Acupuncture is one of the oldest, most commonly used medical practices in the world. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, the purpose of acupuncture is to balance body energy by increasing or decreasing the flow of Qi, or Vital Energy, through judicious selection of appropriate acupuncture points. By puncturing the skin with extremely thin needles at strategic locations on the body, TCM practitioners seek to promote optimal health and relieve specific symptoms associated with many diseases.
Acupuncture has a long history of use for treating a plethora of health conditions ranging from musculoskeletal problems, such as pains and sprains, to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and infertility. While many people are familiar with acupuncture’s ability to reduce stress and pain, did you know that acupuncture can also be used for facial rejuvenation?
As TCM evolved, practitioners discovered that many meridians, or energy pathways, either begin or end on the face. Others have internal branches that travel to the face. Over time, practitioners of TCM learned how to specifically affect the face, while concurrently treating the underlying factors that contribute to the aging process.
The Chinese have been practicing Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture (FRA), often referred to as “Cosmetic Acupuncture” or “Acupuncture Facelift,” since as early as the Song Dynasty (960AD - 1279AD). Its earliest recorded use was by the Empress, as well as the Emperor's concubines, who sought treatment to prolong their youthful beauty and vitality.
Like regular acupuncture, FRA is based on the principles of TCM and involves the insertion of extremely thin needles into particular areas of the face, ears, neck, hands, trunk, and legs. Body points, as well as local facial points, are chosen to manipulate the movement of energy in the body according to each individual's needs.
FRA is a virtually painless, non-surgical method of reducing the visible signs of aging. Despite the media’s tendency to refer to it by the trendy, attention-grabbing name of “Acupuncture Facelift,” it is far more than a superficial cosmetic procedure. It is a rejuvenation and revitalization process designed to help the whole body look and feel younger.
According to Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture expert and international teacher Virginia Doran, FRA may erase as many as five to fifteen years from the face. Fine lines may be entirely eliminated and deeper wrinkles diminished. Bags under the eyes can be reduced, jowls firmed, puffiness eliminated, droopy eyelids lifted, and double chins minimized. Other possible results include moisturizing of the skin with increased local circulation of blood and lymph to the face; increased collagen production, muscle tone, and dermal contraction; tightening of the pores; brightening of the eyes; improving of hormonal balance to help acne; and a reduction of stress evident in the face. While it is recommended that patients commit to an acupuncture series involving 8 to 12 treatments in order to achieve optimal benefit, studies published in the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture in 1996 showed that of 300 people who received Facial Acupuncture, 90% demonstrated marked results after only their first treatment.
Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is not a replacement for surgery, but it is an excellent alternative. While FRA will not affect structural changes, such as the size and shape of one's nose or chin, it can help the face look younger, healthier, and more radiant without dangerous side effects.
Another popular advantage of Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is that it is far less costly than cosmetic surgery. When performed by a qualified practitioner, it is safe, virtually painless, and has no major side effects or risk of disfigurement. As well, unlike surgery, FRA does not involve an extended recovery period with swelling and discolouration, as there is no serious trauma inherent in the treatment.
FRA is an excellent therapy to consider for anyone seeking to look and feel younger, while promoting overall health and wellness. It is, however, contraindicated for individuals who have a tendency to bruise excessively, as well those with bleeding disorders; pituitary tumours; high blood pressure; diabetes; migraines; epilepsy; and serious health conditions, such as cancer, AIDS, acute hepatitis, and coronary disease. FRA should also not be administered during pregnancy, colds and flus, acute herpes outbreaks, acute allergic reactions, and/or sunburns.
Many people look to Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture treatment in the hopes of addressing a cosmetic concern, such as pronounced wrinkles, dropping eyelids, or reduced muscle tone, but often find that they experience much deeper benefits. FRA is a holistic treatment that helps us to feel beautiful inside and out.
Kristin Jillian Shropshire is a Registered Nutritionist, Registered Acupuncturist & Faculty Member of The Institute of Holistic Nutrition.
This article can also be found on pg. 28 of the August 2016 edition of the Glebe Report: