In addition to pain relief, acupuncture has many benefits. Here are seven ways in which acupuncture can make you feel and look younger.
Have you ever wondered why women are more prone than men to form wrinkles around the mouth? There are several reasons for this, and Facial Acupuncture can provide a safe, effective solution.
According to an analysis by dermatologists in the Netherlands*:
- Women (especially postmenopausal women) have fewer oil-producing sebaceous glands around the upper lip – meaning less oil to keep the skin soft and supple.
- Women have fewer blood vessels in the upper lip area resulting in less blood flow to the region.
- The muscles around the mouth are closer to the skin in women than they are in men; this can mean the skin is pulled closer, leading to wrinkles.
- Hormones also play a role in women’s aging process. As a woman ages and looses estrogen, her skin thins out, creating a crepey appearance.
- Postmenopausal women experience a decrease in the fat (sebum) secreted by the few sweat glands they do have. Less fat means more sag.
- Also, although the number of hair follicles is about the same in both genders, men have more sweat glands per hair follicle, contributing to more relaxed skin and therefore fewer wrinkles.
- Changes in the bones also contribute to more severe aging. As women age their jaw bone actually gets reabsorbed slowly so the bone shrinks down—the skin is going to get saggy because there’s no scaffolding holding it up!
- Women are more likely to drink through straws which promote lip wrinkles
- Many men shave, which exfoliates the skin and assists with skin turnover
Facial Acupuncture can regulate the body’s hormones and strengthen the organs, such as the kidneys, spleen and liver. Intradermal needles can be used to increase collagen. Facial cupping and Gua Sha can increase blood flow to the area and stimulate the sebaceous (sweat glands) to secrete more fluid and sebum. Microneedling with an AAC approved device such as an Aculift Derma Roller can stimulate collagen as well.
Acupuncture has been used for centuries to promote healthy skin. Get certified by an AAC certified CE provider. go to facialacupunctureclasses.com for videos and class info.
*study is published in the November-December issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
As we age our skin goes through many changes. Some of these changes have to do with fluctuations in our hormones, which can cause acne or dark spots or patches (melasma). For many women in their forties and fifties, adult acne can appear along with winkles, causing a double whammy! Even if you did not have acne as a teen, the surge of estrogen which occurs right before menopause or the hormonal changes that occur in your child bearing years can cause acne or dark or red areas on the face and neck.
Acupuncture is uniquely suited to addressing these concerns due to the fact that it treats the underlying causes of skin issues. An acupuncturist diagnoses your body’s imbalances based on a much different paradigm than western medicine. Chinese medicine dates back more than 5000 years and is the oldest form of medicine currently practiced in the world. Complete with its own theory, diagnosis, and treatment, it is a stand-alone healing system. After feeling your pulses and looking at your tongue, an acupuncturist will evaluate whether your skin condition is due to what is referred to in Chinese medicine as stagnation—deficiency or excess in the liver, kidney, heart, spleen or lung Qi (pronounced chee). Acupuncture points are then used to balance the hormones, and treat any excesses or deficiencies.
In addition to correcting any imbalances in your hormones or organ systems, acupuncture induces a deep state of relaxation. Stress can cause chemicals called neuropeptides to flood your skin and wreak havoc. They increase inflammation, widen blood vessels, increase skin permeability and generate excessive moisture. Stress hormones such as cortisol can cause outbreaks of acne, just as the overproduction of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), caused by stress can ccreate melasma outbreaks.
The results of acupuncture facial rejuvenation are a more even-toned, healthy, youthful looking skin, a clearer complexion, and a more peaceful state of mind. There are no scars, down time or side effects (other than a more tranquil state of being). To learn more about facial acupuncture classes go to: https://www.facialacupunctureclasses.com
By Michelle Gellis, LAc MAc DiplAc. Facial acupuncture classes…lots of folks are offering them these days. The cost for typical 2-3 day class can be substantial. Before you enroll, here are a few things to consider:
- Is the instructor certified by the American Acupuncture Council? If AAC is your insurance company, you must be trained by an AAC certified instructor for coverage. You can contact AAC for the most current list. Even if AAC is not your insurance provider, you may switch in the future, and being trained by an AAC provider lends some credibility to your skills.
- What is the average class size? If the teacher to student ratio is too large, you will not get the supervision necessary to monitor new skills being taught.
- What are the instructor’s credentials? What is their teaching experience, where, how long? Are they published? Is their degree in acupuncture or another field?
- Is it a hands-on class? You should be able to practice what you learn, with special emphasis on new techniques and skills.
- Will supplies be provided or charged for separately? There should be no hidden costs. Everything you need to practice in class should be supplied. Some instructors sell their own product lines or add-ons, and classes can become very ‘product centered.’
- Is the system something that is easily learned? Techniques that are complicated or overly time consuming are rarely implemented after you leave the class. Speak to folks who have studied with the instructor.
- Is the class comprehensive? Will you need to take a follow up or advanced class before you can practice the techniques?
- How much time will there be to practice? There should be ample time allotted to practice new skills.
- What CEUs are attached to the class?How many, and for which states.
- What is the cancellation policy? If you cannot attend, can you use the tuition towards another class in the future or is the money lost?
Michelle Gellis, M.Ac, DiplAc., L.Ac has been teaching Facial Acupuncture classes since 2005. She is a Faculty Member and Clinic Supervisor at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She has been published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture Today and The Acupuncture Desk Reference. To learn more about her classes, please visit https://www.facialacupunctureclasses.com
Acupuncture Treatment for Facial Pain and Paralysis
By Michelle Gellis LAcMAcDiplAc
This article addresses acupuncture treatment for facial pain and paralysis which are common conditions which can be difficult to treat with western medicine. As a practitioner and instructor of facial acupuncture I frequently get calls from individuals seeking help for various medical conditions affecting the face. Although conditions such as Bells Palsy, Stroke, TMJ, Trigeminal Neuralgia, and Ptosis are vastly different, they all affect the facial muscles, nerves, functionality and appearance of the face. Fortunately, there are many acupuncture techniques, which are extremely effective in bringing movement and normal sensory function to the face.
Facial and scalp acupuncture, facial cupping and motor points are uniquely suited to address facial pain and neuropathy. The same Acupuncture points which can be used to raise a saggy jowl or a furrowed brow can be used to treat a drooping eyelid such as with ptosis or bells palsy. The same scalp points which can help with nerve pain or motor issues can help with facial pain from trigeminal neuralgia or shingles on the face. Facial cupping, (when done with special facial cups and by a practitioner trained in facial cupping) brings blood and energy to the muscles of the face and has the potential to relieve TMJ and invigorate conditions affected by paralysis or weakness such as MS, brain injury, or stroke. http://facialacupunctureclasses.com/facial-cupping/. Lastly, intramuscular needling techniques (which are invaluable in acupuncture facial rejuvenation for relaxing taught muscles which cause deep wrinkles) can be used to relax an atrophied facial muscle as may happen with myasthenia gravis or stroke.
In Chinese medicine, not all individuals exhibiting particular symptoms of a disease will have the same treatment. Treatment is based on a thorough diagnosis of the patient’s medical history, diet, lifestyle and other factors. Once a diagnosis has been made by a licensed acupuncturist specially trained facial acupuncture, the facial concerns as well as the underlying condition, which may have caused them, are treated. I have been working with patients with these types of conditions for over a decade, and the results I have seen have been very positive. The benefit of acupuncture is that there are no side effects, downtime, or invasive procedures. Typically results can be seen after 6-8 treatments and many insurance companies cover the cost of acupuncture treatment (you would need to contact your provider for eligibility). Acupuncture needles are the diameter of a human hair and the treatment is virtually painless. Most of my patients fall into a deeply relaxed state during treatment and receive benefits reaching beyond their physical symptoms. For more information on treatments for Facial pain, paralysis and neuropathy. Contact Michelle Gellis http://facialacupunctureclasses.com
“When I contracted Bell’s palsy, I went to my doctor and was put on a 6 day regimen of cortisone to help to reduce the inflammation of the cranial nerve.
It was not until a week later, after I contacted Michelle Gellis, my acupuncturist, and had a treatment, that I experienced any improvement in my condition. The improvement was dramatic in lessening of the facial paralysis. Within a 3-week period, my facial paralysis was improved to a point, that people could not tell that I had been suffering with the condition. Originally, being told that my condition could last somewhere between 6 weeks, on the mild side, and 6 months, I was thrilled, when the regimen of treatments that Michelle performed, had helped my condition so dramatically”. -Linda B. D.
“I contacted Michelle for my ptosis condition (one eyelid sat lower than the other) because my wedding was approaching, I was desperate and even considering surgery, but after just a few sessions my eyelids were even. I was so grateful my eyelids were even for my special day-and so thankful that I did not have to go the invasive route, along with its expense and recovery time. Michelle is very skilled with her needles and definitely master of her craft.”-Steph J
Since I’ve started the treatments with Michelle for my TMJ and related migraines, I have felt great improvement. I actually have not had one migraine since I started and the overall pain in my jaw has decreased significantly. I have not been able to even chew anything on the right side of my mouth for the past few years and I am now starting to retrain myself to chew on both sides. The Improvement has been amazing, much better than I had hoped for. -Jackie M
By Michelle Gellis LAcMAcDiplAc
We tend to think of Acupuncture as something that can help with aches and pains. But what most people don’t know is that Acupuncture can make you look and feel younger! Regular acupuncture treatment can make you feel more energetic and youthful, AND it can actually reduce the signs of aging
1) Stress Reduction
We all are exposed to stressful situations in our lives. When the stress is extreme, or if it lasts a long time, our physical health begins to suffer. Some common stress related illnesses are: irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, stroke, migraine, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases. Acupuncture effectively treats stress by unblocking stuck energy and allowing it to flow properly throughout the body. As our tension is relieved, so are our symptoms. Acupuncture releases stress reducing, natural pain killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.
2) Improve sleep
Ruminating thoughts, hormonal imbalances, anxiety, depression, and overstimulation are a few of the reasons why we can have trouble sleeping at night. One of the immediate gifts of acupuncture is its ability to calm the mind, lift the spirit, reset our body clock and allow us to get our restorative “beauty sleep”.
3) Younger Looking Skin
Celebrities such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Angelina Jolie and Julianne Moore have used Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation as a way to maintain and improve their appearances. Cosmetic Acupuncture represents natural method to promote youthfulness and enhance natural beauty and can take 5-10 years off the look of your skin. Acupuncture facial rejuvenation requires no downtime and is safe and painless. As you age, the 57 muscles in your face gradually lose their tone causing the sagging, deep wrinkling and tired look associated with aging. Acupuncture stimulates the muscle function, and the face lifts itself; returning the face to a healthier, revitalized, and youthful appearance.
4) Better sex
Acupuncture can bring back the spark in your sex life too! The needles can help to allow for a smoother flow of energy and blood to the genital area, thereby increasing pleasure and desire. Additionally, acupuncture can balance your hormones back to a more youthful state, increasing estrogen and testosterone levels. This can result in a reduction in prostate enlargement, less vaginal dryness and many other benefits.
5) Reduce Pain
On a physical level acupuncture reduces pain by improving blood flow and releasing pain-relieving endorphins and serotonin. Pain that is chronic can be mentally and physically exhausting. Our emotions can wear us down, and cause us to be weak and unable to heal. It is impossible to effectively treat chronic conditions without addressing a person’s state of mind. Acupuncture addresses the negative emotions (such as anger, and fear), thereby decreasing stress hormones, which cause pain.
6) Stronger immune system
Acupuncture can help to naturally boost your immune system. Scientists have been able to determine that acupuncture enhances the production of natural killer cells, which is the primary defense mechanism against organisms that make us sick. It also regulates white blood cells directly linked to the fight against infections, allergic reactions, and even autoimmune disorders. Regular acupuncture treatments are a great preventative measure to ward off colds and flu.
7) More energy & vitality
Although the immediate effect of acupuncture treatment is very relaxing, the long-term effects are more energy, and vitality. The reason for this has to do with a concept in traditional Chinese medicine called Jing, the energy of the Kidneys. It is the power that keeps us going. How much Jing you have determines your energy levels, how you will age and how healthy you will be. If your kidney energy is deficient it can lead to premature aging, dried up wrinkled skin, and dark circles. Additionally it can affect your head hair and bones, so osteoporosis and premature greying are signs of kidney imbalances.
Acupuncture…anti-aging medicine for over 5,000 years.
During the summer Olympics we witnessed a preponderance of athletes such as Michael Phelps receiving cupping to relieve sore muscles. Since then I have received a multitude of calls about cupping. When used to relieve pain, cupping and gua sha can be very beneficial for releasing tension in muscles and fascia. Facial cupping is a highly specialized technique, which can be employed to assist rejuvenating the skin by increasing blood flow, reduce puffiness and release toxins stored in skin of the face without the telltale “cupping marks.” As an acupuncturist and nationally certified CEU instructor of facial cupping I am thrilled to see this ancient art being brought into the mainstream.
For thousands of years the Chinese have used therapeutic cupping for asthma, fever, pain, TMJ, sinus congestion and many other physical concerns. Facial cupping can be transformative to your appearance either as a standalone treatment, or as an addition to acupuncture facial rejuvenation. The benefits include increased local circulation to the skin, drawing nutrients to the surface and enhancing absorption of lotions or serums. Facial cupping also increases blood flow, drains stagnant fluids and eases puffiness. By increasing blood flow and circulation to the skin, cupping can help the skin to regain its youthful appearance.
Facial cups are small and come in various shapes especially designed for your face. After applying a special lotion, a small cup is either “parked” for a few seconds over a deep wrinkle to increase blood flow to the area, or it is moved along the face and down the neck to drain lymphatic fluid and stimulate blood flow.
This treatment will bring collagen to the surface, reduces puffiness & dark circles, diminish lines, drain nasal sinuses and lymphatic system. Conditions such as TMJ and sinus pressure are also relieved. The increased local blood supply will bring nourishment to the muscles and skin and allow for toxins to be carried away via the veins and the lymphatic system. My patients describe feeling very relaxed and deep warmth, and tingling sensation long after the treatment has ended.
Make certain that your practitioner has been properly trained in facial cupping by a certified NCCAOM instructor.
By Michelle Gellis LAc MAc DiplAc
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists. Rooted in Five Element Theory, the practice of clearing blocks before initiating treatment is at the core of my facial acupuncture classes. A block is defined as a break in, or impediment to, the smooth flow of Qi. Blocks can prevent treatments from being effective or holding. They must be cleared in order for healing to take place.
There are several types of blocks. They can show up on the pulses as a disparity in the strength of one pulse in relation to another or in the strength of the left side pulses to the right. Other ways blocks can show up are in a patient’s affect, physical or emotional well-being, or appearance.
Blocks to treatment can take many forms. They can be energetic such as: Aggressive Energy, Pulse Qualities, and Entry/Exit. They can be Lifestyle blocks such as: Diet, relationships, and substance abuse. Some blocks are structural like a scar. Others blocks to treatment relate to a patients’ dependence on the illness for sympathy, or financial reasons.
Blocks vary in severity and significance. Some are dire and require immediate attention such as when the pulses on the right side are greater in quantity and quality then the left (referred to as an H/W), some are less severe and will show up from time to time, like a pulse quality or a spirit block.
One block that I address in every patient is Aggressive Energy (AE). It is created by toxic or polluted energy that moves along the K’O cycle. According to Five Element theory, Aggressive Energy is: “Qi which is contaminated and polluted and whose quality is poisonous and destructive.” AE will cause problems within the total energy of the body, mind and spirit (Worsley, 1990). AE must be cleared to prevent its spread to other officials during treatment, hence its clinical significance in Facial Acupuncture. AE can occur after surgery, emotional or physical illness or a variety of other conditions. It is drained through the Yin organs via the Back Shu points. The test for AE is also the treatment; there is no other way to diagnose with certainty that a patient has AE.
The image below shows a patient with AE. Needles are places in the Back shu points (BL13, 14, 15, 18 20, 23) and test needles are placed in each of the three Jiao, if the redness around the needles is different than the test needle, then AE is present and must be drained. If other more severe blocks (such as ID’s) are present, AE will not clear until the other blocks have been cleared.
Regardless of the nature and severity of the block, its presence will impede the rate of recovery and the effectiveness of any acupuncture treatment. Without this crucial piece, treatments can progress more slowly and not have as long lasting effect. Learning the theory and treatment of blocks and how they can impede facial rejuvenation and recovery from neuromuscular facial conditions are an integral part of my Facial Acupuncture classes. For more information go to: http://www.facialacupunctureclasses.com
Cosmetic Acupuncture as an alternative to Botox®
Michelle Gellis, LAc MAc DiplAc
In recent times Botox has been used to treat a myriad of conditions. From wrinkles to headaches, overactive bladder to overactive sweat glands, the medical community has been finding new and innovative uses for Botox®. Acupuncture has been used for over 3,000 years to treat many physical and cosmetic conditions as well. The benefit to cosmetic acupuncture is there are no dangerous side effects or disruption to the body’s natural functioning.
In order for a muscle to contract it must receive a chemical messenger (acetylcholine) from a nerve. This happens at the junction where the nerve ending meets the muscle. When Botox® is injected, the botulinum toxin prevents the release of acetylcholine which paralyzes the muscles, preventing it from contracting. In the case of a wrinkle, the relaxed muscle creates smoother surface for the skin to adhere to, thereby temporarily reducing the appearance of a wrinkle. Botox® is most often used on forehead lines, crow’s feet (lines around the eye), and frown lines. Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to Botox®. The effect of Botox® injections last from 3-4 months, at which time they must be repeated.
The side effects of Botox® have been well documented and studied and vary from person to person. Some of the documented side effects include: allergic reactions, rash, itching, headache, neck or back pain, muscle stiffness or weakness, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, weakness, injection site reactions (muscle weakness, bruising, bleeding, pain, redness, or swelling), fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, flu symptoms, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, ringing in ears, and increased sweating in areas other than the underarms, drooping of the eyelid (ptosis), inflammation of the cornea (keratitis), eye dryness, itchy eyes, problems with vision, tearing, and sensitivity to light, and eyelid swelling or bruising, trouble breathing, talking, and loss of bladder control. (This is not a complete list of possible side effects)*
Cosmetic Acupuncture (also known as facial rejuvenation or facial acupuncture), when administered by a certified, licensed, acupuncturist can have the same benefits as Botox® without the side effects. Facial rejuvenation acupuncture works on several levels treating the skin, muscles and underlying imbalances, which may be creating wrinkles and/or saggy appearance. To keep your skin healthy and beautiful on the outside, you must work on the inside of your body as well; Increasing the flow of energy, blood and lymph circulation improves the skin’s natural healthy color. Cosmetic Acupuncture also can increase the promotion of collagen production, muscle tone and skin elasticity; this helps to firm the skin. Acupuncture’s ability to stimulate the formation of body fluids helps to nourish the skin, adding moisture and making it softer, smoother and more lustrous.
Facial Acupuncture not only addresses the outward appearance of the effects of aging, it also can ease stress, depression, worry and frustration, which in turn can cause premature aging. Regular acupuncture treatment helps to balance hormones, calm overactive adrenal glands, and create a sense of calm. Stress can cause chemicals called neuropeptides to flood your skin and wreak havoc by increasing inflammation, widening blood vessels, and increasing skin permeability. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. Acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which brings oxygen to the tissues and clears out cortisol and other waste chemicals.
The needles themselves elicit a healing response to the micro-trauma caused by the needling. Collagen is produced, helping smooth out the wrinkles. Additionally, needles can be placed under muscles through a process called submuscular needling to help relax the muscle belly, and by using special points called motor points, the muscle can be reset to its normal function without the use of any toxic chemicals. The results of acupuncture facial rejuvenation are a more even-toned, healthy, youthful looking skin, a clearer complexion, and a more peaceful state of mind.
The side effects of facial acupuncture are rare and are limited to occasional temporary bruising at the site of needle insertion. The treatments take place over several weeks. Once completed the results can last indefinitely with regular maintenance.
Acupuncture is a safe, viable alternative to Botox injections. Make certain your practitioner has been trained by an AAC certified instructor.
We all know how those sagging jowls, fine lines, eye bags and lackluster skin can affect our psyche. But according to ancient Chinese wisdom the opposite is also true. The emotions that we express each day will over time become permanently imprinted on our face. For example, the habitual expression of worry and anger bring the brows together causing the “11’s” (deep furrows between brows.) Depression and stress are known to cause hormonal and nervous-system activity that can trigger changes in the skin. Unbalanced hormones can lead to premature thinning of the skin as well as dark patches (melasma) and acne. If your adrenals glands are over stimulated (too much stress) it can lead to dark circles under the eyes.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) thinks of our internal organs as integrated systems that disperse the Qi (energy) they generate. In that way, seemingly distant organs can have an impact on facial beauty. According to Chinese Five Element Theory, our emotions correspond to different organs systems. Therefore, someone who worries a great deal can injure their stomach organ. This disharmony in the stomach organ (earth element), may result in dampness by blocking Qi flow and nutrients, resulting in puffy eyes. The knowledge of Five Element and TCM theory enables an acupuncturist to feel your pulses, study your tongue and know which of the body’s systems have been injured or are struggling and to make adjustments which can have tremendous impact on both your skin and your overall health.
Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation not only addresses the outward appearance of the effects of aging, it also can ease stress, depression, worry and frustration which can cause premature aging. Regular acupuncture treatment helps to balance hormones, calm overactive adrenal glands, and create a sense of calm. Points along the channels (called meridians) which correspond to different organ systems can help to provide a sense of relaxation and well-being which translates to a more relaxed, vibrant appearance. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles. In addition, acupuncture improves circulation of blood throughout the body, which brings oxygen to the tissues and clears out cortisol and other waste chemicals.
The needles themselves elicit a healing response to the microtrauma caused by the needling. Collagen is produced and disbursed, helping smooth out the wrinkles. All of this together can take years off your face, without side effects, toxins, fillers or surgery. Call Michelle Gellis to see if Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation might be just what you need for your “moody skin”.