Acupuncture has been used as an alternative health practice to treat a variety of conditions either in conjunction with or instead of traditional western medicine. While Botox is the current mainstay of injected cosmetic treatments, some believe using acupuncture needles without the drugs will provide less invasive and longer lasting facial benefits. Can acupuncture actually reduce wrinkles or is this wishful thinking?
Cosmetic acupuncture is usually performed in hourly sessions twice a week for at least 10 sessions. Acupuncture works on the principle that it unblocks energy pathways called “Qi” allowing the released flow to return the body to health.
Facial acupuncture involves placing needles around the eyes, neck and face. Some practitioners may place needles in other places in the body along meridians that may also benefit the face. There are no peer-reviewed studies that support the benefits of facial acupuncture but studies involving other health conditions have showed improvement through its use.
Cosmetic acupuncture claims to help:
● Stimulate collagen production and improve muscle tone
● Eliminate bags, fine lines as well as larger wrinkles
● Tighten pores and brighten eyes
● Improve blood and lymph flow improving facial color and reducing puffiness
● Reduce stress and improve general well being.
According to Dr. Richard G. Glogau, a clinical professor of dermatology at University of California, San Francisco as reported in The New York Times, “It’s obvious that people carry around a lot of muscle tension in their face, which gives them frowns and wrinkles,” he said. “My take on this is that they are producing relaxation in the muscles of the face.”
There is a procedure called collagen induction therapy (CIT) that works on the principle that controlled “damage” to the skin from needles on a skin roller stimulate collagen formation. See my article at www.empowher.com/news/herarticle/2009/12/23/skin-needling-treats-acne-scars-wrinkles-and-stretch-marks . However Glogau indicated with only a handful of acupuncture needle punctures used during a session, there wouldn’t be significant collagen formation stimulated.