Electroacupuncture: An introduction and its use for peripheral facial paralysis

Acupuncture and electrotherapy interface in the practice of electroacupuncture (EA). This article introduces some of the basic concepts and terminology of EA, its advantages and electrical parameters. The aetiology and incidence of peripheral facial paralysis (PFP), its pathology and prognosis are then covered. Conventional treatment of PFP is briefly mentioned, followed by a more detailed discussion of Western electrotherapy for the condition and the evidence for its clinical use. Background information on manual acupuncture (MA) and PFP is given. The literature on EA is reviewed, and EA treatment is then described according to the stage and severity of paralysis. Comparisons between EA and other modalities and combinations with ancillary methods are outlined, and the acupoints and electrical parameters used are analysed in some detail. A final discussion summarises some suggestions for safe and effective treatment.

This article is based on the chapter on peripheral motor disorders in the author’s recently published textbook on electroacupuncture,1 together with material from the clinical studies database at wwww.electroacupunctureknowledge.com and an internet trawl of recent research.

Note: This article is abridged due to space constraints. The full article at www.jcm.co.uk/JCM Journal/Latest Issue includes a comprehensive table of facial muscles, nerves and corresponding acupuncture points and full references.

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