By Michelle Gellis AP, DiplAc
The use of motor points in the acupuncture treatment of musculoskeletal pain has become very popular in recent years. Less familiar to most practitioners is the use of facial motor points in the treatment of both neuromuscular conditions, and for cosmetic purposes. The use of motor points to treat pain dates back to the work of A.H. Bennett, M.D. in 1882.1 More recently, the work of several researchers has built the foundation for the growing use of motor points by acupuncturists to restore muscle function.2
Motor points are located at the most electrically excitable part of the muscle where the motor nerve bundle is attached. More specifically, a motor point is defined as ‘the skin region where an innervated muscle is most accessible to percutaneous electrical excitation at the lowest intensity. This point, on the skin, generally lies over the neurovascular hilus of the muscle and the muscle’s band or zone of innervation.’3 When a muscle is in spasm, it has lost its ability to function properly. Correct needle insertion into the muscle’s motor point will cause it to ‘jump’, which resets the muscle to normal function. When a muscle is in flaccid state, it has also lost its ability to fire properly. By stimulating the motor point, the flaccid muscle can return to a functional state. Motor points are not the same as trigger points. Trigger points are tender points in the muscle that most people refer to as ‘knots’, which can refer pain to other parts of the body.4 Motor points tend to contain a larger concentration of nerve endings than other areas in the muscle and are more electrically excitable.5 They are neuromuscular junctions and are anatomically specific6
Facial motor points are unique in several ways: 1) Facial muscles are thinner than most of the muscles in our body therefore require a different needling technique. 2) Most muscles in our bodies attach to bones or other muscles, however facial muscles attach to our skin, giving us the ability to make facial expressions. Therefore, they can be used to rejuvenate the skin by relaxing tight muscle and wrinkles. 3) Unlike the motor points on the body, there are no huatuojiaji points that correspond to the motor points on the face.
Many facial motor points correspond with traditionally documented acupuncture points, such as Yangbai GB-14 for the frontalis muscle and Quanliao SI-18 for the zygomaticus major muscle.7 They are often located in the belly of the muscle. Motor points used in treating facial conditions are all innervated by the seventh cranial nerve, except those of the masseter and temporalis muscles. To determine which motor points to needle, one must identify which muscle(s) are affected. For example, if a patient cannot smile, there are four main muscles that may be affected. The zygomaticus major (which draws the angle of the mouth upward and outward), zygomaticus minor (elevates the upper lip), the levator labii superioris (elevates the upper corner of mouth) and the risorius (retracts the angle of the mouth laterally). Once the affected muscles have been identified, the corresponding motor points can be treated. Motor point needling is effective for many conditions involving paralysis. Needling a motor point helps a muscle to recover its length. Readers should note that learning to locate and needle facial motor points effectively typically requires special training, usually in a hands-on environment. Arnica gel is usually applied to the skin to prevent bruising, and a 0.16-millimeter gauge needle is inserted into the belly of the muscle and vigorously lifted and thrusted until the muscle jumps. If performed incorrectly, stimulation of a motor point can cause damage to the facial nerves. Proper screening for contraindications such as neuropathy or concurrent use of anticoagulants, or thrombocytopenia or lymphedema is essential. Recorded webinars on the use of facial motor points and live classes on cosmetic acupuncture can be accessed at https://www,facialacupunctureclasses.com.
Part of this article was taken from the Journal of Chinese Medicine • Number 110 • February 2016-A Multifaceted Approach to the Acupuncture Treatment of Neuromuscular Facial Conditions-Michelle Gellis
1 Bennet, A., (1882). A Practical Treatise on Electro-diagnosis in Diseases of the Nervous System. J.H. Vail & Company: New York
2 Gunn, C.C., Milbrandt, W.E, Little, A.S. & Mason, K.E. (2002). “Dry-Needling of Muscle Motor Points for Chronic Low-Back Pain: a randomized clinical trial with long-term follow-up” Spine, 5, 279-29
3 Callison, M., (2007). Motor Point Index: An Acupuncturist’s Guide to Locating and Treating Motor Points. AcuSport Seminar Series: San Diego
4 Hong, C.Z. (1994). “Lidocaine Injection Versus Dry Needling to Myofascial Trigger Point”, American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 73, 256–263.
5Lomo, T. (1976) “The role of activity in the control of membrane and contractile properties of skeletal muscle” in Thesleff, S., (ed.). Motor Innervation of Muscle. Academic Press: London
6Walthard, K.M. & Tchicaloff, M. (1971). Motor points. Electrodiagnosis and electromyography. Licht, S., (ed.), Third Edition. Waverly Press: Baltimore, Chapter 6, p 153-170
7 Liu, Y.K., Varela, M. & Oswald, R., (1975). “The correspondence between some motor points and acupuncture loci”, American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 3, 347-358.
I am frequently asked about studies and articles which have been done on facial acupuncture. I’ve compiled a list of a few.
- Meridional Cosmetology: Report of 300 Cases with Discussion of Underlying Mechanism. International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture, Vol 7, No 4.
- Effect of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture on Facial Elasticity: An Open-Label, Single-Arm Pilot Study
- The effect of Miso facial acupuncture on facial reduction and improvement of skin condition
- The journal of Korean acupuncture & moxibustion medicine society Vol. 29 No. 4 August 2012
- A Multifaceted Approach to the Acupuncture Treatment of Neuromuscular Facial Conditions
The following article, “The Importance of Clearing Blocks Prior to Facial Acupuncture Treatment”, was published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine. Below is the abstract and a link to the article.
Rooted in traditional acupuncture theory, the method of clearing blocks before initiating further treatment is essential to facial acupuncture. A block is defined as a break in, or impediment to, the smooth flow of qi through the body. Blocks can prevent facial acupuncture treatment from being effective, and unless cleared can mean treatment can aggravate patients’ symptoms. This article covers the theory, diagnosis and treatment of blocks as practised in the five element style of acupuncture, and discusses the importance of clearing these blocks in order for facial acupuncture to be safe and effective. Also included is a discussion of the feedback mechanism between our emotions, facial expressions and internal organs, and why clearing blocks is vital to this mutual exchange.
Click on link below for the full article:
By Michelle Gellis, AP, DiplAc.
For those seeking to add Facial Acupuncture to their practice, this article discusses the importance of proper training with facial acupuncture CEU certification classes.
Facial Acupuncture, also known as Cosmetic Acupuncture, is one of the fastest growing areas in our industry. When done properly it can add value and an additional stream of income to your practice. Many practitioners have recognized this and are jumping on the bandwagon. However, some are attempting to practice without getting facial acupuncture certification. This has lead to untrained practitioners, and improper technique which unfortunately is being publicized on social media, and other places on the internet.
As a nationally recognized, published expert in facial acupuncture my facial acupuncture CEU certification classes are designed to uphold the integrity, safety and professionalism of cosmetic acupuncture. Many of the photos circulating on social media portray facial acupuncture practices involving excessive needles, placed improperly.
The following are five reasons why it is crucial to get facial acupuncture certification before attempting to practice on your patients.
1) The overall efficacy of facial acupuncture treatment is dependent on in-depth knowledge of Facial Anatomy and Neuroanatomy. During a facial acupuncture CEU certification class you will review the nerves, muscles and bones which make up the intricate facial structure and function of the facial nerves, muscles and vascular system.
2) TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE! Proper needling technique must be taught in a hands-on supervised environment. Facial acupuncture has unique safety concerns. Due to the number of needles used in facial acupuncture, the fragility of the facial blood vessels and capillaries, proper training is required to understand the precautions which must be taken in order to avoid bruising or swelling. Additionally, techniques such as submuscular needling, proper use of intradermals, facial motor points, and scalp acupuncture are not something you can self teach. The photos below represent proper and improper needling techniques.
Improper Facial Acupuncture Needling:Proper Facial Needling Technique:
3) Learning to screen for contraindications is imperative. Unlike most forms of acupuncture, facial acupuncture can have serious side effects if done improperly. Migraines, stroke, bruising and feinting can occur if these contraindications are not screened for thoroughly. Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes will review potential contraindications to treatment.
4) Facial Acupuncture must include a comprehensive treatment protocol. In order to properly ground the patient, address underlying pathology, and treat all levels of the face (skin, muscles, fat, etc.) body points, clearing treatments, facial cupping, facial gua sha and microneedle derma rolling should all be included in treatment.
5) It’s not just about wrinkles! Skin care is not something that is typically taught in acupuncture school. Treating conditions such as acne, melasma, rosacea, large pores, brown spots, “drinkers nose” broken capillaries, pale skin etc. requires knowledge of the etiology, TCM protocols, nutrition, and topical products which can rejuvenate and maintain a youthful and healthy glow to the skin.You can learn more about Gellis Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes by visiting my website. All classes are NCCAOM, FL and CA approved for CEUs.
Spring is finally here and all those months of dry heat , not enough fresh air, winter colds and holiday parties can really show up on your face! There are many options available these days that promise to erase the signs of aging from the face — lasers, peels, injections, and of course surgery. But for those of us who would rather choose a more gentle and natural approach to revitalizing the skin and rejuvenating our appearance — without the risk of scars, infection, disfiguration, toxic build-up of chemicals or downtime — Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is a gentle, effective, and safe way to combat the signs of aging skin.
Acupuncture offers many benefits to those who want to revitalize the look and feel of their skin. It builds collagen, tones muscles, improves circulation, and stimulates blood flow with no risk of scars, infections, or rashes. Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is much more than a cosmetic procedure. Acupuncture changes the energy flow within the body and initiates the process for constitutional rejuvenation. If energy is not flowing freely throughout your body then your organs, muscles and lymphatic system cannot function properly, which can contribute to puffiness, bags and premature aging.
Each facial rejuvenation acupuncture treatment is 1.5 hours long and is part of a 12-20 treatment series. Maintenance sessions are scheduled according to the individual’s needs after the initial series. You may see changes as soon as the first treatment is completed, but each succeeding treatment builds on the last.
Some of the Benefits you may see from facial rejuvenation acupuncture treatment:
- fine lines reduced
- deeper wrinkles diminished
- eye lids lifted
- reduced bags/circles
- Jowls firmed, double chin minimized
- Improved muscle tone
- increase in collagen production
- puffiness eliminated by eliminating excess fluids
- hormonal balance improved
- acne reduced
- Increased circulation of blood and lymph to the face and improved facial color
- Rosacea less apparent
- Can significantly reduce the appearance of scars and age spots
- Promotes overall health and well being
Does it really work?
A 1996 report in the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture reported that in 300 cases treated with Facial Acupuncture, 90% had marked effects with one course of treatment. Documented effects included: improvement of the facial muscles, leveling of wrinkles, and other benefits–not confined to face.
Spring Time Special: Buy 12 sessions, get a FREE Aculift Microneedle Dermal Roller ($45 value). Visit www.gellisacupuncture.com for more information.
“Since I started facial rejuvenation, the lines on my forehead have become noticeably smoother. The color and tone of my skin has improved. But best of all, the brown spots on my face, which I have had for years, are fading and breaking up! I am not sure which I am happiest about–the improved texture of my skin or the lighter brown spots!”- Anita
“I have been going to Michelle for several months to fight the signs of aging. Michelle is absolutely by far the best! People keep asking me how I stay so young! I have tried several acupuncturists before but have never experienced such remarkable, extremely obvious results before Michelle. When people ask my age they can’t believe I’m over 50. My skin looks and feels great, wrinkles are diminished, and my energy level is unbelievable. Michelle’s treatment area is very comfortable, professional and relaxing; I highly recommend Michelle for facial rejuvenation and stress reduction! Thanks Michelle!! You’re the best………….. Jenny, Age 57
Michelle Gellis is a licensed, Board Certified, Acupuncturist. She is a faculty member and clinic supervisor at the TAI Sophia Institute in North Laurel. Michelle also teaches Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation classes to acupuncturists. She has offices in Fulton and at TAI Sophia. She can be reached at 301-725-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking to build your cosmetic acupuncture practice, also known as facial acupuncture or facial rejuvenation acupuncture, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Read on for six ways to build your cosmetic acupuncture practice.
1) Be good at what you do. Results will bring in new patients and help you build your cosmetic acupuncture practice. If you have taken a facial acupuncture class certification course you will need to practice on someone for 8-12 treatments in order to master your new skills before you start treating patients.
2) Get certified. No amount of self-teaching or online course can replace getting fully trained by a certified instructor. Treating the face is unique and requires training in a small hands-on class setting. For more information see my blog post what to look for in a facial acupuncture class.
3) Advertise! This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many people take my classes and never announce it to their community. Let your current patients know that you are certified in facial acupuncture, announce it on social media, write a piece for your newspapers beauty section.
4) Venture out. Consider offering facial acupuncture treatments at a local spa or salon or a medical aesthetics office a few hours a week to help build your cosmetic acupuncture practice. Facial acupuncture is becoming more popular and customers are asking for it more and more.
5) Add a page to your website. Educate, educate, educate. Talk about training you’ve received, if you assisted me, mention it! Before and after’s and blogs are great once you have them, if you don’t, you may contact me for permission to use/link to mine until you have some of your own.
6) Differentiate yourself with unique skills. Learning submuscular needling, facial motor points, scalp acupuncture for the face and other unique skills can expand your business even further. I offer recorded CEU webinars on treating neuromuscular facial conditions.
By Michelle Gellis LAc MAc DiplAc
By Michelle Gellis LAcMAcDiplAc
More and more people are turning to high tech, trendy, anti aging treatment to improve their skin. Every time I am at a social gathering of my ‘40 something’ peers, I overhear women talking about Botox, fillers, lasers and cosmetic surgery. These procedures are quick and typically effective, although most involve considerable risk, pain, down time due to bruising and swelling, and can be disfiguring. All of these procedures have one thing in common, they don’t treat the causes of aging, just the results of it.
There is one modality for anti aging treatment for the skin which actually improves the health of the person while also giving cosmetic results: Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture. Acupuncture facial rejuvenation focuses on restoring and maintaining good health while providing cosmetic improvements. Different organs are addressed from a Chinese medicine perspective such as the spleen, which in Chinese medicine is responsible for holding things up, or the lungs which control the skin.
Conditions such as blood or Qi deficiency or stagnation can lead to poor circulation and dry withered looking skin. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is a fundamental concept of everyday Chinese culture. At the core of Chinese medicine is the philosophy that Qi flows throughout the body. Qi is loosely translated to ‘life force’ that is part of everything that is alive. Where there is no Qi there is no life. Qi helps to animate the body and protect it from illness, pain and disease. A person’s health is influenced by the quality, quantity and balance of Qi.
The Chinese character for Qi shows steam rising from a pot of cooking rice. In order to maintain health, we need to keep the ‘rice pot lid moving’ appropriately so that it does not get stuck closed or blown off.
Chi Steam/Energy Cooking Rice
Qi is circulated through specific pathways called meridians. There are 14 main meridian pathways throughout the body. Each is connected to specific organs and glands. Meridian pathways are like rivers transporting life-giving Qi to nourish and energize every cell organ gland tissue and muscle. When Qi flows freely throughout the body, one enjoys physical, mental and emotional well being. An obstruction of Qi anywhere in the body is like a dam, backing up the flow in one area and restricting it in other. This blockage can hinder the distribution of the nourishment that the body requires to function optimally.
Regular acupuncture treatments as part of your wellness plan can improve your health at the same time as minimizing wrinkling and sagging. What anti aging treatment could be better?
“After only one treatment I noticed my furrowed brows were markedly more relaxed. The lines were not nearly as deep. People commented on the glow my skin has. This is great!”
“When I came home after my sixth treatment my husband said my eyebrows were arched so high I looked like Bette Davis! I was thrilled! People have come up to me and asked what I have been doing, my skin tone and texture are so different…”
By Michelle Gellis LAc MAc DiplAc
Recently cosmetic acupuncture, also known as facial rejuvenation acupuncture, has been getting a lot of media attention. Celebrities such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie and Julianne Moore all have used Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation as a way to maintain and improve their appearances.
Cosmetic Acupuncture represents a safe and natural method to promote youthfulness and enhance natural beauty. For stars, the ability to express themselves through their face is vital, however many popular procedures such as Botox injections can make it impossible to frown or make other expressions. Chemical peels, laser treatments or surgery are painful and involve downtime.
By using Acupuncture to refresh your appearance you can take 5-10 years off the look of your skin, but you will still look like you! Acupuncture facial rejuvenation requires no downtime and is safe and painless.
But is this a new, trendy procedure? No. As early as the Sung Dynasty (960AD-1270AD) Acupuncture Rejuvenation practices were employed for the Empress and the Emperors. The good news is you don’t have to live in Hollywood to take advantage of this ancient technique of revitalizing the skin. licensed acupuncturists who are Specially trained can allow you to enjoy the benefits of this natural method of refreshing your appearance.
As you age, the 57 muscles in your face gradually lose their tone and mass. Loss of tone and mass causes the sagging, deep wrinkling and tired look associated with aging.
Acupuncture stimulates the muscle function, and the face lifts itself via the acupuncture points. Thus, returning the face to a healthier, revitalized, youthful appearance. Hair thin needles are placed in the outside of the ear to induce relaxation, and body points are used which correspond the individual’s specific needs.
There is a sense of well-being as a flood of endorphins are released throughout the body. Once you are in a state of deep relaxation, needles are placed on the face in acupuncture points as well as wrinkles. Tiny intradermal needles are also placed in the wrinkles which create a micro trauma causing collagen to be produced. This technique is especially effective on crow’s feet and lines around the lips.
Facial Cupping, and massage with a special jade tool called gua sha can also be added to smooth out lines, increase blood flow and encourage the revitalization of the skin.
One of the most useful lessons you will learn during our Facial Acupuncture Classes is how to locate the auricular muscles to lift the face during cosmetic acupuncture treatment.
Watch this video to learn more.