Cosmetic acupuncture (also called facial rejuvenation acupuncture, facial acupuncture or “acupuncture face-lift”) is a safe and pain-free method of reducing the signs of aging.
It was originally used as a treatment for patients with paralysis of facial nerves caused by Bell’s palsy or stroke. As cosmetic “side-effects” were noted, it was adapted for use as an “anti-aging” treatment.
This is truly an “anti-aging medicine” and the only cosmetic procedure that brings about amazing results while improving your overall health! It is quickly gaining popularity among celebrities and in cosmopolitan cities such as New York and LA. At a fraction of the cost of other procedures, cosmetic facial acupuncture is a sound alternative that can restore your radiant glow both inside and out.
How It Works
This can be looked at from both the chinese medicine and western medicine perspectives. Tiny acupuncture needles are inserted on the face and body to stimulate the flow of Qi (energy) along what are called meridians in chinese medicine. Think of meridians as highways in your body. When there is a traffic jam, this is what causes stagnation. When there is stagnation in the body, our health suffers and we age more quickly. Clearing the way of the meridians clears stagnation and slows down the aging process.
From the western medicine perspective, needles that are inserted into the face cause micro trauma to the skin which stimulates the body’s natural production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid to heal in the area. In addition, the needles increase blood flow and stimulate muscles of the face that may have started to sag or lost their tone. After treatment the skin looks rejuvenated, smooth and lifted.
Benefits of Cosmetic Acupuncture
A number of studies have evaluated the effectiveness of cosmetic acupuncture using a range of standardized measurement tools including the Global Aesthetic Improvement Scale, the Wrinkle Severity Rating Scale, Moiré topography, ultrasonography and use of silicon microrelief impressions.
In two studies, benefits were noted after one or two treatments in 90% of participants. Findings confirm the aesthetic benefits of cosmetic acupuncture, including:
- Improved skin texture
- Improved skin elasticity
- Reduction of skin wrinkles
- Reduction of “double chin”
- Reduction of “drooping” of eyelids
- Minimization of pore size
- Reduction of acne
- Increased “brightness” of eyes
The goal of cosmetic acupuncture treatment is a reduction in appearance of between 5 to 15 years and an overall rejuvenation not confined to the face.
Along with cosmetic benefits, acupuncture has other benefits. It can assist in sleep, increase energy, boost immunity and lift your mood. All of these general health benefits will assist your treatment goals for reducing wrinkles and a more youthful and glowing complexion.
What to Expect
At your initial assessment, an individualized treatment plan will be created to address your specific cosmetic needs, and can also be used to address other health concerns (e.g., headaches, joint pain, muscle aches) that can be treated simultaneously using acupuncture.
Treatments involve insertion of acupuncture needles at specific points at and around the face and at points elsewhere on the body. Pain is minimal, limited to a “pricking” sensation at the time of needle insertion. You might feel some pulsating, pressure or heat coming to the face and this is due to all the blood flow and qi coming to the face.
Cosmetic acupuncture treatments are performed using only highest-quality, sterile, single-use, extra-fine Seirin® brand acupuncture needles for cosmetic acupuncture treatments.
How Long Are Appointments?
Appointments are ~ 50 minutes. After insertion of needles, they will be left in place for 20-30 minutes. Music or a guided mediation can be played during treatment to increase relaxation during treatments.
The effectiveness of cosmetic acupuncture treatments can be optimized by including in your regimen good lifestyle practices, proper skin care and the use of nutritional supplements and herbal medicines which will be explained at your appointments.
How Many Appointments Do I Need?
You may see benefits in as few as one or two treatments. Best results for cosmetic acupuncture are seen after a minimum of 6-10 treatments. I often recommend 1 treatment weekly (for an hour) for 6 weeks. We will then evaluate further treatment at that point.
Is it covered by insurance?
Yes. Most insurance companies have coverage for naturopathic doctors. We can bill this service under those benefits.
How does it compare to micro-needling and botox?
Micro-needling is a more invasive treatment, however, the collagen growth stimulated can last for years. It is a good option for those who would like more pronounced collagen growth without committing to botox.
Cosmetic acupuncture cannot be compared to botox directly, because they are entirely different processes. The ability of botox to reduce and eliminate wrinkles and lines will always be greater than cosmetic acupuncture. Cosmetic acupuncture is designed to help slow down and reduce signs of again, not prevent it from happening.
Botox has the capacity to prevent and drastically reduce wrinkles as it prevents the targeted muscles from moving. It can be costly, invasive and requires frequent maintenance. It always comes down to treatment goals and expectations—this is something we discuss in our initial consults.
Who shouldn’t get cosmetic acupuncture?
Acupuncture is very low risk. It is fair to say that the only risk is that you will look and feel great. Sometimes there is some minor bruising or redness that develops at the insertion points post-treatment, however this is temporary and will not impact the effectiveness of the treatment.
Those who have*:
- hemophilia or coagulation disorders
- high blood pressure
- frequent migraines
- seizures or epilepsy
- pregnant women
- pituitary disorder
- Inflammatory skin diseases
*All patients will be screened to ensure they are good candidates for cosmetic acupuncture treatment. These conditions can be treated with acupuncture or naturopathic medicine prior to beginning facial rejuvenation acupuncture.
Please note that treatments are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Fast Facts About Facial Acupuncture:
- Treatments are around $100 to $150 per session and about 60 minutes long. Cost-saving packages of 5 and 10 treatments are available.
- Facial rejuvenation acupuncture has a wonderful side-effect of treating other disharmonies throughout the body, as not only local facial points are often selected.
- Your skin takes about 40 days from production in the deep skin layer (dermis) to come up to the superficial skin layer (epidermis). Sometimes it takes this long to start to see clear and evident results.
- Not all people are suitable for cosmetic acupuncture. The younger you are, the more collagen your body still produces, and the thicker the skin, the more successful cosmetic acupuncture will be.
- Cosmetic acupuncture is not recommended for pregnant women, the elderly and some other health conditions. Check with the list above or with me before undergoing the treatment.
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Doran V; An introduction to facial revitalization acupuncture. http://www.ejom.co.uk/vol-5-no-5/featured-articles/an-introduction-to-facial-revitalisation-acupuncture.html. European Journal of Oriental Medicine. 2006; 5(5).
Younghee Yun, Sehyun Kim, Minhee Kim, KyuSeok Kim, Jeong-Su Park, and Inhwa Choi, “Effect of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture on Facial Elasticity: An Open-Label, Single-Arm Pilot Study,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 424313, 5 pages, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/424313.
Zhang Q, Zhu L. Meridional cosmetology: report of 300 cases with discussion of underlying mechanism. The International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture. 1996;401-405.
Fabbrocini G, De Vita V, Di Costanzo L, Pastore F, Mauriello MC, Ambra M, Annunziata MC, di Santolo MG, Cameli N, Monfrecola G. Skin needling in the treatment of the aging neck. Skinmed. 2011 Nov-Dec;9(6):347-51.