Facial Revitalisation Acupuncture or Cosmetic Acupuncture (FRA)
Traditional acupuncture uses the concept of Qi (energy) flowing in channels throughout the body. Blockage or depletion of Qi results in a pathology or disharmony in the corresponding organ or tissue. The insertion of very fine needles into specific points along the channels increases the flow of qi and blood to the local area and along the path of the channel, thus relieving presenting symptoms. Many of the 12 acupuncture channels flow to and from the face and so the idea of acupuncture being used as a cosmetic procedure on the face would seem feasible and has, in fact, been in use in China for thousands of years.
We are all probably aware that our inner health and vitality show up on our face. Thus, in order to keep ourselves looking and feeling good we must address the health and wellbeing of our whole body. Following a good diet, taking regular exercise and adequate rest are essential to keep ourselves functioning at our best. Inner disharmony can also arise due to emotional stress, disease or under-functioning of organ systems. If any of these are present they must be addressed before commencing FRA or at least included in the treatment protocol.
The important channels affecting the face are the Lung channel which governs the skin, the Large Intestine channel which is related to the Lung channel, the Stomach channel which crosses the face and the Spleen channel which is related to the Stomach channel. Hence, it is common when undergoing cosmetic acupuncture to needle distal points on these channels i.e. around the ankle or wrist which will benefit both the organ system and the opposite end of the channel – the face. It is also important to needle local points on the wrinkles themselves. Insertion of needles promotes a local healing mechanism bringing blood and nutrients to the area resulting in collagen production.
It is notable that the natural ageing process brings with it a decline in the function of all our body systems. Our ability to digest and absorb nutrients decreases as does the ability to remove toxins (by-products of cell activity). Thus FRA, in conjunction with body points, will help bring these systems up to their optimal levels in accordance with the age and constitution of the patient.
Who is it for?
Virtually anyone can benefit from FRA but is ideal for the 40 – 60 year old age group. The results on wrinkle reduction, skin toning and muscle firming are good and noticeable in this group. For younger patients the result will not be as dramatic as the appearance of wrinkles at this stage will be much less. However, in terms of wrinkle prevention FRA would be recommended for the under 35’s.
Who would not benefit?
There are certain conditions that would not benefit from FRA and some where it would be positively contraindicated. Whatever the condition body acupuncture would still be beneficial. So if you suffer from any of the following FRA treatment is not for you:
∙ High Blood Pressure
∙ Headaches, dizziness, migraines
∙ Facial lymphedema
∙ Wheezing/asthma attack
∙ Colds and flu symptoms
∙ Heamophilia and easily bruised
How many treatments?
A one off acupuncture facial will certainly leave your skin feeling invigorated and fresh. However, the effects will not be long lasting. To maximize results a course of 12 treatments is advised (depending on the patient) with a more frequent regime in the initial stage: twice weekly for 3 weeks and once weekly for 6 weeks is more effective that once weekly for 12 weeks.
Will it last?
Once the initial treatment course has finished, seasonal or monthly top up treatments will prolong the effect. Like all facial treatments the permanency cannot be guaranteed but regular follow up treatments will definitely increase the lasting qualities.
ESME FLOYD (2011), Could acupuncture make you more attractive? : femail.co.uk. Available online at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-76858/Could-acupuncture-make-attractive.html
Virginia Doran (2012), An Introduction to Facial Revitalisation Acupuncture EJOM Vol 5 No 5. Available at: http://www.ejom.co.uk/vol-5-no-5/featured-articles/an-introduction-to-facial-revitalisation-acupuncture.html