Most people associate acupuncture with relief from different types of physical pain, from headaches to low back pain to menstrual cramps. However, there are highly specialized acupuncture techniques that focus on certain conditions or parts of the body. One of those techniques is facial acupuncture.
As the name would suggest, facial acupuncture concentrates on the face and neck, working from the inside out to treat various conditions and make the aging process as slow and graceful as possible.
Kerry McVey, L.Ac., LMT, who specializes in facial acupuncture here at Natural Healthcare Center, recalls what her teacher and mentor, Shellie Goldstein, famously said about facial acupuncture.
She said facial acupuncture is “like taking your face to the gym.” We’re working your facial muscles and training them to do what you want them to do. We want to relax tense muscles that deepen wrinkles and strengthen muscles that keep your face in its optimal condition.
Just like you can’t expect to be fit after one trip to the gym, you can’t expect to achieve your goals after one facial acupuncture treatment. This is why we typically recommend 10 weekly sessions to achieve the best results.
A Preventative or Restorative Treatment
It’s never too early to start facial acupuncture for adults seeking to prevent or at least delay the effects of aging. If you’re in your 20s, facial acupuncture can prevent deep-set wrinkles and sagging skin.
If you’re in your 30s, facial acupuncture can be preventative or restorative, depending in part on your lifestyle and diet. Most people in their 30s begin to experience a loss of fat, causing facial features to appear as if they’re moving downward and inward.
With each decade, facial acupuncture becomes more restorative. The results may not be as dramatic, but you can still see firming, lifting, and sculpting into your 50s and 60s. At this point, it’s more about softening wrinkles than eliminating them, which can help make the aging process gentler.
A Natural, Non-Invasive Treatment
Many patients who have tried or are considering treatments such as Botox, dermal fillers, or even a facelift ask where facial acupuncture fits into the equation.
Facial acupuncture works by enhancing the body’s own ability to heal and rebalance itself without injections, surgery, or medication. Botox treatment involves the injection of neurotoxins that temporarily freeze muscles to reduce wrinkles. Dermal fillers are injected below the surface of the skin to increase volume and fullness. A facelift is a surgical procedure that typically involves removing and/or tightening excess skin.
Facial acupuncture is extremely effective as a standalone treatment and can serve as a natural complement to other procedures. Just keep in mind that no treatment is permanent. If you want lasting results from Botox, for example, you’ll need to continue treatments for a long time, which means more neurotoxins entering your body.
Also, acupuncture offers a number of other benefits, such as reduced stress, calming the nervous system, increased energy, detoxification, and better sleep and digestion.
Not Just About Appearance
While much of the conversation focuses on aesthetics, facial acupuncture is a health-driven treatment, not a vanity treatment. In addition to improving the health and appearance of the skin from the inside out, facial acupuncture can treat a wide range of painful or uncomfortable conditions.
For example, facial acupuncture can dramatically improve skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. People with TMJ disorders, trigeminal neuralgia, and Bell’s palsy have also benefited from facial acupuncture. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to complete a full package of 10 sessions if you’re seeking treatment for a specific condition.
Your licensed acupuncturist will help you determine the underlying cause of your condition and discuss how facial acupuncture can help. In the next article, we’ll discuss different types of therapies that can be integrated with facial acupuncture to achieve the best possible results.