In a randomised controlled trial undertaken in China, acupuncture for Bell’s palsy with stronger stimulation was found to be more effective in helping facial muscle recovery, disability and quality of life.
A total of 338 patients (aged 18 to 65 years) presenting with facial nerve weakness on one side, of less than seven days duration and without an identifiable cause, were randomly allocated to receive either acupuncture with deqi (stimulation of the needle after insertion in order to produce a localised dull or heavy sensation), or acupuncture with no needle stimulation. Both groups were given twenty 30 minute acupuncture treatments over four weeks. All patients also received the steroid prednisone as a basic treatment. At follow-up after six months, nerve function, disability and quality of life were all significantly better in the deqi group compared with the no stimulation group.
(Effectiveness of Strengthened Stimulation during Acupuncture for the Treatment of Bell Palsy: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 2 April 2013.)