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Why Clearing Blocks Can Improve Your Cosmetic Acupuncture Treatments

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.
ae
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: https://facialacupunctureclasses.com

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture and Your Emotions

scroller_002The human face has 43 muscles, which work together to form facial expressions. Over time, these expressions get lodged in the connective tissue of the face causing fine lines, deep furrows, sagging skin and jowls. Facial rejuvenation acupuncture, facial cupping and facial gua sha (chinese massage) can release atrophied muscles and bring out the innate radiance in our skin.

 

We have all seen the affects of long-term illness; overwork or poor sleep on the face. The resultant tired eyes, poor skin color and lack of vibrancy in the skin are apparent. But what happens when someone is perpetually angry, sad or worried? The face is the repository of our emotions as well, and our habitual expressions will become part of our facial landscape. As an acupuncturist who specializes in facial acupuncture, I know first hand how 20 years of grief can manifest in someones face: a turned down mouth, deep lines between the eyebrows and grayish skin tone. In Chinese medicine we refer to this as a lack of “shen”.

 

A person’s shen is their spirit (in a nonreligious sense). When evaluating Shen, an acupuncturist is looking at your emotional state and presence (or lack) of radiance, calm, and balance. Facial rejuvenation acupuncture releases the signs of stuck emotions through points in the muscles, deep tissue massage, lymph drainage and body points which move stuck energy in the endocrine system (thyroid) and the entire body and balancing your hormones. An acupuncturist trained in facial acupuncture can erase years off your face and neck, and improve your pigmentation without the use of toxins, fillers, or surgery. The treatments are very relaxing; most of my patients fall asleep and feel calm and energized afterwards.

 

Testimonial:

I have been going to Michelle for several months to fight the signs of aging. Michelle is absolutely by far the best! People keep asking me how I stay so young! I have tried several acupuncturists before but have never experienced such remarkable, extremely obvious results before Michelle. When people ask my age they think I am lying. They can’t believe I’m over 50. My skin looks and feels great, wrinkles are diminished, and my energy level is unbelievable. Michelle’s treatment area is very comfortable, professional and relaxing, not like most of the sterile type acupuncture environments. I highly recommend Michelle for facial rejuvenation, stress reduction, smoking cessation, and weight loss! Thanks Michelle!! You’re the best………….. Jenny Age 57

 

 

Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation for Acne, Dark Spots, and Redness Anti-aging for skin

Acupuncture Facial RejuvenationAs 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 skin care can rectify a myriad of these issues.

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. Acupuncture is very effective for reducing Acne, Dark Spots, and Redness. There are no scars, down time or side effects (other than a more tranquil state of being).

Here is what my patients are saying:

“Since I started facial rejuvenation, the lines on my forehead have become noticeably smoother. The color and tone of my skin has improved. But best ofall, the brown spots on my face—which I have had for years—are fading and breaking up! I am not sure which I am happiest about:the improved texture of my skin or the lighter brown spots!”—Anita F

“I began suffering from hormonal acne in my mid-thirties; after traditional treatment options (prescription creams, antibiotics, and other medications) didn’t work, I sought an alternative treatment. I read about acupuncture and decided to give it a try. I began seeing Michelle Gellis in March and in a little over two months my skin is clear. I am so amazed that this actually worked! I am a believer in acupuncture and happily continue to get treatment.”—Donna T

Facial Acupuncture…Not Just for Wrinkles!

As a faculty member at the Maryland University of Integrative Health, my students and colleagues frequently ask me whether there are any benefits of Facial Acupuncture beyond anti-aging or overall skin rejuvenation (reducing acne, rosacea etc.).

When most people think of Facial Acupuncture they think about reducing wrinkles, dark circles, saggy skin, frown lines and “turkey neck”. However, the benefits of facial acupuncture can go far beyond mere esthetics. Conditions such as Bells Palsy, TMJ, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Ptosis, Facial Paralysis from Stroke or MS, and many other conditions which effect the neuromuscular system of the face can all be effectively treated with facial acupuncture. By using special scalp and face points and specialized techniques such as facial cupping and what are referred to as “motor” points, areas of the face then may be overly sensitive, or atrophied can begin to return to their normal state. Sometimes the results happen very quickly over just a few treatments, sometimes it takes a bit longer, depending on how long you have had the condition, and how severe your symptoms are.

Facial acupuncture is safe, involves little or no pain (most of my patients fall asleep during treatment) and has been used for centuries. Over the past decade I have worked with many patients who have various issues, which have affected their face, be it esthetic, functional or pain related and by and large they have all been very satisfied. If you are thinking of undergoing a medical procedure for improvement of facial tone, texture or function, contact me for a consultation to see if acupuncture may provide the benefits you are seeking.

From My Patients

“When I contracted Bell’s Palsy, I was put on a 6 day regimen of cortisone, and an antiviral medication. 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. 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. I had 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 able to chew on both sides again!” Jackie M