Occasionally I get questions about “facial” or “cosmetic acupuncture” — what is it, what can it do, do you do it, etc. So I want to share some information about it. In cosmetic and/or facial acupuncture treatments, the practitioner uses acupuncture points on the body to treat the underlying patterns of disharmony and local face points to address facial symptoms. Facial acupuncture is typically not done as a standalone treatment, rather it works best as part of a whole body approach to wellness.
What to Expect
Each practitioner and each patient are different so the procedure may vary slightly but typically facial cosmetic acupuncture involves inserting thin, tiny, and painless needless into acupuncture points on the face. The idea behind the treatment is to create micro trauma or microscopic wounds that then stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory systems of the body. This stimulation is thought to create an environment where nutrients and oxygen can be delivered more efficiently to your skin. This practice is usually referred to as cosmetic acupuncture because of it’s focus on the skin and its appearance.
However, facial acupuncture can also refer to the use of acupuncture on the face to treat conditions that impact the facial muscles and nerves beyond just rejuvenating the skin. Facial acupuncture is also used to address muscle stiffness, nasal and sinus congestion, allergies, mouth and jaw pain, facial drooping (related to strokes or Bell’s Palsy for example), and headaches. This is more along the lines of a typical acupuncture treatment rather than cosmetic acupuncture treatment goals.
I do not do cosmetic acupuncture treatments, but I do treat a variety of conditions that affect the face, such as those mentioned in the above paragraph, using face points quite regularly. Even though I do not do cosmetic treatments, I want to share information about it so that people know what it is and what it may do for them. So what are the possible benefits?…
Patients who are treated by someone who does cosmetic acupuncture report noticing a difference in their complexion; i.e. fewer and less noticeable wrinkles and fine lines, a firmer skin texture attributed to additional collagen production, and improved elasticity. Patients also may notice tighter pores, improved muscle tone, smoother texture, less pigmentation and/or discoloration, fewer age spots and blemishes, and a reduction in the puffiness under the eyes.
Whole Body Benefits
As mentioned previously, facial acupuncture is rarely done as a standalone treatment because it has some amazing whole-body benefits as well. Each patient is unique and deals with different body imbalances and issues but some of the additional benefits of facial acupuncture include improvements in:
- Hormone balance (i.e. menopause, peri-menopause, premenstrual syndrome, and even thyroid function)
- Sinus congestion
- Headaches (including migraines)
- Jaw Pain (including symptoms of TMJ)
- Bell’s Palsy
- Quality of sleep
- Reduction of stress
By treating the underlying imbalances, acupuncturists seek to help the underlying pattern of disharmony affecting the condition of the patient’s skin, supporting overall better health, and alleviating other health problems.
It can take up to 24 hours to experience the full impact of a facial acupuncture treatment. Your acupuncturist will work with you to develop a treatment plan, but it is common to begin with weekly sessions for approximately 6-8 weeks to achieve desired results. Once you and your acupuncturist feel you are at your goal, regular maintenance appointments can help you maintain your results and keep them for up to a year in some cases.
It’s important to remember that facial acupuncture is not a quick fix like a dermal filler or surgical treatment. However, if you are looking for a safe and effective and non-surgical option, acupuncture is a great choice.
Talk to your acupuncturist about any possible contraindications as you might want to wait for treatment if you have had other procedures done in the last few weeks (i.e. unhealed surgical scars, laser resurfacing, fillers or Botox, or microdermabrasion or other dermal fillers).
And as mentioned at the beginning of the post, cosmetic acupuncture is not a standalone treatment but part of a whole body approach. That also includes things like staying properly hydrated, not smoking, using sunscreen and limiting sun exposure, eating a healthy diet, and caring for your skin with appropriate skin care products.