Bell's Palsy can be not only devastating with the physical symptoms, but also psychologically, especially where it occurs in the face.   It's hard to remember,  when one can not close an eye or stop slobbering due to inability to close the mouth,  that it is truly a virus and for most people it's all about time.  Time to run it's course and the virus disappears or goes latent.  An FES unit can help.....

         My Mom once had Bell's Palsy in her face and she was so embarassed to go out into public, much less go to work, that she was confined to her home,  not so much by the physicality of the virus,  but more so by her emotional burdens of being concerned how she looked.  As with almost every virus we know it must run it's course and often we do not know how long that time period will be.   For my Mom I assured her it was simply a virus and the normal progression of events was she would later regain voluntary control and this whole episode would be over and done with but my words were not that reassuring.

        In order to reinforce my words I showed her how to use a muscle stimulator ( NMES - FES) and she could actually see the results of her own muscles regaining control to close her eye as well as close her mouth.  The muscle stimulator activated those motor nerves which then allowed her control over the virus.  I reinforced the results by letting her know the condition was only temporary and when she saw the muscles were indeed intact she felt much better.   She used the stimulator for about 2-3 weeks before the virus had run it's course.   If the NMES did not shorten the duration it for sure picked my Mom's spirits up and she was able to return to work even when the virus was still active.

       At this point in time I'm not aware of any long term studies ever being done to verify whether active volitional use of a muscle stimulator will lessen the time the Bell's Palsy virus is active.  I wish there had been such a study as it may show the use of NMES can shorten the life and thus less time for a patient to endure the hardships of Bell's Palsy.