Cosmetic Acupuncture: What Is It?

Have you noticed any fine lines lately? Is your skin looking a bit dull or dehydrated? Do you have acne, rosacea, or hyper-pigmentation?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we believe that the patient’s face acts as a mirror for the overall health and wellbeing of the body. Different areas of the face relate to the internal organs, while different colours can indicate dysfunctions. For example, we relate areas of redness with internal Heat and blue skin shades as internal Cold. The face also reflects the client’s mental, emotional and spiritual health, which the practitioner assesses by looking into the client’s eyes, at their tongue and listening to their voice. As much as it may sound crazy a TCM practitioner can tell a lot about the state of your health and wellbeing just by looking at you!

What is cosmetic acupuncture?

Cosmetic facial rejuvenation acupuncture is a process where the client and the practitioner work closely together to achieve a desired effect. You will receive both a full-body system acupuncture session as well as a specific facial rejuvenation treatment. This is because acupuncture works systemically – we seek to restore balance throughout the whole body in order to increase your overall health as well as provide you with a facial rejuvenation treatment.

How does cosmetic facial rejuvenation acupuncture work?

Cosmetic facial rejuvenation acupuncture works on two levels.

​​WESTERN PERSPECTIVE - needling the face creates a ‘positive microtrauma’. This may sound crazy, but what we’re doing is needling the skin to activate the body’s healing process. By inserting a needle we are pinpointing an area so that they body’s defence mechanisms will travel there and begin to correct the tiny injury that we’ve caused. This stimulates the tissue production centres (the fibroblasts) in the deeper tissue layers, as well as helping to increase the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. This is why your face looks plumper and fine lines begin to fill out directly after a cosmetic rejuvenation session – we’re showing the body exactly where to lay down more collagen and elastin fibres!

CHINESE MEDICINE PERSPECTIVE – needling the face causes Qi and Blood to be transported to the area, increasing the nutrients available to the skin. This is what gives you a rosy, radiant glow and brings a new light to your face.

What should I expect from a cosmetic facial rejuvenation session?

​When you first come in for a cosmetic facial rejuvenation appointment, you will sit down (probably with a cup of tea) and assess your current skin issues and what you would like to address – i.e. fine lines, discolouration, acne etc. I would then chat to you about your other health concerns before formulating a treatment plan that incorporates your facial rejuvenation desires and your health needs. To start with you will receive a normal bodily acupuncture treatment to target your systemic body needles before you receive the facial treatment. You will then get to relax and enjoy a fantastic acupuncture nap underneath the Hot House for roughly 30 minutes. Once the needles have been removed you will experience a gentle facial massage with jade rollers.

WHY JADE? Jade has been used by the Chinese for centuries to cool the skin, improve its texture and smooth away fine lines and impurities in the skin. The massage and the jade rollers will stimulate the blood and lymphatic drainage in the face further and will also help you to return to the land of the living after your blissful acupuncture nap.

What skin conditions can be treated using facial rejuvenation acupuncture?

Most skin conditions can be treated using facial rejuvenation acupuncture. Most generally it is used for dull, dry, dehydrated skin, flaky skin, fine lines and wrinkles, ptosis (drooping eyelids), to lift jowls or just to flush the face with more oxygen and blood to create a radiant glow. In saying that, facial rejuvenation acupuncture can also be hugely helpful for acne, eczema or rosacea. Patients have even found it helpful for Bell’s Palsy, Trigeminal Neuralgia, temperomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) and sinus problems!

Honestly, the options are endless.

How should I look after my skin post-treatment?​​

​After you’ve had a cosmetic acupuncture treatment your skin will be a little bit tender. Not sore, but perhaps like you’ve had a few gentle pins stuck in. You might be a little bit blotchy or have a few small red marks. But apart from that, you should look fairly glowing within 2-5 minutes of getting off the table.

It’s best to drink plenty of water after your treatment (aiming as usual for 6-8 cups per day) and avoid coffee and alcohol – both of which are diuretics and will dehydrate you. Stay out of the sun if possible, and avoid any heavy makeup for the rest of the day. Instead,

let your skin breath! It will be looking pretty

fabulous anyway.

If you wash your face in the evening and put a bit of moisturiser on, maybe give your face a little massage. Use gentle upwards strokes to work your moisturiser or face oil into the skin. It will feel fabulous, help you relax, increase the blood flow in the skin and help increase skin tone.

(Photo: Kim Andreolli, Vogue September 1997)

How many sessions do I need to have?

In order to get the full benefits of facial rejuvenation acupuncture it’s best to have a series of treatments. Generally an initial series is 10 treatments spaced out twice a week of a 5-7 week period. I saw 5-7 weeks because sometimes you can’t make it twice a week. But really, consistency is key. The more you keep to the schedule, the better your results will be. Once you’ve had an initial series, I generally recommend a treatment once a month. The once per month maintenance treatment is quite important to keep up the fantastic glow you receive from the treatments.

How long do the effects last?

Once you’ve had the initial series of 10 treatments you should continue to see the results for 3-6 months after you’ve completed the series of treatments. The effects will vary depending on your lifestyle – such as how much water you drink, whether or not you smoke, how much you’re in the sun and how you look after your skin in general. I’ve had some clients that have come back to me 12 months after they finished their initial series of tre

atments saying that they’re friends still comment on how fantastic they look. Seriously – it is that amazing!

Are there any side effects?

Like with acupuncture treatment, there are some side effects can occur. Minor bruising or small amounts of bleeding are possible, especially as we are needling delicate facial skin. However, I do use specific Chinese herbal liniments when removing the needles to decrease the chances of this. There can also be occasional discomfort or nervy sensations. This can be avoided by letting me know if I’ve hit a particularly tender point.

Where can I find out more?

If you’ve got any questions or you would like to find out if facial rejuvenation acupuncture is for you, give me a call – 0408 402 512 or email me at I look forward to chatting with you!


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