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The Use of Motor Points in Facial Acupuncture

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 were 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.

 

 

 

 

3 Day – Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture and Facial Cupping Gua Sha – Vancouver, BC Canada (Aug 24-26, 2019)


  • August 24, 2019 - August 26, 2019

3 Day  – Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture and Facial Cupping Gua Sha – Vancouver, BC Canada (Aug 24-26, 2019) FOR THIS CLASS ONLY! ATTEND ADVANCED CLASS FROM 1:30-5:30 8/26 FOR NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE* *$10 SUPPLY FEE COLLECTED IN CLASS Registration starts at 8:30 am. Class runs from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. (more…)

Michelle Gellis teaching facial acupuncture

Five Important Reasons for Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes

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.

Michelle Gellis teaches Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes throughout the US
Michelle Gellis teaches Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes

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.

examples of improper facial acupuncture needling. learn how to avoid these mistakes during a Michelle Gellis Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes
Examples Improper needling techniques

Improper Facial Acupuncture Needling:Proper Facial Needling Technique:

photos of facial acupuncture technique
gellis acupuncture CEU classes 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.

Michelle Gellis teaches Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes throughout the US
Michelle Gellis teaches Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes throughout the US

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.

Michelle Gellis teaches Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes throughout the US
Small Hands on Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes taught by Michelle Gellis
Reverse signs of aging. Michelle Gellis teaches Facial Acupuncture CEU Certification Classes throughout the US
One on One instruction

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.

 

Facial Acupuncture for Acne, Age Spots or Melasma by Michelle Gellis

facial gua sha

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