The following article 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…”
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.
Facial Gua Sha is a technique in which specially crafted hand held pieces of smooth jade are used to invigorate the skin, smooth out wrinkles and increase blood supply. Facial Gua Sha can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions such as Acne, Rosacea, Melasma and dark circles.
ensive acupuncture facial rejuvenation program for wrinkles, sagging and puffiness. Facial Gua Sha benefits areas such as the neck and jowls, which are prone to sagginess, the puffiness under the eyes, and the deep wrinkles on the forehead. The increased blood circulation which occurs during Gua Sha, helps to detoxify the face and move stagnant blood and inflammation, which can occur under the eyes. By providing increased blood flow to the face, the skin is better nourished and healthier.
Part of the benefit of the treatment is that acupuncture points on the face are massaged with the Gua Sha tool, which in turn benefits the Fu organs. Conditions such as TMJ, Bell’s Palsy, Rosacea, melasma and other inflammatory conditions can be effectively treated with facial Gua Sha.
Facial Gua Sha is typically done as the last step of a facial acupuncture treatment. When done properly, there should be no residual redness on the patients face. When I teach Facial Acupuncture Classes, I tell my students that the goal is to get the “gua” without the “sha”.
Specially designed facial Gua Sha tools are used during treatment. Jade is unique in that a static electromagnetic field originates during the contact of jade with the human body
Regular use of jade therapy:
Strengthens internal organs and systems (liver, stomach, heart, bonds the entire circulatory system, vision, hearing) and spirit
Softens blood vessels
Smoothes out wrinkles
Improves quality of blood
Purifies and normalizes the nervous stream
The vibration of the jade stimulates and helps the circulation in the brain and removes tiredness
Facial Gua Sha should be preformed by a trained, licensed acupuncturist in order to avoid complications. For more information on facial gua sha or facial gua sha training visit https://www.facialacupunctureclasses.com or http://www.gellisacupuncture.com
This article discusses how facial acupuncture can promote the production of collagen.
By Michelle Gellis LAcMAc DiplAc
For centuries the Chinese have known that needling the skin has a positive effect on its thickness, elasticity and suppleness. As far back as the Sung Dynasty (1279AD) Acupuncture facial rejuvenation techniques were used by the empress and emperor to maintain a healthy youthful and yet natural look to their skin. Western medicine now has an explanation of one of the mechanisms by which needling the face reduces fine lines and saggy skin by increasing collagen production.
There are many reasons why facial acupuncture is effective in revitalizing our appearance, one of the most interesting is the induction of collagen via needling the skin. This process is known in western medicine as collagen induction therapy. In simple terms, collagen induction therapy promotes the natural production of collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are protein fibers found within the skin cells that are responsible for the skins structure and elasticity. Tiny acupuncture needles such as intradermal needles penetrate the skin just enough to stimulate collagen and elastin production, without permanent injury to the skin.
Exactly how collagen induction therapy works has been studied extensively by western medicine. In order for collagen to be stimulated the needles must be long enough to affect the dermis, the layer below the epidermis. Hair thin needles are threaded horizontally into a wrinkle and left in place for 15-30 minutes and then removed. Although there is no visible sign of a wound, there is micro trauma in the dermal layer. During the healing process, skin cells within a 1-2mm radius around the area treated release growth signals to undifferentiated cells known as skin stem cells. These signals also stimulate rapid growth of new fibroblasts and other wound repairing cells. Many cell types including fibroblasts rush to close the wound by migrating to the point of intrusion. These new fibroblasts then transform into collagen fibers which integrate with existing collagen in the upper dermis. The new collagen fibers thicken the skin, fill in the wrinkles and encourage growth of healthy new cells.
Michelle Gellis has an acupuncture practice in Fulton, Maryland. She is on faculty at the Maryland University of Integrative Health. Michelle Gellis Teaches Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes Nationally including techniques for facial rejuvenation. Please visit her website for class dates and locations.
According to Chinese Medicine, one of the most common causes of disease is repressed emotions. Emotional health is an integral part of Chinese Medicine. The seven emotions associated with disease are: anger, joy, worry, pensiveness, grief, fear and fright. As stated in an ancient text, the Su Wen, Chapter 8, our internal organs are portrayed in terms of their mental, emotional and spiritual function1. When emotions are prolonged, intense or repressed, they can inhibit the normal flow of Qi2 to our organs. Since our primary method of expressing our emotions is our face, it is essential to ensure the free flow of emotions to and from the face. Hence, facial acupuncture can play an important role in promoting not only skin health, but physical health as well.
There is a feedback system between the face and our organs which allows for communication between them. This free flow of resources is intrinsic to the appearance of our face and to the underlying health of the associated organ systems. Our ability to connect with and express these emotions requires proper functioning of the organs and a smooth flow of Qi through the channels. Numerous studies have demonstrated the feedback system between our facial expressions and emotions. Studies performed by Paul Ekman have shown that if a person merely arranges his face into a certain expression, he will feel the corresponding emotion. In other words, emotions work from the outside in as well as the inside out. i.e. happiness may be as simple as putting on a smile.3 Conversely, an individual who cannot or does not express emotions through their facial expressions will not feel the emotion as fully. In an experiment involving the use of Botox to paralyze facial muscles involved in frowning, Havas, Glenberg, Gutowski, Lucarelli, and Davidson5 discovered lessened depressive symptoms in patients after paralysis of their frowning muscles. A study published in the Annals of Clinical and Translation Neurology, suggest that facial feedback modulates the neural processing of emotional content.7 Habitual patterns of expression get lodged in the face, and repressed or excessive emotions can affect our organs. It is a two-way system with feedback from the face to our organs and our organs to our face.
There are over 60 acupuncture points on the face. Any impediment to the channels translates to diminished function. If the energy in our face is blocked and we do not or cannot express an emotion with our face, we will not feel it as fully. For example, the actual expression of joy (smiling) can nourish the heart. According to the Su Wen “in order to make all acupuncture thorough and effective one must first cure the spirit”1. The radiance of the skin and eyes is intrinsically connected to the spirit. Facial acupuncture involves the practitioner being present in the room with the patient for extended periods of time (it can take 30 minutes to insert all the needles), it provides a unique opportunity to learn more about a patient’s spiritual and emotional well-being. This can help to facilitate the healthy expression of emotion. Below is an example of how this all works.
The Feedback Loop; How the emotions can affect the associated organs and out of balance organs affect the face according to Chinese Medicine Theory:
Excessive or lack of joy injures the Heart:
Emotion out of balance-restlessness, insomnia, lack of enthusiasm
Weakened heart function can lead to facial swelling and puffiness
Heart Blood deficiency can lead to wrinkles due to dryness
Heart fire can cause facial redness, blemishes
Disturbed Shen can lead to poor sleep, dark eye circles and puffiness
Excessive smiling can cause crow’s feet & deep nasolabial folds
Grief injures the Lungs:
Emotion out of balance-excessive sadness, detachment
The lungs rule the Qi of the entire body
The lungs also control the skin
Impairment of lung function can lead to dryness and wrinkles
Excessive sweating due to poor lung function can cause acne
Frowning can cause marionette lines (from corner of mouth to jaw)
Anger injures the Liver:
Emotion out of balance-frustration, moodiness, explosive anger, irritability
The Liver controls the Blood and the flow of Qi to all the organ systems
Stagnation of liver Qi often leads dark spots
Liver Blood deficiency can lead to dry skin
A frequent expression of anger can cause vertical lines between the eyebrows
Pensiveness/Worry injures the Spleen:
Emotion out of balance-ruminating, excessive overthinking
The face depends on the spleens function of transformation of food into Qi and Blood
When spleen Qi is deficient, there is a loss of skin tone, sagging and laxity
If the spleens ability to control transportation of fluids is diminished, the face will look puffy and there can be bags under the eyes.
Pensiveness can cause lines around the lips and at the bridge of the nose
Fear/Fright injures the Kidneys:
Emotion out of balance-fearful, isolated, no will (zhu)
The kidneys regulate the fluid balance and store the essence
Deficient kidney yin can cause dark eye circles
If kidney yang is low, there can be puffiness around the eyes
When Kidney essence is insufficient, aging is accelerated
Fear can cause lateral forehead lines, lines on cheeks
At the core of Facial Acupuncture is the foundation of treating the whole person. Doing so allows the health of the body to reflect on the skin and allowing for full expression of balanced emotional health. It is impossible to separate our emotions, our expression of them, and our health.
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.