I had 13 needles poked in my face . And how was your day?
Acupuncture facelifts, also referred to as acufacials, acupuncture rejuvenation facials, cosmetic acupuncture, facial acupuncture and, the Mei Zen method, which translates into ‘beautiful person’, which I like.
Whatever it’s called, there are some definite aesthetic benefits to getting acupuncture on your face.
Acupuncture in Aesthetics
I think the best way for you to make an intelligent decision when deciding whether an acupuncture facelift is right for you – or right at all – is to have a basic knowledge of some theories behind acupuncture. Let’s start with the masters of the technique.
The Eastern Theory of Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been practiced by the Chinese since 2004. Kidding, actually there are records dating back to 100 B.C. and the practice has ebbed and flowed in popularity ever since. In the 1960’s it had a big comeback and has been going strong in the East and West ever since.
A simplistic way to describe the Eastern theory behind acupuncture is that there are energy pathways (aka meridians) running through our bodies. Our energy, or ‘qi’, is constantly flowing along these pathways, but when there is a disruption in the flow of qi (picture a traffic jam) we suffer from all sorts of ailments and disease.
To reinvigorate the flow, needles are inserted into acupoints along the meridians, removing the obstructions.
The Western Theory of Acupuncture
Western scientists have some theories of their own. One theory, which I think of as the ‘comfort theory’ describes the meridians as neurohormonal pathways and, by stimulating certain areas along the pathway, you can send signals to the brain to release neural hormones, like beta-endorphins, increasing the body’s pain threshold and, in some instances, causing a kind of euphoria.
Uh. Yeah. I’m not sure who the clinical subjects were in that study, but when needles are put all over my body and I’m told to stay still for 20 mins plus, I freak the h*ll out! But moving on…
A second theory, this one specifically for the treatment of nerve related conditions, is that when a needle is inserted in certain points of your body, it sends strongly worded messages asking our brain to produce a nerve growth factor to help our nerves regenerate.
There are more theories out there, but I think this provides you with enough info to move on in this conversation. So, how can acupuncture benefit us aesthetically, particularly in the facial area?
What Exactly is an Acupuncture Facelift?
First of all, I want to say that the term ‘acupuncture facelift’ is super sensationalized, probably made up by Dr. Oz or someone, and is in no way a substitute for a real facelift. Period.
So, before I submit myself to the torture of acupuncture (some find it relaxing, me not so much), in my face no less, I wanted to know specifically why it’s supposed to work. I mean, what will it actually do for my skin? Here’s what I discovered:
- In the practice of acupuncture, it is believed that each part of our face is directly related to an organ in our body. By putting needles in corresponding points, energy can more freely flow to your organs, giving your skin a healthy glow.
- And not just your face, by inserting needles in certain acupoints along your body, such as between your toes or the area between you thumb and forefinger, you can promote energy flow to your digestion system making your skin more rosy and less sallow or grey.
- By inserting needles into your skin you cause mini-traumas which triggers the production of collagen and elastin at the site and the area around it. And we all know that collagen and elastin are the building blocks for tight youthful skin.
How it Goes Down
I can tell you how it went down but why don’t I just show you?
Basically, I had 11 needles placed in my face and two in my hands. They were super thin needles but some of them really smarted going in – most of them actually. It wasn’t a totally comfortable feeling, and when she left me in the room for 20 or so minutes, it took about 15 of those for me to get calm, mainly thinking about the chili dog I would be having after this brave experiment.
Once I did find my peace it started to feel relaxing though. Kind of like a ‘leave my body’ experience – but the chili dog was waiting, so thirty minutes after the treatment started, I was needle-free and leaving the office. I was as intact as when I arrived.
Results of my Acupuncture Facelift
It wasn’t until later that I noticed the real difference. My skin had a glow to it, kind of like you get after a good work out. When we went out that evening I simply added some mascara and headed out the door (ok, after trying on 6 different outfits, losing and finding my cell phone 3 times and, with the assistance of Mr. BeautyBlackBook, picking out a handbag).
Keep in mind, I only had one treatment. For the full benefit, it is suggested to get 10. Each treatment runs anywhere from $75 to $150 depending where you go, etc. Packages generally come out cheaper.
So does it really ‘lift’ your face? I’m going to say no. But the benefit to your skin is totally worth it, not to mention your qi.