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.
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.
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 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.
By Michelle Gellis LAc MAc DiplAc
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.
Facial Gua Sha is used as part of a compreh.
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.
Collagen production takes about 12 weeks to occur. The skin will repair itself to a more youthful state through a series of treatments, without the need to inject any fillers or toxins. To learn more about facial acupuncture you can visit:http://gellisacupuncture.com/facial-rejuvenation-acupuncture/
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.