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. Facial acupuncture is an excellent treatment for acne, age spots, and melasma.
Facial 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 facial rejuvenation acupuncture 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
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
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”.