Gabriela is a TV reporter and a journalist from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She had Facial palsy due to Ramsay Hunt syndrome (herpes zoster virus) on the left side of her face in December 2013. After it happened, Gabriela could no longer present the news in front of the camera and had to work “behind the scenes” for over two years.
Her story has inspired us and she was treated within the scope of our Humanitarian project “Bring back your Smile!”
Gabriela has successfully finished her rehabilitation at the end of 2016, after her four visits to the clinic. Shaken by her experience with facial palsy, she made a video about her recovery story. She shares her journey to give hope to others who are in a similar situation.
All the materials are posted with Gabriela’s permission.
Please turn on subtitles for translation.
How it all started
“Dear Dr Alex,
I would like to let you know how my life has been negatively affected by Bell’s palsy in the last two years.
Being a journalist in one of the most famous TV channels in Rio de Janeiro (TV Globo) I used to be live on TV almost every day doing what I love the most. I used to present the news and interview people in their daily lives. After Bell’s palsy, I could not be in front of the cameras any longer but had to work on editing behind them. I think you can understand how big a burden this has been in my professional career.
My mother used to say that I had a lovely childish smile, and she believed it could open many doors. I also remember feeling like a privileged person who had a pretty face. Maybe if I had broken my leg, I would remember how much I enjoyed dancing. But the fact is that I lost half of my facial expression, especially my smile. When I smile now it seems that people do not understand me, because of the asymmetry and I feel ashamed. I still do not recognize myself in pictures and even gained weight after all the medicine I’ve been taking along this period. I’m aware that I can not surrender to Bell’s palsy. I know that I’m still able to achieve many things in life, but if I could get better of this Bell’s palsy, I would have my courage renewed. I believe that God has a purpose in everything and my faith is being tested in this long journey. I do believe that I will be able to be fully recovered and have my smile back! As a journalist and as a Christian I would love to share my story.
Finally, I’m really impressed with all you have written, and I’m looking forward to making this treatment.
These are the videos of Gabriela before she had facial palsy.
Visit 1: Gabriela’s intake session and treatment
The video shows Gabriela’s first interview at Crystal Touch during her intake meeting. She is very motivated to work hard to recover from synkinesis, contractures and other complications after her facial palsy.
In the following pictures, you can see the neurological tests performed at the first visit to assess the condition of her muscles and the level of recovery. In addition to the images, her muscle condition was measured electronically using an electromyograph (EMG). Our specialists have also checked personally the level of muscle contractions and recovery.
Based on the analysis of her condition our specialists composed a rehabilitation program for Gabriela based on our NeuroProprioceptive Rehabilitation Method.
Gabriela’s description of the first visit to Crystal Touch clinic:
“Alex Pashov waited with a smile, seated in the clinic when the door was opened.
In Brazil, we used to have a TV program, and the presenter used to say: “Let’s open the door of hope”.
And it seemed just like this.
All the explanations I received made total sense. And it was very good to see the tests of my face. In Brazil is very impersonal – the exams are done by a technician and sent to your doctor neurologist, who does not show you anything.
Then Elena Pashova taught me about the relaxation points. It looks very simple, as it should be and sounds like the perfect answers to my problems. But this is just a beginning.
In the first treatment, I felt a kind of warmth inside my muscles. I’m glad the touches are on both sides. Finally, the treatment that is about my total face – about the balance between the sides – and not about just my affected side. I feel good about this because I could see myself in a total way again. I don’t know if we can call this part of treatment a massage, since it is very deep. Some points were painful, which I didn’t know. Some points were with a kind of bubbly feel.
I felt very good about my face after the treatment, just like a long time ago – all my muscles felt at balance on both sides, I felt it to become lighter and the contractures disappeared. I slept very well after the treatments. The next day I felt some parts of my face were swollen, right around the eyebrows. But even so, I felt good.
The second treatment was deeper, and I felt much better. My face was so light, and both sides were similar. The muscle next to the nose, cheeks returned to normal and were symmetrical. I also felt the difference around the eyes – the eye was more open. I was able to do the mental exercises, that Elena taught me (about the Crystal points, Crystal lines), more easily than on the first day. All my contractures in my neck, space between the neck, in my chest and back were dissolved. I felt more relaxed, I slept very well.
When I got back to Brazil, I felt my neck contracture again, because of the flight. It took two days to get the relaxation again with the exercises. In the first week I could feel two muscles contracting again in my face: procerus and levator superiors, I don’t know if I am correct, I’m talking about the space between the eyebrows, only on the affected side, and near the noise. I could use my fingers like Elena taught me, and dissolve the contractures.
I touch my face whenever I need, and do the exercises two or three times per day. Now I can see some contractures, not like before, but still there, especially in the two points I said.
I have more difficulty with the crystal points than crystal lines now. I try but it is difficult to relax the eyebrow.
I am glad to say, I feel different sensations in the affected side – like a kind of pressure, tinkles, small vibrations. And I know it is important to not expect the smile right away, and I know I have to look into the inside mirror, but sometimes I see my smile a little down still. On the other hand, sometimes I feel the smile free for open, not down, the corner goes up.
Dear Elena, I have tears in the eyes, both (hahaha), to think about all the treatment, all we could go, thank you for giving me this opportunity!”
“I could feel some different sensations in my cheeks in the last days. Just in the way of crystal line.
Now I can move some muscles in my head, near from my ear, but not in the face, I mean I can move some muscles behind my ear.
This is a new sensation too. Sometimes I think that I am having some improvements in my smile. My face is more harmonic and balanced.
Between my eyebrows, I still have some contracture. I know I have to think “open and up” on this point, but this point is more difficult for me than the corner of my mouth, I don’t know why.
I want to let you know I am happy with my goals, and I believe in this treatment and the possibility to get better and better.”
Gabriela shares her improvements since the first visit. She has been doing her rehabilitation program every day, 2-3 times per day. Gabriela says, she can already see some improvements. Some contractures went away and now Gabriela feels better about herself.
The video below shows Gabriela’s neurological tests during the 2nd visit.
01/06/2016 – Gabriela’s comment on the second meeting:
“I felt very tired in the days of the sessions and slept very well.
I felt my skin and muscles becoming more free and soft. Especially between the eyebrows, where there was a contracture. And my neck was completely relaxed. I didn`t lose this feeling until now.
This time I didn’t have different dreams yet. I only slept soundly.
I think my face has a more harmonic appearance and is more serene.
I am feeling better and better. I felt some different sensations in the corner of my mouth. I think I had improved in my smile in the last few days.
About my back – I was able to do the exercises for 17 minutes yesterday and I didn’t feel the pain anymore. My neck is still relaxed.
Thank you so much. I am so happy with the program and I believe in more improvements.”
“I can feel my face better day by day. Now is easier to relax the face. I can feel my smile more open and up. My face is more balanced and symmetrical. And this say my family and friends too.”
Gabriela has had her third visit to the clinic at the beginning of September. Smiling, changed and happy Gabriela entered the clinic to share great news on her recovery progress. Eight weeks have passed since her last visit, and she worked hard on her face in the meantime.
In the video, Gabriela explains her progress and her impressions of the recovery progress during her 3rd visit.
“The most important thing that I feel much more confident now. I can express myself in full. I can stand and see my face completely! You know what I mean. Because for a long, long time it was not so, for a while it was like I avoided the affected side. I was losing my touch with my face. This treatment – NeuroProprioceptive Rehabilitation – gave me back the perception necessary to express my feelings. Because the face is about feelings. I learn about this amazing thing – our body was made perfectly! What I have to do is stop looking at the mirror, and pay attention to the inside mirror, and feel it. I gradually feel muscles answering, the synkinesis decreased, I can control the involuntary movements, almost nothing bothers me. What remains, I know it will improve. My smile is more open again. Before the Crystal Touch clinic, I tried hard for two years. I had first results after 5 months. And until last year – little progress. Until I stopped feeling improvements. And the truth is, I started to avoid the affected side. When I forced it, seen more getting worse. I was losing touch with my face. With the method of the clinic, I could reconnect my face and my feelings. It means to speak again as before, to have conversation naturally, to smile, to laugh and laugh! Of course, the self-esteem improved. I think with everything I learn it will get better and better. I will keep doing my exercises. They are now a habit. Now this connection will get better and better, because I keep using my face. No need more to avoid. I feel like I can more – I can work on TV again, if I want, although I like also work in edition. But I can do whatever I want! And this is about the treatments, and it is about the grace of God too.”
Gabriela has joined Crystal Touch clinic in March 2016. After nearly a year of hard work, Gabriela has achieved great results. No miracle – only persistence, patience and guidance. Gabriela’s smile is back!
I had Ramsay Hunt syndrome in 2013. My left side of the face remained paralyzed and I had no movements for 6 months. Later I developed involuntary movements in my face, synkinesis. Like for example, when I wanted to smile, my mouth corner would go down instead of up, and my eye would close. When I tried to speak, my eye was closing all the time and when I was eating, the food and drink would escape from my mouth. I came to Crystal Touch clinic for the first time in April 2016 and till now I did five sessions. Now I am back to my work, I am back to do my job in front of the camera. My profession is a TV reporter, and because of facial paralysis I had to stay for three years behind the cameras. Now I came to Rotterdam to make a report about these treatments. Because these treatments gave me back my smile, my life, my confidence, my work. I know that I can do everything I want now, because I have full control of myself, I have my self-esteem back and I am very happy!
Below are the pictures of Before (1) and After (2). The differences between these pictures are 9 months of efforts, changes in self-esteem and happiness, return of dream career and most of all – the return of sincere and blissful smile!
Gabriela wishes to share her great results with others who have a similar problem and are looking for the hope to return their lost smiles.
Together with Gabriela we have passed not an easy, but amazing path on the way to the recovery of her smile! Gabriela is a journalist. I remember very clearly her words: “I used to be live on TV almost every day doing what I love the most. I used to present the news and interview people in their daily lives.”
After facial palsy, she could no longer work in front of the cameras and had to work behind, editing the shows. The great wish to bring back the smile and to continue doing what she loves brought her to our clinic.
Openness to new knowledge, diligence, patience and belief in success has yet again proved that the road appears only under stepping feet and that there is nothing impossible. If the patient wants it, he or she will definitely bring it back. Just like Gabriela did! And our clinic will gladly help on the way.
I am proud of Gabriela’s results! And I am immensely happy that she is now back in front of the cameras and gifts her smile to the people.
-Elena Pashova, founder of Crystal Touch Bell’s palsy clinic