What Is Cosmetic Acupuncture, Anyways?

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Cosmetic acupuncture, also known as facial rejuvenation acupuncture, has been part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years. Cosmetic acupuncture is a skin care treatment that rejuvenates the appearance of your skin to help reduce and prevent the common signs of aging. 

During treatment, several very small thin needles are placed in specific locations across the face. These needles act as triggers causing your body to increase blood flow and stimulate your skin to produce an increase in collagen and elastin. This leads to a more healthy skin appearance.

When people think about cosmetic procedures, fillers or Botox usually come to mind first. You may be concerned about the unwanted side effects that come with Botox injections. Cosmetic acupuncture is an excellent alternative treatment to Botox and has few side effects aside from occasional bruising. 

During your acupuncture treatment, your acupuncturist will assess your overall health and discuss your main concerns before proceeding. 

How does cosmetic acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works by improving and stimulating the flow of Qi and Blood throughout your body, and balancing the various systems that influence wellness. As we age, we may experience different signs of aging, such as fine lines, puffiness, loss of skin elasticity, changes in skin coloration, and changes in tone of facial muscles. When this occurs, cosmetic acupuncture may be used by your acupuncturist to aid in the treatment of these issues. 

Cosmetic acupuncture treatments, also known as facial acupuncture or facial rejuvenation, work to help improve elastin and collagen production and increase blood flow to the face. It is an excellent alternative to Botox or fillers, or can be used in combination with these techniques in some cases. In addition to your acupuncture treatments in the clinic, you may want to try gua sha at home, to help stimulate your skin between treatments. 

Usually, several acupuncture treatments are needed to see lasting effects. Usually we recommend coming in for at least three to five treatments to see initial effects, with further treatments needed for more noticeable and lasting effects. Sessions are about an hour long, and can be done once or twice a week. 

When you receive cosmetic acupuncture, the effects will not be as noticeable as you would see with medical treatments such as Botox or fillers.  Cosmetic acupuncture leads to a more subtle difference, but does not have the same potential side effects as Botox or fillers. You can expect to see a decrease in some fine lines, better skin appearance and brightness, and changes in skin discolorations.  The effects vary from person to person, and cannot be predicted until after the cosmetic treatment has been tried.

What are some ailments cosmetic acupuncture can treat?

Facial rejuvenation has been a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years.There are several different techniques that fall under the umbrella of facial rejuvenation, including needling, facial cupping, and gua sha. In our clinic, our acupuncturist focuses on needling techniques. Facial cupping and gua sha are used to improve blood flow and the stimulation of the lymphatic system, and are beneficial for general wellness; while needling more specifically focuses on fine lines, improving complexion, and other signs of aging. 

Cosmetic acupuncture can help with

  • fine lines and wrinkles
  • sagging jawline
  • changes in skin coloration
  • improving skin tone and brightness
  • reducing puffiness
  • increasing collagen and elastin production

What is the difference between botox and cosmetic acupuncture?

Botox, fillers, and cosmetic acupuncture are different facial treatments that are often  used for anti-aging therapy in the treatment of fine lines. Botox and fillers are medical aesthetic treatments, versus cosmetic acupuncture which is a specialized  type of acupuncture treatment. Our clinic offers Cosmetic acupuncture performed by our registered acupuncturist. 

Botox is a drug that uses the botulinum toxin to reduce wrinkles. Botox is injected into facial muscles to paralyse the muscles, blocking movement and relaxing them to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Botox was originally developed for medical uses, and is used for conditions like neck spasms, jaw pain, migraines, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), and bladder dysfunction. For facial rejuvenation, Botox is generally just used at the forehead and around the eyes. Results usually last 3 to 4 months. Side effects of Botox can include pain, bruising, swelling, headache, drooping muscles, crooked smile, eye dryness or tearing, weakness or paralysis in nearby muscles. 

Fillers are the injection of natural or man-made substances under the skin with the goal of filling in wrinkles, increasing volume and creating a smoother appearance. This is a temporary treatment as the fillers are eventually absorbed by the skin.  Effects can last up to 6 months. Side effects include bruising, pain, itching, infections, or allergic reactions, and vision loss. 

Cosmetic acupuncture is a natural alternative to medical cosmetic procedures, and is performed by the insertion of tiny needles throughout the face. These needles are left in place for up to half an hour, and followed by mild electrical stimulation of the skin, and then a soothing jade roller treatment at the end. The treatment takes about an hour overall, and can be performed up to twice a week.  People generally come in for a series of 3-5 treatments to start, and then assess the results before deciding what schedule to continue on with. 

The acupuncture points used for cosmetic acupuncture are a combination of traditional acupuncture points, and localized points focusing on specific areas of concern and overall skin health. This helps increase the healing response of the body, increasing the natural production of collagen and elastin. Cosmetic acupuncture can help reduce fine lines, puffiness, and swelling in the face, improve complexion and skin tone, and overall signs of aging. 

The side effects of cosmetic acupuncture may include occasional mild bruising or localized pain which is generally quite minor. Cosmetic acupuncture is not a surgical procedure, and changes in facial appearance vary from person to person. After your initial series of treatments, future treatments will be needed to maintain results, and you may experience normal changes in facial appearance due to aging.

What can I expect at my first session?

At your first cosmetic acupuncture treatment you will be asked to fill out a detailed intake form. This tells your acupuncturist about your overall health so that the facial treatment can be modified based on your underlying health concerns. After discussing what areas of concern that you wish to address, you and your acupuncturist will decide what will be the best treatment plan for you. 

You may come once a month, once a week, or more frequently, depending on what your expectations for facial acupuncture may be, and how suitable the treatment is for you. 

Treatment starts with the insertion of several tiny needles throughout the face, as well as some body points. These needles are left in for twenty to thirty minutes, while you relax.  Then after they are removed, the skin is stimulated with a mild electrical stimulation, followed by a soothing jade roller. The total time for the treatment is approximately sixty minutes. Overall, the treatment is very relaxing and pleasant. 

Treatment results will not be as drastic as they might be with fillers or Botox, and vary from person to person. Many people notice a reduction in fine lines, brightening of the skin, and overall improvement in skin tone. It is best to discuss with your acupuncturist what kind of results you may see and how long they may last.

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