Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs for Facial Wrinkles and Overall Facial RejuvenationLet’s face it (literally) as the years take their toll it’s hard to keep your cheeks, eyes, nose, forehead, mouth and neck looking healthy. Along with creeping “character” lines like crow’s feet around the eyes there can be brown spots, red spots, sagging skin, large pores, rashes, random hair growth and even adult acne.

The list goes on especially if you come nose to nose with a high powered magnified mirror which for some can result as a real wake up call. Acupuncture has been used as a natural face lift for centuries and Chinese herbs probably longer. It is an excellent dual pronged approach to revamping your facial skin without harsh, synthetic heavy choices like peels and soaps, injected Botox or plastic surgery.

Needles In My Face? C’mon.
It sounds a lot more invasive than it really is. Acupuncture uses painless, hair thin needles strategically placed at points along specific pathways (also known as meridians) to stimulate or decrease energy flow. Although ‘energy’ can be a loaded word in conventional medicine it is wholly embraced as a valid term by Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) which thrives on locating and rebalancing it. When it comes to facial skin health there may be point placement on various parts of the face however there may also be other locations throughout the body also targeted that are in relation to facial health. Gira Patel, licensed acupuncturist at Osher Clinical Center for Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston comments, “We treat the whole body, because what happens in your skin is a reflection of what’s going on in your body.”

Studies of Facial Acupuncture
No double-blind clinical trial studies have been conducted regarding the benefits of facial acupuncture however small preliminary ones have shown some interesting results. In a paper published in the Chinese Times (Vol. 3, Issue 2 – 2008) titled ‘Acupuncture vs Botox: How does Acupuncture compare to Botulinum Neurotoxin A for cosmetic purposes?’ it was concluded that, “…acupuncture may have a much broader range of effects including: lifting the brow and jowls; improving complexion and skin tone; and improving the general health of patients.” The study shows the physiological changes when acupuncture needles are administered to specific facial points stating that, “When applied to the face, an increase in cutaneous blood flow may increase oxygenation of tissues and improve the immune/repair response. More specific studies have demonstrated that the application of electroacupuncture stimulation regulates the immune response by decreasing pro inflammatory cytokines [proteins that stimulate immune system response] (Sung 2005).”

The Protocol
Using Botox as a facial rejuvenation remedy offers temporary results with potential contraindications. It is based on the brief, allegedly safe paralysis of the facial musculature through a series of injections that can take anywhere from five to twenty minutes. The outcome is a ‘frozen’ look due to the lack of natural response when emotions are displayed.

Acupuncture on the other hand is a slower application process that has the potential to result in a longer lasting more natural look. The protocol is anywhere between one to two times per week for about ten to twelve weeks. You may slowly see the skin’s response as fine lines smoothen and deep lines recede; skin sagging is stimulated and reversed; droopy eyelids once again open; and age spots are considerably shrunk or eliminated altogether. After the initial ten to twelve week protocol, one would only have to visit their acupuncturist just once a month for a ‘tuneup.’

The Chinese Herb Approach
Herbal remedies seem to be “infused” in everything from facial creams, soaps, oils and more. They often tout rapid, positive results in a short period of time often for a bloated price tag. Working with a naturopathic doctor who is also a licensed acupuncturist allows you the opportunity to naturally and gradually enhance your facial health on two fronts. As acupuncture treatments proceed there are a variety of Chinese herbal remedies that can simultaneously be administered for an extra boost which over time has the potential to soften the ravages of age. Many of these remedies work through the CCM practice of delving deep into “organ channel manipulation”. This approach has the potential to target the root cause of facial weakness rather than only slather on a temporary topical remedy. Each specific organ channel that correlates to some traditional Chinese healing herbs include:

  • Kidney channel for reducing wrinkles and age spots: to si zi, nu zhen zi (Fructus ligustri lucidi) and e jao (Gelatinum corii asini)
  • Liver channel for nourishing blood, facial discoloration and weak vision: to si zi, nu zhen zi (Fructus ligustri lucidi) and e jao (Gelatinum corii asini).
  • Spleen and Stomach channels for facial sagging, face and eye puffiness, and wrinkles: bai zhu (Rhizoma atractylodis macrocephalae), huang qi (Radix astragli membranaceus) and ren sheng (Radix ginseng).
  • Large intestine channel for acne or eczema: dong gua ren (Semen benincasae hispidae), yu xing cao (Herba cum radice houttuyniae cordate) and bai jiang cao (Herba cum radix patriniae).

It is only through the strict guidance of a naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist that facial rejuvenation may be successful. Other factors such as clinical nutrition, homeopathy and detoxification may also be considered. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or CLICK HERE to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or securely email to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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