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Acupuncture to Treat Bell Palsy: The Stronger, the Better


Intense acupuncture stimulation in patients with Bell Palsy resulted in greater improvement in facial function than less intense needle manipulation.

Patients with Bell palsy who received acupuncture treatment that achieved a state of de qi, or intense stimulation, experienced a four times greater improvement in facial function (OR=4.16; 95% CI, 2.23-7.78) than patients who underwent less intense acupuncture. Results of the prospective multicentre randomized controlled trial were published February 25 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.De qi is a combination of sensations stimulated by manipulation of acupuncture needles-soreness, tingling, coolness, warmth and others radiating at the insertion points-but has not been validated by randomized controlled trials. Intensity of each sensation was reported by patients using a visual analog scale.

Achieving de qi also resulted in significant improvements in disability assessment (differences of least squares means 9.80; 95% CI, 6.29-13.30) and quality of life (differences of least squares means 29.86; 95% CI, 22.33–37.38).

Find the full text of the study here.

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