By Dr Tracey-Ann Brown
For many centuries, Chinese medicine (Oriental medicine) has been used to successfully treat a wide variety of illnesses, allowing patients to overcome many diseases through the use of acupuncture and herbal formulas. Less well known is the use of Chinese medicine to rejuvenate the face.
Acupuncture facial rejuvenation - an extension of Chinese medicine - is quickly growing in popularity. The appeal of acupuncture facial rejuvenation (AFR) is twofold. It allows patients to avoid invasive procedures while simultaneously fortifying the face and the whole body. AFR can produce surprising improvements:
How is this achieved?
Working primarily on the face, super-thin needles are inserted into acupuncture points in the wrinkled and sagging areas and, in some cases, an imperceptible electrical current introduced. The stimulation of these acupuncture points brings qi and to the area stimulating facial muscle tonicity. In addition to these acupuncture points on the face, points on the body, which directly influence specific areas of the face and have the effect of lifting muscle, reducing oedema, moisturising the skin and enhancing overall circulation are stimulated.
Normally, 10 sessions are suggested, twice weekly over the course of five weeks. Two follow-up/maintenance sessions should be done every six months. The full 10-session treatment course should be repeated every three to five years.
Lifestyle, diet & supplementation
In implementing a full facial-rejuvenation programme, the individuals skin care regime and lifestyle is reviewed and recommendations made as appropriate. All this is geared towards slowing the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, bags under the eyes and sagging skin.
Supplements are often suggested alongside AFR treatments, some of which include: vitamin C for collagen production, the main structural component of the inner layer of the skin and vitamin A for maintenance of epithelial tissue. Nutrition and lifestyle recommendations are also made which help to preserve skin - eating a wide variety of organic foods, avoiding processed foods, smoking and unprotected sun exposure. In addition, facial massages, herbal cosmetic products are also recommended.
Expectations & results
While acupuncture facial rejuvenation requires an extended commitment on the part of the patient, it promises a healthier body as well as a glowing face. Patients often report feeling more energetic after their treatments. During the course of treatments, patients learn about skin care, about their body's nutritional requirements and, hopefully will establish a commitment to living more healthily.
Acupuncture facial rejuvenation is not a sudden fix-all, though results will vary from subtle to dramatic. The patient's skin will be toned but not stretched and their history won't be erased from their face, but will appear refreshed. Is this a drawback? Maybe not.
Dr Tracey-Ann Brown is an oriental-medicine practitioner, herbalist and doctor of acupuncture; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.