Anti-Aging and Acupuncture

…and now, acupuncture for non-surgical facelifts

Acupuncture is well known for its health benefits—such as reduction of pain, stress management, and enhancement of overall energy. It may come as a surprise that many are now turning to acupuncture as a cosmetic alternative or augmentation to surgical facelifts—and without needles. This new microcurrent technique of facial rejuvenation is performed by licensed acupuncturists who use soft-tipped probes that are moved along the face to stimulate acupuncture points and muscles of the face in order to reduce wrinkles and lines, improve skin tone, and encourage the luminous glow of health that can fade in our busy, stressful lives.

Facial rejuvenation with Chinese medicine is ideal for women and men—as a means of wrinkle prevention as well as for reversing the visible signs of aging. For some, facial rejuvenation has become an important element of preparation for weddings, parties, and other special events. There are health benefits as well. The technique stimulates many energy meridians, often reducing symptoms of disorders such as allergic rhinitis and rosacea. The relaxation experienced during treatments is also a beneficial side-effect.

One of the earliest applications of electrical currents to the body was developed in Japan in the 1940s. Researchers found that small electrical currents facilitated the mending of non-healing bone fractures, reducing the overall amount of time it took to heal. Since then research on microelectrical currents naturally found in the body has led to several different methods of external microcurrent application. Microcurrent stimulation is commonly used by physicians, physical therapists, and acupuncturists to address pain syndromes, sports injuries and to facilitate healing.

Unlike TENS (transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation), a form of therapy commonly used to block pain, microcurrent stimulation uses a tiny current, from 10-100 times less electricity than TENS. This extremely small amount of electricity registers as a mild tingle and has been found to increase the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) a cell produces, the chemical fuel of human cells. This increased level of ATP speeds the cellular metabolism of the skin cells, resulting in an increased rate of waste and impurity elimination. Protein synthesis and cellular membrane transport are also increased. The results of these processes can be seen in improved skin tone and coloration.

The rather unusual use of microcurrent stimulation as an "acupuncture facelift" evolved out of treatments devised for Bell's Palsy, a type of facial paralysis. In addition to an improvement in paralysis, researchers applying electric stimulation to traditional acupuncture points on the face noted a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the skin, with improved muscle tone, more even skin coloration, and a diminishing of wrinkles and fine lines.

Although less dramatic and rapid than conventional plastic surgery, an "acupuncture facelift" is ideal for those seeking a natural-looking reduction in the signs of aging without the costs and risks of surgery. It can also be used in conjunction with traditional surgery as a means of maximizing and prolonging the effects. Unlike surgery, no substantial health risks are associated with this alternative procedure. Also, this therapy does not result in an overly thin, stretched skin appearance, and may improve skin thickness and elasticity. Furthermore, the procedure is not painful; most people find it relaxing—many fall asleep during the half hour procedure. Combining traditional acupuncture with microcurrent therapy enhances results, but it is not required to achieve a more vital, healthy, and youthful appearance.

Followup Article...

We have been getting so many inquiries about Facial Rejuvenation with Chinese Medicine that we thought we would write a follow-up to our original article. In our previous article, we described the relatively new technique of using non-invasive electrical acupuncture stimulation to improve the appearance of the face. This technique, sometimes described as an "acupuncture face lift," is a non-surgical approach to enhance the health of the face and create a youthful, vibrant appearance as an alternative to the traditional facelift. In addition to those seeking to reduce visible signs of aging, this procedure helps those with younger skin who just want to look better or prevent the early signs of aging. One of the most common questions we have received is how many treatments are required to see results. The number really varies depending on what the goals of the patient are, and how much skin damage a person has. Generally, most people receive between 5 and 20 treatments, with healthier skin requiring less. Some people like to use it on an as needed basis just to help look their best for special events, and in that case a person may receive only one treatment, similar to getting a traditional facial. The next most common inquiry we have received is what sort of results a person might expect from this procedure. Generally, the first area people notice a difference in is an improvement in skin coloration, especially in the eye area. Many people have darkness or circles under their eyes or on the eyelids, making them look especially fatigued or generally depressed. This is especially common in allergy sufferers. This technique reduces this dark coloration, bringing the skin back to a healthier, more even-colored appearance. In people who have darker skin, they may notice a gradual graying of the skin as they age or even in younger people who are under a lot of stress. This lustreless look also improves with this technique. Likewise, in those who are more fair-skinned, who have a tendency toward red discoloration, an overall reduction in redness results from this electrical stimulation technique. One of the next things that people notice over the course of treatments that can be dramatic in some cases, is a reduction in puffiness or bags under the eyes. This is a common problem for many patients, young and old, and many people dislike the tired appearance of puffiness under the eyes. For those with more signs of aging such as wrinkling or sagging of the skin, after several treatments patients notice an increase in skin tone, which results in a tightening effect. This improvement in muscle tone was dramatic in patients being treated for Bell's Palsy, and was actually the finding that originated this technique of using microcurrent electrical stimulation for improving the appearance of the face. One area of particular concern for many people is the neck region and its propensity for developing lines and or sagging skin. Facial rejuvenation helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and makes deeper lines appear much less prominent. It also has an overall lifting effect so that the skin appears more taut, and in some patients this may create the appearance that the person has lost some weight in the face. One of the comments we have received from numerous patients is that with this treatment they feel like their appearance more accurately reflects their overall state of health. Many people take good care of themselves, eat well, and exercise, yet with the stress of daily life feel that they do not look their best. As one patient described, "I just don't have an exercise regimen for my face." This procedure can be seen as a type of exercise for the face, and results in a more relaxed, refreshed look that people feel good about.