Facial palsy is a condition which exhibits slanting of the lips and the inability to blink. In Korean medicine, it is called "crooked eye and mouth disease," or "twisting stroke." The ala nasi of the affected nose slides downward when trying to pronounce "eeee" with markedly smaller nostrils. The end of lips hang down and twists to the other side. When a patient looks upward the wrinkle of the forehead disappears. In case of old people, weakness of the facial muscles can also cause sagging of the eyelids and eyebrows.

Facial palsy can accompany a series of symptoms or any one of the following phenomena. It may be presented along with post-auricular pain, which is a dull pain of the mastoid area, that starts to ache a day or two beforehand to facial palsy and occasionally continue on throughout the couse of the disease. When the eyelids are paralysed the eyes are open to many stimuli that cause stinging and excess tearing. Impaired movement of the muscles that control the lacrimal gland can sometimes cause the eyes to be dry too. Occasionally, the damaged facial nerve cannot taste on the affected side. One's hearing can both be sharpened or blunted with a sense of deafness. Many patients complain dizziness, but this symptom can be brought on by weakness also. In few cases facial palsy happens to those with problems of the brain.

Facial palsy is divided into two types according to its root cause: peripheral or central. The peripheral type constitutes the majority of facial palsy. It is a problem of the facial nerve that originates from the brain, and affects only the facial muscles and does not render any symptom of the extremities or language. Central facial palsy is a result of stroke, either cerebral infarction or hemorrhage. In case of central facial palsy, the patient can wrinkle the forehead, unlike peripheral facial palsy.


The cause of facial palsy is still unknown. Facial palsy of unknown etiology is called Bell's palsy. Other factors include inflammation by the viral infiltration, trauma of the skull, tumor, and complecation of otitis. In Korean medicine, External and Internal Damage cause facial palsy, often by exposure to a cold wind. That is why it is called "twisting stroke." In Korean medicine, any abrubt onset of a disease, such as stroke, is thought to be caused by Wind, one of the six outer influences to our body. Therefore the key to treating this illness is to rest the body and mind and avoid sudden change of temperature or any external setting.

The sooner the recovery of facial palsy the better the prognosis. If the palsy is prolonged some sequelae may remain, such as hemifacial spasm, facial muscle contracture, and associated movement, e.g. mandibulopalpebral synkinesis.

The various tests a patient takes include DITI (digital infrared thermographic imaging), biofunctional tests, electromyocardiogram, and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MRI lets us know whether the facial palsy is caused by a central problem or a peripheral one. Sometimes a tumor in the brain can also apply pressure to the facial nerve and cause facial palsy. Electromyocardiography enables us to estimate the amount of damage that has been inflicted on the nerve and allows us to estimate the prognosis of the symptom. Biofunctional tests and DITI are generally used to aid assessment of the differential diagnosis in Korean medicine.

Ways of treating this illness in Korean medicine are various. Acupuncture is the most generally used means of treatment, and is thought to be the most effective. Moxibustion can also greatly help in facial palsy patients, especially by communicating the Ki and Blood of the meridians, thereby strengthening the natural healing power. Herbal medication is prescribed according to the particular differential diagnosis of the patient. In most cases, facial palsy is caused by problem in the flow of Ki, and medication is focused on improving that flow. TDP or infrared

Self-exercise techniques for patients with facial palsy

1. Close and purse your lips, Push them forward to form a pointed shape.

2. Repeat opening and closing your pointed lips.

3. Suck in your cheeks.

4. Pull your mouth diagonally towards the ear on the paralyzed side of your face.

5. Pull down your upper lips onto the lower lips.

6. Pull up your lower lips onto the upper lips.

7. Open your lips wide showing as much teeth as possible.

8. Fill up your cheeks with air.

9. Push the filled in side of your cheek to the left.

10. Push the filled in side of your cheek to the right. (Repeat steps 9 and 10 several times)

11. Whistle and practice pronouncing the sounds 'a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u'.

12. Open your mouth as much as possible to form a large ‘O' and then purse them to make a smaller 'o'.

13. Wrinkle up your nose as much as possible.

14. Pull your nose upwards and close your eyes at the same time.

15. Open and close your eyes repeatedly.

16. Open your eyes as wide as possible.

17. Push your forehead up as high as possible.

18. Push your forehead upwards to the right side.

19. Push your forehead upwards to the left side.

20. Practice enlarging your nostrils.

21. Practice moving your ears.

22. Practice blowing balloons.

23. Practice sucking on a straw.