I recently awoke to find that I’d developed Bell’s Palsy.
For anyone who has had it, you know how scary it can be. Luckily for me, I’m aware of the condition and diagnosed myself rather quickly. I couldn’t close my eye, lift my lips to smile or feel the left side of my tongue. A virus causes the trigeminal nerve to stop working, basically, causing facial paralysis and the face to drop.
Scary, but not life threatening!
Day One wasn’t fun...
You don’t know how much you use your facial muscles until they no longer work. Eating, drinking, pouting (no selfies for me for a while...) were all extremely difficult. My words were slurred, ironically the hardest thing to say was “Bell’s Palsy.” I couldn’t blink, causing my eye to dry up making it difficult to see. As a beauty therapist, this can be quite problematic when doing the more intense treatments. I went straight to the doctor, who told me I needed 50mg of steroids a day for 10 days, anti-inflammatories, and that I needed to tape my eye down every night after putting drops in it. I went online to see what else I could do. Take turmeric, vitamin B12, heat up castor oil and slather it on the affected side before going to bed at night. No alcohol or sugar (or fun!). I followed everything to the letter, with hope that I could get rid of my wonky face. The other thing with Bell’s Palsy; It can last 4 weeks or even a year in some cases. The doctor said if mine didn’t clear up within 3 I’d have to get in touch with a plastic surgeon for “facial reconstruction” which obviously wasn’t something I was thrilled to hear. Reflexology was the obvious choice to spur on my body’s natural healing process, and I am lucky enough to live very close to my former tutors Wendy & Martyn Finke who agreed that that it could make a lot of difference to my recovery.
My first treatment happened on Day 2 after being diagnosed.
Wendy said the sooner the better – she had treated this before with fantastic results. By this point I was getting used to my face, and had taken to wearing a pirate-like eye patch during the day to help my good eye to see and focus. I hadn’t felt anything on my left side for 4 days. However, that was about to change. Between the ouch and the oohs of my sensitive toes, I thought I felt a twitch in my eye. And another, and another. Suddenly the side of my face that had been completely numb had muscle movement!! Completely involuntary but movement all the same. Post-treatment, the left side of my head felt... busy. It’s the only way I can describe it. Like lots of things were shifting and moving and juggling around. This, I thought, can only be a good thing.
I had 3 reflexology treatments a week from both Wendy (with one from Martyn). They were all different, and they were all rather painful (don’t get me wrong – a "this-is-doing-something-good-for-me" kind of pain!). The day after each treatment, however, I didn’t need to wear my eye patch. My eye felt better for at least 24 hours afterward. I had twitching during my treatments and all of the next day, sometimes to the point where I would have to go and look at it in the mirror my face was going so crazy.
Something was happening! It’s working!
I tried not to get my hopes up too much. I was warned that this can be a long process, even with the help of reflexology. After a week, I didn’t look as dropped. I still had no control, but my eyebrow wasn’t down by my nostril. A few days after that, I could (half) smile again. Next, my patch came off and my eye closed when I told it to (very slowly, but closed all the same). I’m now 2 weeks and 3 days in and I’m not taping my eye shut, I can make my make-up look even and have most of my smile back. This is an incredibly fast recovery; most full recoveries take at least 3-6 months. I do not doubt for a second that it’s reflexology and my wonderfully knowledgeable and experienced reflexologists Wendy and Martyn I must thank for my abnormally quick recovery.
I am again reassured and amazed of the power of this wonderful treatment and I am positive it has speeded up my return to feeling normal again! Thank you for reading x
Here’s what her Reflexologist Wendy Finke had to say about the process:
“Having had success with client’s Bells Palsy before, I knew how reflexology worked with this condition and especially powerful if it could be as soon as the symptoms showed. Livi’s face was so drooping on the left side with her eye open and no muscle movement at all. She had been prescribed steroids so I treated her on the second day.
We worked every other day to start and within 4 treatments Livi’s face gradually lost the droop and her eye began to close slightly. What was interesting was the eye and facial muscles started twitching when I worked them and Livi could feel “such a lot going on.”
Within 2 weeks Livi’s face was looking normal again although it has took another 2 weeks for the eye to close normally”.