringing movement and normal sensory function to the face.

Facial and scalp acupuncture, facial cupping and motor points are uniquely suited to address facial pain and neuropathy. The same Acupuncture points which can be used to raise a saggy jowl or a furrowed brow can be used to treat a drooping eyelid such as with ptosis or bells palsy. The same scalp points which can help with nerve pain or motor issues can help with facial pain from trigeminal neuralgia or shingles on the face. Facial cupping, (when done with special facial cups and by a practitioner trained in facial cupping) brings blood and energy to the muscles of the face and has the potential to relieve TMJ and invigorate conditions affected by paralysis or weakness such as MS, brain injury, or stroke. http://facialacupunctureclasses.com/facial-cupping/. Lastly, intramuscular needling techniques (which are invaluable in acupuncture facial rejuvenation for relaxing taught muscles which cause deep wrinkles) can be used to relax an atrophied facial muscle as may happen with myasthenia gravis or stroke.

In Chinese medicine, not all individuals exhibiting particular symptoms of a disease will have the same treatment. Treatment is based on a thorough diagnosis of the patient’s medical history, diet, lifestyle and other factors. Once a diagnosis has been made by a licensed acupuncturist specially trained facial acupuncture, the facial concerns as well as the underlying condition, which may have caused them, are treated. I have been working with patients with these types of conditions for over a decade, and the results I have seen have been very positive. The benefit of acupuncture is that there are no side effects, downtime, or invasive procedures. Typically results can be seen after 6-8 treatments and many insurance companies cover the cost of acupuncture treatment (you would need to contact your provider for eligibility). Acupuncture needles are the diameter of a human hair and the treatment is virtually painless. Most of my patients fall into a deeply relaxed state during treatment and receive benefits reaching beyond their physical symptoms. For more information on treatments for Facial pain, paralysis and neuropathy.  Contact Michelle Gellis http://facialacupunctureclasses.com

Testimonials:

“When I contracted Bell’s palsy, I went to my doctor and was put on a 6 day regimen of cortisone to help to reduce the inflammation of the cranial nerve.

It was not until a week later, after I contacted Michelle Gellis, my acupuncturist, and had a treatment, that I experienced any improvement in my condition. The improvement was dramatic in lessening of the facial paralysis. Within a 3-week period, my facial paralysis was improved to a point, that people could not tell that I had been suffering with the condition. Originally, being told that my condition could last somewhere between 6 weeks, on the mild side, and 6 months, I was thrilled, when the regimen of treatments that Michelle performed, had helped my condition so dramatically”. -Linda B. D.

“I contacted Michelle for my ptosis condition (one eyelid sat lower than the other) because my wedding was approaching, I was desperate and even considering surgery, but after just a few sessions my eyelids were even. I was so grateful my eyelids were even for my special day-and so thankful that I did not have to go the invasive route, along with its expense and recovery time. Michelle is very skilled with her needles and definitely master of her craft.”-Steph J

Since I’ve started the treatments with Michelle for my TMJ and related migraines, I have felt great improvement. I actually have not had one migraine since I started and the overall pain in my jaw has decreased significantly. I have not been able to even chew anything on the right side of my mouth for the past few years and I am now starting to retrain myself to chew on both sides. The Improvement has been amazing, much better than I had hoped for. -Jackie M

 

 

 

Unsafe Practice of Acupuncture Under the Term Dry Needling

unsafe dry needling
Pneumothorax as a result of dry needling

10 Facts You Should Know About the Unsafe Practice of  Dry Needling

By: Michelle Gellis LAc MAc DiplAc

Over the past few months some of my patients have shared with me that they have been offered Dry Needling by their chiropractor or physical therapist and wanted to know what I thought about it. Here are some facts that you need to know:

  1. “Dry Needling” is Acupuncture. Inserting an acupuncture needle into the body, under any pretense, for any purpose, is the practice of acupuncture. Physical therapists, chiropractors and other allied health professionals use this term to circumvent state laws governing acupuncture practice.
  2. Tender or painful points, also referred to as “trigger points” or “motor points,” are Acupuncture points. In Chinese medicine these are known as “ashi” points. Those practicing “dry needing” will claim they are not treating acupuncture points, when in fact they are.
  3. “Dry needling” is an invasive, acupunc­ture needle intervention. “Dry needling” is not “manual therapy”.  Manual therapy is a noninvasive, hands-on intervention.
  4. “Dry needling” is not a “technique”; It is Acupuncture. The act of inserting an acupuncture needle into the body, under any pretense, or for any purpose whatsoever is the practice of acupuncture.
  5. Physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice Acupuncture cannot legally purchase acupuncture needles. According to the Food and Drug Administration, (FDA), anyone who is not licensed by law to practice acupuncture cannot legally buy acupuncture needles. As class II medical devices mandating FDA prescription labeling on the packages, all acupuncture needle boxes state: “Cau­tion: Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of qualified practitioners of acupuncture as determined by the states.”
  6. Physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice acupuncture are using acupuncture needles to perform “dry needling’. Physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice acupuncture would have you believe that they are not using acupuncture needles to perform “dry needling,” when they are, in fact, using acupuncture needles, which are clearly labeled as such on the package.
  7. Physical therapists and other allied health professionals who are not licensed by law to practice acupuncture are not qualified to perform “dry needling.” 16 states have outlawed the practice of “dry needling” entirely. “Dry needling” is far outside both physical therapists’ and other allied health professionals’ scope of practice and their scope of education and training. In order to become a licensed acupuncturist you must complete between 660-870 hours of hands on, supervised training in the use of needles, 1245-1755 hours of training in diagnosis, safety, biomedicine, anatomy, theory and other topics, and a minimum of 250-350 supervised patient treatments prior to graduation and licensure. Yet physical therapists and other allied health professionals are inserting acupuncture needles (up to four inches or more in length) into patients with as little as a weekend workshop in acupuncture.
  8. Patients are not safe when under-educated professionals perform “dry needling”. There are real risks associated with the use of acupuncture needles by physical therapists and other allied health professionals who lack the education and supervised clinical training of licensed acupuncturists. These real risks include, but are not limited to: blood vessel, nerve and organ injury from inappropriate acupuncture needle angle and depth of insertion or from inappropriate acupuncture needle manipulation, infection and cross infection from non-sterile re-insertion of acupuncture needles, poor hygiene in acupuncture needle handling, and inadequate skin preparation.
  9. There are documented cases of injury from the use of acupuncture needles by allied health professionals who lack the education and supervised clinical training and examinations of licensed acupunc­turists. In one such case, Emily Kuykendall, a high school teacher from Maryland, had suffered nerve damage from the use of acupuncture needles by a physical therapist. In another such case, Kim Ribble-Orr, a former Olympic athlete from Canada, had suffered a punctured lung and a pneumothorax (the presence of air in the cavity between the lungs and the chest wall, causing collapse of the lung) from the use of acupuncture needles by a massage therapist.
  10. Needling is a subtle skill that takes years to master. In Acupuncture School, we spend almost two years learning point location, and proper needle technique before we ever insert a needle into a patient. An acupuncture needle is a delicate instrument. Properly trained, an acupuncturist can tell when the tip of the needle is approaching structures such as nerves, blood vessels and the membrane surrounding bones or internal organs. The nature of the dry needling courses makes the ability to discern these subtle distinctions impossible. As a faculty member at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, one of the exercises I use to teach my students the subtly of inserting a needle is to have them insert a needle into an inflated balloon without popping it. Most students are surprised at how difficult it is.  Like many things, acupuncture looks easy when performed by an expert, but in reality, it takes many years to master.

You certainly would not see your Acupuncturist for physical therapy or chiropractic after a couple of weekend courses; why would you go to your PT or chiropractor for Acupuncture (no matter what they may call it) after just a few hours of training?

*Information on this page is used with consent from the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Society of Massachusetts for more details go to their website: www.aomsm.org.

Texters Neck…a real pain in the head.

Texters neck…a real pain in the head.

By Michelle Gellis LAc Mac

During my years in practice as an acupuncturist I have noticed a sharp increase in neck issues with my patients. This problem affects individuals of all ages, the youngest I have seen in my practice was less than two years old. When I first began in practice I noticed the correlation between sore necks/upper backs and headaches. Releasing these tense muscles through acupuncture, cupping, and gua sha, brings tremendous relief for headaches and migraines, yet I couldn’t help but wonder why is there such a sharp increase over the years, especially in my younger patients.

The answer came to me one day as I walked through the San Diego airport. As I scanned the seats, the restaurants, and the walkways, I observed everyone was looking down: Teens and adults on their phones, toddlers on iPads. I could not look in any direction without seeing people starring straight down.

The damaging effects of holding your head in a downward position are well documented. When you tilt your head forward it puts strain on the muscles which hold the head up and also the shoulders and sides of the neck which can involve the trapezius, SCM, rhomboid, levator scapula, and several other muscles. Strain on these muscles tends to result in headaches on the sides of the head and temples. Strain in the back of the neck, the suborbital region, involve the suboccipital and Splenius Capitus muscles will result in headaches referred to the top of the head. Additionally, when held in a downward position for too long, the cervical vertebrae compress the cervical discs, which can cause the discs to bulge or rupture causing nerve pain down the arm and into the hand.

Regular acupuncture treatment has proven effective to relax tight muscles and create overall relaxation and well being.  I also encourage my patients to hold their devices at eye level whenever possible, takes breaks and do stretching of the neck and upper back muscles several times a day. File Jun 07, 9 37 54 PM