There is evidence that in the Song Dynasty (960AD-1279AD), facial rejuvenation acupuncture (FRA) was used on the empress, the royal court and the emperor’s concubines.
The traditional Chinese approach, based on observations of the human body, was to find ways to regulate the flow of energy (Qi) within. Practitioners in ancient times knew that by improving the circulation of blood and Qi to the organs, tissues and muscles, inner health could be achieved – resulting in strong immunity and a bright, fresh complexion.
In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the skin is associated with the lungs. Practitioners see the skin as an outer lung, with the pores acting as the doors of Qi. The skin does breathe, in the sense of its exchanges with the outer environment, so dry, pale skin can be considered in terms of its relation to a lung imbalance.
If there is an energy imbalance in the spleen, the skin may become thin, wrinkled and easily injured. Imbalances in the liver, which can be affected by stress, are associated with wrinkles developing between the eyebrows.
A holistic approach to healthy skin
Acupuncture for facial rejuvenation is usually supported by integrating additional techniques, such as Gua sha, cupping, micro-current, dermal rollers and other methods. The practitioner will ask questions concerning the patient’s health and lifestyle, and ultimately provide a diagnosis. Acupuncture points will be chosen on the body as well as the face, and additional techniques will be employed as needed.
As FRA is part of a holistic approach, the patient will be advised to cut down on sugar, alcohol and coffee, as well as consuming more collagen and foods rich in Vitamin C. Depending on the patient’s age, health and lifestyle, 10-15 treatments are usually required initially, and then monthly follow-up treatments are recommended. Patients tend to see noticeable changes around the fourth session. While the effects may not be as sudden and dramatic as more invasive methods such as Botox, the results tend to be more natural.
Gua sha, cupping and shallow needling help to promote blood flow and cellular renewal in the face. Deeper needling helps with muscle tone and the deeper wrinkles patients have.
Acupuncture needles and Gua sha create micro-traumas in skin tissue. This stimulates a natural process of cellular repair, which increases the production of collagen and elastin (see below). This can improve tissue elasticity and helps the underlying muscle maintain optimal function.
How deep is the skin?
The skin is comprised of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. Collagen and elastin are two types of proteins that give skin its elasticity and resilience. As we age, the support system of collagen and elastin begins to break down, causing wrinkles and sagging.
Collagen is a fibrous protein. In its basic form, it is hard, insoluble and makes up one third of the protein in the body. Collagen molecules are packed together to form long, thin fibrils. These anchor cells of the dermis and epidermis to each other and act as a supporting structure that gives the skin elasticity and strength.
Elastin is less prevalent than collagen, but it is another key protein found in the skin and connective tissue. Elastin molecules can stretch up to 1.5 times their length, then return to shape like rubber bands. They play a crucial role in giving youthful skin its characteristic tautness.
Glow with health from within
The benefits of FRA extend far beyond those of strictly cosmetic surface treatments like Botox. The technique does not only target the face, but also addresses internal disruptions within the body. By adopting a well-balanced diet and managing stress levels with acupuncture, your whole body can look and feel younger naturally. If you haven’t tried acupuncture before, this can certainly be reason enough to get a few needles!
A study in the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture reported that 90% (270) of the 300 cases treated with Cosmetic Acupuncture had marked effects after one course (10 visits) of treatments. These effects included the evening of wrinkles, improved facial muscle elasticity and overall rejuvenation.
Jewelz Moyer, L.Ac.
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