By: Lynn Jaffee
More and more Americans are expected to live into their 70’s and beyond. With an increased life expectancy and great improvements in health, many women and some men have turned their attention to looking as young as they feel. Billions of dollars are spent annually in the United States on anti-aging creams and cosmetics. Plastic surgery and Botox injections have moved out of the realm of the rich and famous and are increasingly used as a routine first line of defense for anyone looking to take a few years off their face.
There are many people, however, who find the invasive nature and risks associated with surgery or injections more than what they are willing to undergo to look younger. For those who are looking for a safer and more natural alternative, an ancient treatment is taking on a new spin. Lately, aging baby boomers have been turning to cosmetic acupuncture to look younger and improve their health at the same time.
In China, Cosmetic acupuncture was used as long ago as the Sung Dynasty (960AD-1270AD) and was used by the Emperor’s concubines and the Empress herself. It involves the insertion of tiny needles in the face and on points of the body. Based on the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, cosmetic acupuncture works to increase the circulation of energy and blood to the face. This increase in circulation causes more nutrients, collagen and elastin moving to the facial area. Cosmetic acupuncture also works to decrease stress and improve health, which also benefits the appearance of the face.
The effects of cosmetic acupuncture can vary, but may include a more even, glowing complexion, a decrease in fine lines and softening of wrinkles, diminished puffiness around the eyes, and a general lifting of the face, including jowls. In fact, in a 1996 study reported by the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, 90% of the 300 participants reported improvements, such as better complexion, diminished lines and wrinkles, and feeling rejuvenated overall. In addition, many people report other health benefits from cosmetic acupuncture, such as improved digestion, decreased stress, less menstrual discomfort, fewer hot flashes, decreased acne breakouts, and less TMJ symptoms, such as teeth grinding.
Almost anyone can benefit from cosmetic acupuncture, but in general, people in good health will see the most improvement in their skin. Smokers, people with poor digestion, and those who suffer from long-term depleting conditions should resolve their health issues before undergoing cosmetic acupuncture. In addition, cosmetic acupuncture may aggravate migraine headaches.
The drawbacks of cosmetic acupuncture include the fact that unlike the immediate effects of Botox or surgery, usually 10 to 12 acupuncture treatments are needed to see results. In addition, while the results are noticeable, they can be unpredictable as to where and how much improvement is achieved.
Many people who have never had acupuncture think of it as a painful therapy. In reality, most people who have had acupuncture would not describe it as painful. There may be mild discomfort when the needles are inserted and some points on the body and face are more sensitive than others. However, your practitioner can use various insertion techniques on those points to minimize sensation. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing, and some actually fall asleep while the needles are retained.
Cosmetic acupuncture is extremely safe. There is no risk of disfigurement and no recovery time associated with this procedure. Most clients go back to work after having cosmetic acupuncture feeling relaxed and refreshed. Because cosmetic acupuncture benefits your health and decreases stress while it improves your looks, it is considered a rejuvenating therapy in every sense of the word.