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ALL ABOUT FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE

By Jenna Beem, L.Ac &    |   Dr. Lillian Lee, PhD., L.Ac

 

WHAT IS FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE?

Facial acupuncture is a holistic therapy that slows down the face's aging process while delivering additional benefits to the entire body. Over the course of multiple treatments, we address a full range of factors that contribute to premature aging.

Those who study Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understand that the state of your internal health can be observed externally. In TCM, your face tells a story about your health, and each area of your face relates to different organ systems and emotions. For example, after many nights of poor sleep, puffiness and dark circles are likely to show up under your eyes. Similarly, years of scrunching your eyebrows inward due to frustration or intense concentration will create lines between the eyes.

Visible facial aging comes from several sources. Internal health problems, such as hormone imbalance and organ dysfunction, affect the quality, hue and texture of your skin, while repetitive facial expressions caused by long-term emotional patterns create lines and wrinkles. Consider this—before age 25, your face reflects your genetic constitution, but from 25-50, your facial map is influenced by your lifestyle and habits. After 50, your face exhibits the state of your health. Our goal with facial acupuncture is to get your internal health as strong as possible while also working to reduce or even eliminate the unwanted signs of aging on your face.

Facial acupuncture works to simultaneously treat these internal and external factors, when administered biweekly for six or more weeks. By gently inserting small, sterile needles in your face and body, we will address the physical, hormonal and emotional imbalances that may be present in your body's constitution. The local needles in the face support changes in the quality and luster of your skin, including diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, age spots, and uneven color and texture. The needles work double-time by increasing the circulation of oxygen and blood to your face, while also stimulating the collagen/elastin in your dermalogical matrix, so your face looks younger and more vibrant.

While the face is rejuvenating externally, meaningful health changes are occurring internally. The results include feeling stronger and healthier.

 

WHY CHOOSE FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE?

Facial acupuncture is ideal if you're looking for a natural anti-aging solution for your face and body. Even if you only have concerns with one area of your face, you will likely notice supplemental benefits. However, results are not as dramatic as surgery, so if you're looking for changes that drastic, please consult a surgeon.

An immensely positive aspect of facial acupuncture is how well it brings out your unique, natural beauty. Rather than producing the homogenized results associated with muscle paralysis, facial acupuncture allows your face to soften and brighten. In Chinese medicine, we call this your Shen—or "vitality." It is the beautiful, healthy glow of your spirit appearing visibly on your face.

Acupuncture can help you age in a healthy, more vibrant, balanced way. To understand this further, it is important to learn about the causes of aging from Western and Eastern perspectives. Exploring how Chinese medicine works, including its unique diagnostic techniques, will help explain how this treatment achieves powerful results.

WHAT CAUSES THE BODY TO AGE?

Traditional Chinese Medicine describes aging as a gradual decline of the fundamental substances in the body. The term used in Chinese medicine to describe this genetic vitality (or vibrancy) is Jing, which acts a lot like your genetic bank account. Qi, or your energetic life force, acts like the money within this bank account, because there is a limited amount of qi you can access at any given time.

The vibrancy of one’s body and health depends on several factors. One factor is the quality of Jing handed down from our parents, which is beyond our control. Another factor is the qi our own bodies create by breathing air and eating food. When our bodies are healthy and balanced, our qi production and circulation is maximized. When we are weak or ill, there is a decline in qi, which, if not addressed, can lead to more health issues.

It's natural that, over time, the vibrancy of our energetic reserves, or Jing, diminishes. This process is inevitable, which makes Jing and qi sacred. However, if you expend all your reserves in youth without replenishing them effectively, illness can be the result. The goal of Chinese medicine is to balance the body so that you are creating qi in harmony with what is lost for a longer, fuller life. Of course, because Jing is finite, there are limitations to how far you can preserve. The goal is to ease into the transitions and conserve your Jing as much as possible. This can be done with healthy foods, relaxation, meditation, exercise, processing emotions effectively and, of course, acupuncture and herbs.

In modern science, there are two distinct types of aging: intrinsic (or internal) aging and extrinsic (or external) aging.

What is happening to my skin as I age?

Obviously, your skin undergoes gradual changes as you age, but preventing wrinkles is much easier than getting rid of existing ones. Skin requires varying kinds of care at different stages of the aging process. In addition to external therapies for your skin, self-care becomes very important to support the daily needs of your skin. Choosing products with healthy ingredients that work with the needs of your skin, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and remembering to smile more than you frown will support you at all ages. However, your skin needs will change as you age. Learning how to work with those changes will help you achieve optimal skin health.

Your skin in your 20's

Your 20s are the best time to start preparing your skin for the future. Sun damage and internal toxins acquired during this decade can have lasting effects. At the same time, eating well and staying hydrated, while regularly cleansing and moisturizing, can support the future of your skin. Your skin in your 20’s will naturally exfoliate about every 28 days. It's also a good time in life to start paying close attention to your face's common expressions. You may be supporting your future expression lines.

Your skin in your 30's

Around 30, skin cell division and turnover start to slow and the dermis (or the inner layer of the skin) starts to thin. Fat cells beneath the dermis also begin to shrink. In addition, skin’s ability to repair itself decreases with age so wounds heal more slowly. The thinning skin becomes more vulnerable to injuries and damage.

The deeper layers of the skin that provide structural support to the surface skin layers start to loosen and unravel, leading to loss in elasticity. As a result, skin sags and furrows start to form.

Glands that secrete oil atrophy with age, leaving the skin without a protective layer of oil, so moisturizing internally and externally becomes more important. Weekly moisturizing masks are recommended. The dermal level of the skin starts slowing the production of collagen and elastin. The texture and firmness of the skin starts to change. Your skin cycle, or natural exfoliation frequency, slows to about 40 days at this point. Therefore, regular exfoliation becomes important during this decade.

In your 30s is the best time to start anti-aging procedures like facial rejuvenation acupuncture because the only way to create meaningful changes to the collagen and elastin matrix is to penetrate the dermis. Topical chemicals mostly affect only the surface of the skin and don't reach the important dermis.

Your skin in your 40's

Your 40s are when your skin's dermis starts to thin due to reduced collagen and elastin production. Oil production and natural exfoliation also continue to decline, requiring the use of more moisturizers and external exfoliators. Also, these are the years when hormone production starts to change. These hormone changes amplify the lack of skin moisturizers as fluid levels throughout your body are in decline. So, not only is this a key time to adopt techniques that focus on slowing down skin-tone deterioration, it's a great time to begin assessing your options for natural hormone support, including acupuncture and Chinese herbs.

Additionally, facial acupuncture will help reduce many newfound wrinkles, including frown lines and crow's feet, and slow down skin-quality deterioration, including the formation of jowls and drooping eyelids.

Your skin in your 50's

In your 50s, your face is deeply affected by menopausal shifts in hormone levels. As your hormones naturally decline, your skin endures the largest decline in moisturizers. Hot flashes and night sweats can contribute to the decrease in the body's overall fluid levels.

During this time period, your skin can be extremely dry and thin. The muscle layer under the skin begins to atrophy, leading to drooping and sagging. The dermis continues to thin, weakening the production of collagen and elastin. The skin loses its plumpness and elasticity. As the fat layer thins, deep lines and wrinkles appear. The lines that started to form in your 30s and 40s now show up prominently. Facial acupuncture, along with emollient moisturizers and retinol products, will help soften these wrinkles.

Your 60s and beyond

After your 50s, hormonal changes should level off as your hormones find a more stable footing. Of course, aging does continue—and the thinning of the dermis, the reduction of fat cells and the loss of moisture production all become more profound.

Facial acupuncture can still be supportive at this stage, but a person in their 60s will not achieve the same results as a 30-year-old. However, if your goal is to look healthy and vital, the effects can be impressive. Results vary, but typically a series of treatments takes off 5-15 years in appearance, while also enhancing your inner health's vitality. Some patients may need closer to 20 treatments to get the desired results depending on their skin health and history.

INTRINSIC AGING

Intrinsic aging, also known as the natural aging process, is caused by the genes we inherit from our parents. This is a continuous process that normally begins in our mid-20s. As we age, collagen production slows and elastin, the substance that enables skin to snap back into place, loses its elasticity. The turnover of new skin cells slows, as does the shedding of dead skin cells. While these changes may start in our 20s, the visible signs of intrinsic aging may not be noticeable for many years, even decades. Genes control how quickly the normal aging process unfolds. Some notice those first graying hairs in their 20s, others do not see graying until their 40s or even 50s.  Signs of intrinsic aging include:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Loss of underlying fat, leading to hollow cheeks and eye sockets, as well as noticeable loss of firmness on hands and neck
  • Dry skin that may itch
  • Thin and transparent skin
  • Bones shrinking away from the skin due to bone loss, which causes sagging skin
  • Graying hair that eventually turns white
  • Hair loss
  • Unwanted hair

EXTRINSIC AGING

External factors often act together with the normal aging process to prematurely age our skin. Some of these extrinsic factors include sun exposure (or photoaging), smoking, repetitive facial expressions, gravity and habitual sleeping positions. The two that cause the most premature aging are sun exposure and smoking.

PHOTOAGING

Freckles, age spots, spider veins on the face, fine wrinkles, blotchy complexion and skin cancer can all be traced to sun exposure. The amount of photoaging that develops depends on a person’s skin color and their history of long-term or intense sun exposure.  People with fair skin and a history of sun exposure develop more signs of photoaging than those with dark skin.

Photoaging occurs over a period of years, and although it might not be readily visible, much of the aging process is underway by age 20. Exposure to UV radiation accounts for most of the symptoms of early skin aging.

HOW DOES SUN EXPOSURE CAUSE WRINKLE FORMATION?

The sun's UV rays can severely damage collagen and elastin production. Collagen is the main protein that provides structure to the skin and elastin is the main protein that helps skin and its underlying tissue to stay springy and strong. In response to sun-induced elastin damage, the body produces certain enzymes that can cause the breakdown of collagen, resulting in the uneven formation of disorganized collagen fibers called solar scars. Repetition of this abnormal skin rebuilding causes wrinkles. Another important event in this process is the overproduction of oxidants (or free radicals).  Excessive amounts of free radicals cause damage to cellular DNA and impair the cell's ability to repair itself.

HOW DOES SMOKING AFFECT THE SKIN?

An arsenal of research studies has shown that smoking, in addition to its cancerous effects, causes the degeneration of elastic tissue. Nicotine reduces blood flow to the skin by narrowing the blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin. Reduced blood flow means less oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to the skin. The chemicals in the tobacco smoke also damage collagen and elastin, the critical fibers that give skin its plumpness, strength and elasticity, resulting in sagging skin and premature wrinkling all over your body. Additionally, the repeated facial expressions made when smoking, such as pursed lips and squinted eyes, all contribute to wrinkle formation.

ACUPUNCTURE CHANNELS & THE FACE

In Chinese medicine, we acknowledge 12 energetic, or qi, channels. As mentioned before, qi is the energetic component in all of our bodies. These energy channels, or meridians flow together in a three-branched circuit with each branch starting and ending in the chest. Six of the channels spread upward to the face.

Facial acupuncture combines the holistic benefits of balancing your qi internally while increasing the qi and blood circulation to your face, thus improving the quality of skin locally.

Because your body has both physical and energetic properties, it's important to address both aspects of you during healing. Chinese medicine offers an incredibly efficient system for comprehensively addressing your health. The qi channels that flow to the face are connected, so accessing one area of the channel can support changes along the whole meridian, ensuring optimal efficiency. As is the case with all acupuncture treatments, any health problems experienced are due to stagnations in the flow of qi. Each channel corresponds with an internal organ system, emotion and anatomical area. When we access a channel at specific points, qi and blood flow affects the whole channel, as well as paired channels—and the emotion and organ associated with that channel.

 

Hours the channel is most active in the circuit flow Organ system and Qi channel Emotion associated with channel Areas of the body covered by channel
3-5 am Lung Grief/Sadness Chest to Hands
5-7 am Large Intestine Grief/Letting go Hands to Face
7-9 am Stomach Worry/Obsession Face to Feet
9-11am Spleen Worry/Obsession Feet to Chest
11-1pm Heart Joy/Love/Mania Chest to Hands
1-3 pm Small Intestine Joy/Love/Mania Hands to Face
3-5 pm Urinary Bladder Fear/Wisdom Face to Feet
5-7 pm Kidney Fear/Wisdom Feet to Chest
7-9 pm Pericardium Joy/Love/Mania Chest to Hands
9-11pm San Jiao Joy/Love/Mania Hands to Face
11-1am Gall Bladder Anger/Frustration Face to Feet
1-3 am Liver Anger/Frustration Feet to Chest

When working to support the face, we use acupuncture points on the legs and arms. Since the whole channel is connected, we can influence the face at many points along the channels. It's like turning on a light via a switch on the wall. Although you aren't touching the light bulb, your action affects the circuit, which turns on the light.

To better understand this concept, imagine your garden at home. Your plants need water and nutrients to grow. Now imagine a climate with no rain. The only water the plants receive is from you. If you're watering your garden using a hose, and your hose kinks, what happens to the garden? It will eventually die. The same thing happens in the body. We need our qi, blood, oxygen and nutrients to get to every cell in the body or we have problems. The body’s way of signaling the problem to you is through health symptoms. So if acupuncture meridians are like the important nurturing hose, you can see why it's so important to unblock the stagnation. Following this analogy, it is easiest to unkink the hose (or unblock the qi channel) at the opposite end of the channel. When you attempt to unkink a hose at the blocked section, the high pressure can make it almost impossible. When you go to the opposite end of the hose and whip it, the hose straightens out and water resumes. Similarly in acupuncture, we commonly needle the opposite end of the channel with the stagnation to get the desired results. This is why we put needles in your feet and hands when we are addressing symptoms showing up on your face.

As mentioned at the beginning, your internal body health affects your face. We choose the best whole body treatment possible to support your body’s holistic needs. If your hormones are out of balance, that will be a priority for our treatments. If your digestion is off, we will support that until it regulates. Sleep is wildly important for healthy, youthful appearances. Stress is another big factor leading to wrinkle formation, so it's also important to address all lingering emotions.

In addition to whole body treatments, facial acupuncture works locally at the areas in need by stimulating qi and blood flow throughout your face. The gentle insertion of tiny sterile needles directly into the dermis of the skin on the face causes increased qi and blood flow to the area. This helps stimulate important collagen and elastin production, which delivers multiple potential benefits. Fine lines, wrinkles can diminish while other texture issues even out.

One of the initial benefits of facial acupuncture is a softer, more relaxed face. With repeated treatments, your body will hold these changes. Expression lines will also soften as we address the emotions behind them, and puffy eyelids will decrease as we address the internal factors contributing to them. Treating the cause of the problems in tandem with the symptoms allows for long-term health enhancements.

Gravity is another contributor to the aging process. As elastin and collagen weaken and muscles fatigue, gravity's pesky force further adds to droopiness. Increasing the qi and blood flow to the face helps combat sagging cheeks, mouths and eyelids. Using a specific needling technique on certain acupuncture points that correspond anatomically with neuromuscular junctions can stimulate muscle tone and support droopy areas of the face from the muscular level. Because facial acupuncture doesn't lead to muscle paralysis, your face will achieve natural, unique beauty rather than a homogenized look.

CAN FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE REDUCE EXPRESSION LINES?

The ancient Chinese people understood how closely physical and emotional health are linked. In modern medical science, emotions are related to chemical imbalances in the brain. Emotions create a feedback loop in the limbic system, part of the nervous system. In this way, they affect the whole body, even though brain chemicals are generally the cause.

In Chinese medicine, we understand that emotions live in the body and are housed in different organ systems. Both philosophies acknowledge that emotions impact health. Poor physical health can lead to excessive challenging emotions and vice versa. Perhaps you can relate to a time when you were excessively worrying about something and it had a negative impact on your sleep or caused a stomachache. You might also think of a period of time when you were frustrated or angry and found your eyes scrunching together, causing lines between the eyes. Similarly, when someone is being a "pain in the neck," your body’s emotional tension is manifesting that stress physically.

Repeated emotions can cause the overuse of facial muscles, imprinting unwanted lines and creases. These expression lines tell the story of the emotions you are holding or have held for long periods of time. Over time, these patterns have an increasingly significant impact on the body, especially if they become habitual. If not resolved, these patterns can become part of your personality or constitution and internal organ systems can be thrown off. With Chinese medicine face reading, we can analyze your facial map of lines and wrinkles and understand some of the emotional struggles you've experienced—and then address these internal imbalances with acupuncture.

According to author, acupuncturist and face reading specialist Lillian Bridges, there are a few possible commonalities among people who do not get many wrinkles:

  1. The overall quality of their skin is oily and thick with lots of melanin to protect it from the sun.
  2. Either they do not feel the full range of emotions very strongly, or they do not express them on their faces, so no expression lines have a chance to form.
  3. They are skilled at letting go and moving on so their face reflects their Zen attitude.

 

Another option is to use TCM and Acupuncture to emotionally support your body's systems to more efficiently process all the different emotions life triggers. As acupuncture helps the body process these emotions, expression lines can change. The body works through the emotions as you let go of the need for that facial expression. While you are transforming internally, facial acupuncture works locally at the skin. The overall goal is to support your body and create these healthy changes from the inside out. Getting rid of the lines at the surface alone without addressing the cause will only work temporarily. The facial-acupuncture approach creates lasting improvements.

WHERE DID TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE COME FROM?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a medical system designed over 3,000 years ago. Ancient Chinese practitioners used this scientific method based on observations to theorize how qi, life's energetic flow, works. They were acutely aware of nature and its effects on the body. TCM practitioners observed in addition to the internal factors affecting health, seasonal shifts had a direct impact on the body. Nutritional and seasonal lifestyle suggestions are core parts of TCM to support your health vitality.

Without conducting autopsies, these ancient Chinese practitioners figured out how the internal organs interacted. Although our understanding of the internal organ systems has improved over the years as science has advanced, these initial understandings were surprisingly close to accurate. Over time, they discovered interesting associations throughout the body, leading them to theorize about connective channels. They noticed correlations between body areas, including internal organ systems and external points on limbs. They determined that the energetic nature of the body has a flow, and that everything is connected. In addition to the physical structures we see and feel, there is an energy that works like a hologram in the body. Because of this property of qi flow, the acupuncture channels work together in a circuit and we can affect area of the body at different points along the circuit.

In Chinese medicine, there are many microsystems in the body that represent and affect the whole. For example, some systems of acupuncture use only the ear to treat the whole body. Each area of the ear maps to an anatomical region in the body—the whole body is present in the ear. There's a similar Korean hand technique and many traditions of mapping of the body on the feet, such as reflexology. An esteemed teacher of ours, Dr. Richard Tan, has shown us how to use the channels on the limbs to address any part of the body. In fact, each bone on a person's arm matches anatomically to their leg, torso, head, back, and so on. The correlations are endless and fascinating. When someone has pain in their neck, we find the tender spots on the corresponding channels at the ankle, insert the necessary needles and the pain instantly decreases. Over time, the pain should completely go away. Similarly, to treat the face we use this mapping system.

As explained above, it's common in acupuncture to treat the opposite end of the channel to support health. In this way, we create balance. One of the tenants of TCM is "where there is stagnation, there is pain." The primary function of acupuncture treatments is to improve the flow of qi in the body so it works more efficiently, free of stagnation.

WHAT ARE THE UNIQUE DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUES OF CHINESE MEDICINE?

The first step in acupuncture treatment is to diagnose any possible imbalances. This is the best way to assess your state of health, as well as to stay on course with a plan to maximize a healthy outcome. In addition to identifying signs and symptoms, Chinese medicine has a long history of using various forms of palpation and observational diagnosis techniques, including pulse taking, tongue diagnosis and face reading. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners understand that the internal functioning of the body will appear externally, so we use the information gleamed from these techniques to underscore our diagnoses for meaningful improvements in your health.

HOW MUCH CAN YOUR ACUPUNCTURIST LEARN FROM YOUR PULSE?

The qi flow throughout the body is connected. One way to assess the strength or vitality of each qi channel and its corresponding organ system is pulse palpation. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), there are 12 different pulse positions on the ulnar side of the wrists. Six of the channels can be assessed on the right hand, while the other six reside on the left. On each side, there are three positions and at least two depths. This is a prime example of how we use the holographic nature of the qi flow to understand the body.

By placing three fingers along the ulnar edge of your wrist and feeling the movement of the pulse at different depths, we can assess various health qualities. Acupuncturists will feel for relative speed, depth, strength and texture qualities that contribute to the diagnosis of your overall state of health. This information is incorporated into the TCM diagnosis and used to assess improvement with treatment.

WHY DO I NEED TO STICK MY TONGUE OUT?

Observation of the tongue is very useful in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Your tongue is another microsystem that represents the state of your whole body, so we look at the size, shape, color and coating to diagnose possible imbalances throughout your body.

The state of your tongue can change frequently. When you get a cold, the coating on your tongue may thicken. Eating a large, rich meal with several glasses of alcohol may also contribute to an increased coating on your tongue or even change the color. Menopausal women experiencing night sweats and hot flashes may display tongues that are dark red with a dry coating or cracks in the surface, whereas during their menstruating life, their tongue may have been pale colored. Observing these differences is vital to your overall diagnosis.

WHAT IS FACE READING AND HOW DOES IT HELP FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE?

One of the more interesting forms of traditional observation is face reading. This diagnostic system uses the microsystem of the face to tell the body's story of internal health. As you know, faces evolve over time and say a lot about our journey through life. They're the combination of genetics, passed down from parents, affected by life experiences and expressions most commonly made, and yet also depict the health of internal functions. With careful inspection, a trained Chinese medicine practitioner can determine the state of your kidneys, lung and liver by inspecting different areas of your whole face.

HOW DOES FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE COMPARE TO OTHER THERAPIES?

Any time you turn on the television or open a magazine, you see advertisements for facial procedures and topical creams. All of them claim to have miraculous effects. But how do you find the best option for you? How is facial acupuncture different from the other options?

First, assess the importance of your skin. The skin is the largest organ in the body. It's your first line of defense against environmental toxins and pathogens. Whatever you put on your skin gets absorbed through your pores. If you eat healthy foods yet throw a bunch of toxins on your skin, how healthy is your system? We recommend finding natural solutions to your health and beauty needs. There are so many wonderful things to use, so do your research before you decide.

ALTERNATIVES TO BOTOX

By Jenna Beem, L.Ac &    |   Dr. Lillian Lee, PhD., L.Ac

BOTOX

Botox is derived from the botulism neurotoxin. It is used in small, non-lethal doses. The neurotoxin it used to reduce wrinkles and expression lines by paralyzing the muscle below the wrinkle. This works to reduce or eliminate the wrinkle at the same time as minimizing the ability to express emotions fully on the face. As the Botox wears off, one must continue with treatments indefinitely to retain the results.

DERMAL FILLERS

As we age we lose facial volume and collagen. Dermal fillers, also known as cosmetic fillers or soft tissue fillers, are a non-surgical injectable treatment. These fillers are either naturally derived or synthetic. They're injected underneath the skin to help diminish facial lines, restore volume and fullness in the face.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), dermal fillers are the most common non-surgical procedure after BOTOX, and, like BOTOX, are used as part of an ongoing anti-aging maintenance routine.

There are many different types of dermal fillers available and the following table is a summary of those most commonly used fillers.

TOPICAL PROCEDURES

There are many systems out there to stimulate collagen production and resurface the texture of the skin. Microdermabrasion, laser and topical creams are a few categories available. Important factors to consider when choosing are does the procedure create change at the dermal layer of the skin? Most creams and topical substances will not reach the dermis due to the protective barrier of the epidermis. This skin layer is designed to keep things out. Laser and microdermabrasion techniques have the potential of reaching this level by creating micro traumas to the skin. When the skin’s natural healing mechanism is triggered, the body works to create more collagen and elastin. So the next consideration is how much trauma is necessary to achieve results? What is the length of healing time? What are the side effects? How toxic are the substances? How long do the results last? Is the body healthier as a result of the procedure? To answer these questions fully, ask a qualified licensed provider.

FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE

With facial acupuncture, not only is the quality of your skin improved, your overall health is enhanced. With every facial treatment, your whole body is addressed. This unique property of facial acupuncture separates it from the other options in the market. There are no toxic substances. You will have the ability to express the full range of your emotions on your face. This is important because expressing empathy, and other emotions, is important to your communication with others.  Aside from occasional bruising, the common side effects mostly include health benefits rather than risks. There is no healing or recovery time after the treatments. During the treatment series, you get to live your normal (perhaps more relaxed) life and no one will know you are doing anything to your face. Over the weeks, they may simply notice how great you look but not understand exactly what changed. By the end, many people see significant improvement in their healthy appearance.

Here's a chart on facial acupuncture for comparison to the other procedures. As you can see, the treatments are done in a series. The frequency of treatments matters for the overall effectiveness of the technique. If you choose facial acupuncture, it's important to complete the full series at twice a week through an entire skin cycle (28-40 days). When you do a natural healing technique like acupuncture, you are retraining the body to work in a new pattern. It's like learning a new language. If you study once a month or less, you may learn a few words and phrases but you may never really learn the language. However, if you study frequently over a period of time, the results are usually impressive. The body works the same way. When you do acupuncture treatments twice a week, the body holds these healthy changes far more effectively than if you were treated sporadically. And for something as short-lived as skin cycles, it is especially important to maximize the treatments during this time period for optimal results.

COMMONLY USED FACIAL REJUVENATION PROCEDURES:

BOTOX

Botox is derived from the botulism neurotoxin. It is used in small, non-lethal doses. The neurotoxin it used to reduce wrinkles and expression lines by paralyzing the muscle below the wrinkle. This works to reduce or eliminate the wrinkle at the same time as minimizing the ability to express emotions fully on the face. As the Botox wears off, one must continue with treatments indefinitely to retain the results.

DERMAL FILLERS

As we age we lose facial volume and collagen. Dermal fillers, also known as cosmetic fillers or soft tissue fillers, are a non-surgical injectable treatment. These fillers are either naturally derived or synthetic. They're injected underneath the skin to help diminish facial lines, restore volume and fullness in the face.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), dermal fillers are the most common non-surgical procedure after BOTOX, and, like BOTOX, are used as part of an ongoing anti-aging maintenance routine.

There are many different types of dermal fillers available and the following table is a summary of those most commonly used fillers.

TOPICAL PROCEDURES

There are many systems out there to stimulate collagen production and resurface the texture of the skin. Microdermabrasion, laser and topical creams are a few categories available. Important factors to consider when choosing are does the procedure create change at the dermal layer of the skin? Most creams and topical substances will not reach the dermis due to the protective barrier of the epidermis. This skin layer is designed to keep things out. Laser and microdermabrasion techniques have the potential of reaching this level by creating micro traumas to the skin. When the skin’s natural healing mechanism is triggered, the body works to create more collagen and elastin. So the next consideration is how much trauma is necessary to achieve results? What is the length of healing time? What are the side effects? How toxic are the substances? How long do the results last? Is the body healthier as a result of the procedure? To answer these questions fully, ask a qualified licensed provider.

FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE

With facial acupuncture, not only is the quality of your skin improved, your overall health is enhanced. With every facial treatment, your whole body is addressed. This unique property of facial acupuncture separates it from the other options in the market. There are no toxic substances. You will have the ability to express the full range of your emotions on your face. This is important because expressing empathy, and other emotions, is important to your communication with others.  Aside from occasional bruising, the common side effects mostly include health benefits rather than risks. There is no healing or recovery time after the treatments. During the treatment series, you get to live your normal (perhaps more relaxed) life and no one will know you are doing anything to your face. Over the weeks, they may simply notice how great you look but not understand exactly what changed. By the end, many people see significant improvement in their healthy appearance.

Here's a chart on facial acupuncture for comparison to the other procedures. As you can see, the treatments are done in a series. The frequency of treatments matters for the overall effectiveness of the technique. If you choose facial acupuncture, it's important to complete the full series at twice a week through an entire skin cycle (28-40 days). When you do a natural healing technique like acupuncture, you are retraining the body to work in a new pattern. It's like learning a new language. If you study once a month or less, you may learn a few words and phrases but you may never really learn the language. However, if you study frequently over a period of time, the results are usually impressive. The body works the same way. When you do acupuncture treatments twice a week, the body holds these healthy changes far more effectively than if you were treated sporadically. And for something as short-lived as skin cycles, it is especially important to maximize the treatments during this time period for optimal results.

  Weeks 1-2 Weeks 3-4 Weeks 5-6 Weeks 7-10

(If necessary)

Maintenance
Frequency of treatment Twice a week Twice a week Twice a week Twice a week Once a month
What to expect Healthy glow starting to appear. Tightening of skin, softer texture. Some fine lines may start disappearing. Smiling gets easier, less droopy. Tightening continues. Lines are reducing. The overall quality of skin is improving. Muscles are toning so lifting is occurring. In the new skin cycle, the results are more pronounced. This is where we assess the speed of change at the various areas of the face. If the state of the skin was poor at onset, it is important to continue twice a week for a few more weeks to firm up the results. To hold the effects, it is important to continue with occasional treatments that support the whole body health as well as the face.
FDA approved  Acupuncture needles are approved by the FDA.
Common side effects Possible bruising. The American Acupuncture Counsel has a list of incredibly rare possible side effects due to improper deep needling including nerve issues.
Areas Whole face and internal systems.
Health Benefits Improved sleep, better digestions, balanced hormones, less emotional or stressed out.
Longevity of results When hole series is completed, the results should last years. The clock keeps ticking so aging will continue but your reset should hold. Maintenance is recommended for best results. May want to do another series after 5 years or so.

SOURCES

  1. Bridges, Lillian. Face Reading in Chinese Medicine, 2e. Churchill Livingstone Elesevier Ltd. 2012. Print
  2. Haner, Jean. The Widsom of Your Face: Change Your Life with Chinese Face Reading! Hayhouse Publishig. 2008. Print
  3. Lucus, Martha, P.hD. Mei Zen Facial Acupuncture Class. San Francisco, CA, 2014. Class
  4. Lucus, Martha, PhD. Vanity Calamity Publisher, 2222, Print
  5. Tan, Richard The-Fu. Acupuncture 1, 2, 3. Richard Tan, O.M.D., L.Ac. Publishing. 2007. Print
  6. Wakefield, Mary Elizabeth. Constitutional Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture Class. New York City, NY. 2013. Class
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