Greater Houston Acupuncture Alliance
 
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By Lori Earley, L.Ac
Phoenix Rising Acupuncture

Admittedly, when most people consider acupuncture, it’s usually for pain-related issues, like back pain, neck pain, or headaches. However, more and more people are turning to acupuncture for cosmetic results. Cosmetic acupuncture has been brought to the public’s attention by Hollywood A-listers, such as Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Julianne Moore. Even Kim Kardashian (not necessarily an A-lister, but very much a public figure in pop culture) has tweeted pictures of herself while undergoing cosmetic acupuncture treatment.

So, what’s all the buzz? Acupuncture’s anti-aging techniques have been around for centuries, but as more people search for a safe, natural, cost-effective, non-invasive, and chemical-free way to look and feel younger, cosmetic acupuncture is becoming one of the hottest ways to turn back the years because it provides inner balance and outer beauty.

How It Works

Remember that plump, wrinkle-free face we all had in our teens and twenties? That’s thanks to high levels of elastic and collagen. In our thirties, those levels begin to decline. Licensed acupuncturists who have been trained and certified in cosmetic acupuncture use hair-thin needles at different points and locations on the face and neck, causing “micro-traumas” to the area, which, in turn, stimulate collagen and elastin production.

In addition to local face and neck points, most acupuncturists who perform cosmetic acupuncture treatments also use distal – or body – points to treat the underlying cause of aging. This is where the true skill comes in, since only a qualified practitioner can determine the underlying cause of physical signs of aging that is unique to each individual. So, in addition to a facial treatment, a full body treatment is also given at the same time, which increases the effectiveness of the cosmetic results.

Some of the reported results include the following:

  • A reduction or disappearance of fine lines and wrinkles, including crow’s feet
  • A “leveling” of deeper lines, looking softer and less harsh
  • Improvement in acne, rosascea, and melasma
  • Improvement in skin texture & skin tone: firmer, softer, smoother, and more vibrant
  • Fading of age spots and sun damage
  • A more defined jaw line & minimized jowls
  • Lifting of droopy eyelids
  • Beneficial for Bell’s Palsy & facial paralysis
  • Boost in energy & improved sleep
  • Lifted mood, less stress & tension
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduction in hot flashes and night sweats
  • Reduction in PMS symptoms
Course of Treatment

Typically, a course of treatment, which consists of at least 10 to 12 treatments in a 5-week period, is needed to achieve maximum benefits. With repetitive treatments over a short period of time, the collagen and elastin begin to reproduce to plump up the skin, smooth out lines, and tighten skin. Most patients report visible results by the fifth to seventh treatment.

The most dramatic results typically last between 18 months to three years, depending on the health of the individual. Cosmetic acupuncture repairs and restores the health and vitality that the skin enjoyed in prior years, but time and gravity are inevitable and the skin may eventually become damaged again. In order to help prevent damage and further signs of aging, the course of treatment can be repeated at a later time; however, it is recommended that a maintenance treatment be performed every 4 to 8 weeks.

Who is the Appropriate Candidate for Cosmetic Acupuncture?

Cosmetic acupuncture is excellent for anyone who wants to look and feel revitalized without losing the essence of who they are and what they look like. It is the perfect solution for those looking to avoid the risk, cost, and complications associated with many anti-aging procedures and surgeries, and it is the only cosmetic procedure that can provide health benefits along the way; however, it is not advised for those who have uncontrolled hypertension, a history of seizures, suffer from frequent migraines, smoke cigarettes, or women who are pregnant.

Luckily, acupuncture can significantly help with migraines and smoking cessation, so once those are under control, cosmetic acupuncture treatments can begin.

How Can I find a Qualified Practitioner?

Only a Licensed Acupuncturist is qualified to provide cosmetic acupuncture. Chiropractors, MDs, and Physical Therapists, who do not also have a 4-year degree in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine have not been trained in cosmetic acupuncture. In fact, only a few Licensed Acupuncturists have been certified in cosmetic acupuncture, as this is an advanced technique that must be learned outside of the 4-year graduate/Chinese Medical school setting.

Ask your Licensed Acupuncturist if he/she has been certified in cosmetic acupuncture, and have them provide proof of certification.   Most have this certificate hanging in their clinic, or they are able to provide you with access to proof of certification. Cosmetic acupuncture is a delicate technique, and in order to ensure your safety and the most beautiful results, it is best to go with the most trained and experienced. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your health and beauty is worth it.

*This article was originally posted in the May 2015 issue of Indigo Sun magazine.


 

Greater Houston Acupuncture Alliance