A few years ago, I was turning on my computer and did not realize the camera was on. I was shocked when I saw this woman on my screen that I did not recognize, it was me. I was in my mid-forties and I did not like what I saw, pronounced jowls, wrinkles, and an aged face. This reality was something I was determined to deal with, gracefully.
I became an acupuncturist in 2018 and was exposed to cosmetic facial acupuncture and pursued it once I started my practice. My desire was to learn more about slowing the aging process and as that longing evolved, I started sharing this ancient wisdom with my patients.
History of Chinese Medical Cosmetology or Mei Rong
Cosmetic facial acupuncture has a rich history that dates back thousands of years to the Qin dynasty 221-206 B. C. It was known as Mei Rong and in pinyin that translates to Mei, meaning beautiful and Rong meaning to look or contain. As traditional Chinese medicine evolved the marriage of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), and cosmetology grew. Acupuncture for cosmetic application were exclusive for the Empress and the Emperors. Today, it is popular among celebrities and media personalities. In 2014, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) did a survey and found the cosmetic facial acupuncture was the third most sough-after specialty amongst acupuncturists.
What is Cosmetic Facial Acupuncture?
Cosmetic Facial Acupuncture (CFA) is the insertion of tiny sterile hair like needles placed on specific acupuncture points on the face, neck, and body for the purpose of improving skin resilience and addresses overall health for a smoother more radiant complexion. The insertion of these tiny needles into the face produces microtrauma which stimulates collagen and elastin production. The face has over 50 muscles and as we age, there is an increase in sagging skin, decreased muscle tone, bone loss, and wrinkles. Cosmetic facial acupuncture uses traditional Chinese medicine in conjunction with modern science and there is evidenced based research to show its efficacy. A study done in 2013, analyzed CFA and facial elasticity which revealed hopeful results as a treatment choice for improving muscle tone and elasticity. Another study reported in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal suggested that wrinkles could be decreased in depth, length, or be eliminated, facial edema and puffiness diminished, acne improved, facial muscle tone increased, and produce smaller pores. The result of CFA treatment is a restored balance of energy flow throughout the body contributing to improved overall health. This natural non-surgical treatment is used by the public to enhance beauty holistically and it is expanding in popularity as more people are looking to preserve their youthfulness without the use of surgery, injections, or fillers.
Facial Rejuvenation with Facial Cupping and Facial Gua Sha
Cupping and gua sha have been around for thousands of years and were originally used to remove heat and toxins from the body. Facial cupping is gentle and does not leave marks or bruising like body cupping. The cups are made of glass designed for the face and come in varied sizes. Facial oil is placed on the skin and a gentle suction is applied on individual acupuncture points or a sliding technique is utilized along the acupuncture channel or meridian. Cupping over deep wrinkles increases blood flow to the area and down the neck to drain lymphatic fluid. This technique brings collagen to the surface, reduces puffiness, dark circles, diminishes fine lines, and clears nasal sinuses.
Facial gua sha is performed by using tools made of stone like jade or rose quartz. This gentle scraping of the skin increases blood flow and circulation to the face which gives it a youthful glow. The gua sha tool stimulates acupuncture points on the face which aid in balancing overall well-being. The increased blood circulation helps to detoxify the face and move stagnant blood and inflammation which can accumulate under the eyes and chin. I use a combination of cosmetic facial acupuncture, body acupuncture, cupping, and gua sha that blends for a through facial rejuvenation regime.
Holisitc approach to beauty and wellness
Beauty is an inside job and keeping balance between the internal and external permits radiance to shine on our face. When patients come in for an assessment, they discuss their purpose for seeking this treatment. For example, they may want to look younger or have their wrinkles erased. As practitioners of Chinese medicine, we evaluate issues like the appearance of dry skin, muscle tone loss, wrinkles, or fatigue. This gives us clues in diagnosing a deeper issue and then we create a treatment plan to aid in correcting these disharmonies in the body. These imbalances can be reflected in the skin and treating the whole person improves overall health. Other ways to preserve a youthful appearance and promote a balanced state of mind and body, is good nutrition, exercise, sleep, low-stress, and doing what brings you joy.
Treatments: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Whether you want to lose weight or train for that next 10K time and frequency are needed. CFA is no exception and commitment to this routine will result in the finest outcome. A face-to-face consultation is suggested to ensure that this choice is best for you and a specific plan of action is created to address any emotional or physical disharmony in the body. Herbal formulas or supplements are sometimes recommended and enhance the results of the acupuncture treatments. The recommended number of sessions is ten-twelve weekly visits until the desired effect is reached. For best results, monthly maintenance sessions are recommended to preserve the positive results and protect your financial investment.
There are some contraindications to cosmetic facial acupuncture, facial cupping, and facial gua sha. In my office I do not treat pregnant women with this specialty, and it is not recommended for anyone who is on a blood thinner, has uncontrolled hypertension, or frequent migraines.
The beauty market is full of anti-aging skin rejuvenating products and methods to decrease wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. Cosmetic facial acupuncture is being considered as a practical alternative in this market. The benefits of choosing this option for your anti-aging routine is a refined elegance, noticeable erased wrinkles, lifted appearance, and a radiant glow. The other advantages are noted in an overall well-being, better sleep, a more balanced state of mind, improved digestion, and a disappearance of anxiety caused by the aging process. If your desire is to age gracefully and are ready to try this comprehensive approach, find a qualified acupuncturist that specializes in this area and discover the possibilities this ancient medicine has to offer.
**Author: Deborah Rinehart RN, DACM
***Thank you to model and expert yoga instructor, Heather @bodyawakenings
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