Using a mirror during facial palsy
When facial palsy hits and your recovery takes a longer time, the first facial movement can take some time to return. When you finally start feeling some first sensations – some tickling, vibrations – it is very tempting to use the mirror every day. For facial palsy sufferers, especially when you are not sure what to expect from the future, seeing your face’s reflection in a mirror can be a very emotional process.
That is why we are often asked is it good to use a mirror for facial palsy recovery?
Two reasons to avoid mirrors during facial palsy recovery
In our Neuro-Proprioceptive Rehabilitation method, we do not use mirrors. There are several reasons for that.
First, is that when the patient after facial palsy looks in the mirror usually, he or she does not like what she sees. She sees the asymmetry of the face and certain movements, unwanted movements. So, looking at your reflection in the mirror does not create many positive emotions. As we know from the previous post, negative emotions suppress our body’s natural regenerative potential, so the recovery can take longer.
And secondly, if you observe your movements in the mirror you can only see the actual movements when your face starts moving. But if your muscles contract and contradict each other, without a visible movement, so your face does not move, you cannot see it. This means that you are using your muscles, but you do not see the result. In this case, a mirror is not the best aid to work on synkinesis. Since synkinesis is a habit, as our scientific studies explain, the more you engage your muscles in these contradicting movements, the more time it will take you to “unlearn” this habit.
Replace your mirror on the wall with an “internal mirror”
What we normally teach our patients to do is to use your “internal mirror” and to listen to your face. When you are not looking in the mirror you are not using your visual sensory channel. Instead, you are using your sensitivity. You are listening, actually, to what your face is doing, to what your muscles are doing: when they are contracting, when they are relaxing, this muscle or that muscle, that part, or this part. So, you are learning slowly by slowly to “hear” your face again.
This is very important, to use an “internal mirror”.
– Alex Pashov
Crystal Touch Bell’s palsy clinic