Raageshwari's brush with Bell's Palsy

With a successful music career ahead of her, Raageshwari faced serious illness at the age of 20, one that nearly destroyed her career.

Raageshwari Loomba recently got married to London-based barrister Sudhanshu Swaroop. Known for her music and acting career, Raageshwari's debut single, Duniya, is best remembered for her fresh-faced charm as the girl-next-door dancing on the sparkling sands of the Maldives.

What most people don't know about Raageshwari is that she faced serious illness at the age of 20, one that nearly destroyed her career. In early 2000, while on her millennium tour, she found herself unable to control the muscles in her face. She was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, a nervous disorder that leads to paralysis of the facial muscles. She was told in no uncertain terms that she would have to rest for a year and a half, and hope that things get better. Her career would have to take a backseat to her health condition.

Bell’s Palsy is characterized by a one-sided facial droop that begins to develop within 48 hours. Other symptoms include slurred speech, facial tingling, inablility to blink, close the eyes or smile. However, Bell’s Palsy is usually self-limiting and most people recover and achieve near-normal control of facial muscles again.

"What happens is that first you lose all facial expressions. Eventually, the left side, which is numb, gets pulled by the right side, which is active, and your face gets completely distorted, “she explained in an interview to Rave magazine. “The medication they were giving me was really not working. They give you steroids, but all they do is get you really bloated and give you huge mood swings, which isn’t my personality at all. My dad said that I needed to heal it from within."

Related: Famous Celebrities who battled Bell's Palsy

Raageshwari was struck with Bell's Palsy at the age of 20, and was forced to put her career on hold for five years. Using yoga therapy to regain strength and movement, she has now fully recovered and ... more 
Raageshwari was struck with Bell's Palsy at the age of 20, and was forced to put her career on hold for five years. Using yoga therapy to regain strength and movement, she has now fully recovered and has returned to making music. less 
1 / 8
Yahoo Lifestyle | Photo by Getty Images
Wed 29 Jan, 2014 10:30 AM IST
Raageshwari began a long journey of positivity and healing. Through facial yoga and Iyengar yoga, she restored strength to her facial muscles without reconstructive surgery. "There was a huge growth that happened while I was ill. Today I’m at a position where I know what I want, and that only happened because there was this huge step of falling ill and having that time to rediscover myself. I got introduced to yoga and meditation, and that kind of holistic healing started to take over my life. If you really, really believe in something, it will come true."

Raageshwari offers insights on her struggle to recovery: “I firmly believe and want others to believe that when you're hurting, the process of healing has also begun. So embrace that picture and make it larger and clearer. Remain neutral and remain focussed. During the illness, my parents encouraged me to only take the physiotherapy and electrical stimulation in the hospital with other patients and not in the privacy of the home. It was the best decision, as it brought to the forefront the state of other patients who were paralyzed neck down, or the entire left side. So it made me see my illness as almost silly and so small. So I discovered my empathy and my vision in seeing life in a broader perspective. That is the best vision to have. See other's pain and have empathy and see other's success and get inspired.”

More: What is Bell's Palsy? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment