A traditional Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture is one of the oldest and most commonly used medicinal procedures in the world. In fact, acupuncture has become an increasingly popular way of regulating a person’s blood pressure, blood flow, and body temperature. What’s more, this ancient Chinese medicine is also becoming a desirable remedy for those wishing to find a more natural way to fight the signs of aging.
Reportedly used by such celebrities as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, cosmetic acupuncture – also known as facial acupuncture – is fast becoming an alternative to the invasive wrinkle-fighting procedures being offered on the plastic surgery market, such as facelifts and botox. But just how effective is this technique in turning back the clock?
What is Cosmetic Acupuncture?
Facial or cosmetic acupuncture is a technique that should only be administered by an acupuncturist licensed by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). It involves the use of pin-like needles that are inserted into various acupuncture points on the face (such as wrinkles or frown lines). The stimulation brought on by the needles is meant to make blood rush to the face, causing it to become flushed. This is because facial acupuncture actually promotes the development of new collagen fibers under already-present wrinkles, in effect filing them in; making them appear less visible.
The idea is that after several sessions the eyes will begin to brighten, skill will become firmer, and lips will become plumper. It is also supposed to remedy blemished skin.
What and Who is it Recommended for?
Traditional Chinese acupuncture adheres to a holistic philosophy about health. Therefore, chances are that if you are seeking out an acupuncturist to help with headaches, he will also be asking you about other aspects of your life, such as your work life, dietary habits and even your sex life.
To this end, cosmetic acupuncture – which focuses exclusively on the face – contradicts this philosophy, making some practitioners reluctant to perform the procedure.
However, there are some licensed acupuncturists who willingly use the technique for strictly cosmetic purposes. It is generally recommended for just about anyone looking to reduce the signs of aging. In fact, some say it can take five to ten years off the look of your skin.
In addition to aiding in the elimination of fine lines, dark circles, and puffy eyes, cosmetic acupunctures has also been touted for the following benefits:
- Tightening of drooping eyelids
- More relaxed muscle tone
- Better circulation, leading to increased oxygenation of the skin
- Increased collagen production
- Less visible pores
- More controlled acne
- Moisturizing skin from inside, producing the appearance of healthier skin by giving rosy cheeks to those with dull, tired-looking skin
On the other hand, facial acupuncture is generally not recommended for those with deep lines or ‘double chins’, and is held not to have as dramatic benefits as a cosmetic surgery facelift.
Are There Any Risks Involved?
When practiced by a licensed acupuncturist, there are very few risks involved with any acupunctures procedure, including cosmetic acupuncture. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of acupuncture needles by licensed practitioners in 1996. The FDA requires the use of sterile, single-use, and nontoxic needles. In light of this, very few cases of complications have been reported.
Of course, complications as a result of inadequate sterilization and improper administration of the treatment continue to be a problem. That is why it is vital that patients ensure that their acupuncturist is registered by the ACAOM.
When not administered properly, acupuncture can result in serious negative side effects, including infection and punctured organs.
How Much Does Cosmetic Acupuncture Cost?
Although facial acupuncture may offer a more natural, less invasive approach to anti aging skin care than other cosmetic surgeries, its price tag still makes it a less desirable option for those seeking remedy for wrinkled skin.
On average, one cosmetic acupuncture session costs about $150. However, more than 25 may be required in order to be effective. In the case of deeper lines, as much as 50 may be necessary to see results.
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