You may have seen social media selfies of models or actors with dozens of tiny needles sticking out of their face and wondered what was going on. Celebrities and people of all walks of life are turning to acupuncture facial treatments as a powerful anti-aging and beauty tool. These treatments improve the texture and appearance of skin by boosting collagen production and increasing blood flow to the tissues in the face. Plus, the needles are extremely tiny, and when they’re placed by a professional acupuncturist, they’re designed to be painless!
In this article, we’ll explain how acupuncture facials work. We’ll also go over what you should expect during treatments, give you a brief background on acupuncture, and take a look at the long-term benefits of these treatments. The goal of this article is to give you a more in-depth understanding of this rising anti-aging trend and help you determine if this healing practice could help you reach your own beauty and wellness goals.
What Is Acupuncture?
In order to understand how an acupuncture facial works, it will help to have an understanding of its origin. Acupuncture is a time-honored Eastern healing practice that has been around for thousands of years. It is used to treat a broad range of conditions including muscle pain, migraines, insomnia, asthma, and much more. This practice is believed to restore balance to a person’s energy (referred to as qi) flow in the body.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM, all human ailments and illnesses are thought to be caused, at least in part, by an imbalance in a person’s qi. Acupuncture works to correct these imbalances through the process of inserting acupuncture needles along specific meridians that move qi throughout the body. When these needles are inserted, they break up any blockages allowing qi to flow freely once again as it should.
How Does Acupuncture Work from a Western Perspective?
Acupuncture first made its way to the United States in 1971 and has been steadily gaining popularity among patients seeking alternative treatment methods ever since. Much research has been conducted by Western scientists in an effort to understand just how acupuncture works on a cellular level.
While studies are still ongoing, modern medicine has given us insight into the physiological effects of acupuncture. When acupuncture needles are placed in specific “acupressure points” along the body, they interact with underlying tissues such as skin, muscle, ligaments, tendons, fat, and nerves. This stimulates the body’s own internal healing response, which can help release tension, relieve pain, balance emotions and more depending on the specific area of the body being targeted.
What Is an Acupuncture Facial Specifically?
An acupuncture facial is a cosmetic acupuncture treatment performed on and around the face. When the acupuncture needles are inserted into facial tissue, they create something referred to as positive microtraumas (kind of like small tears caused in muscles when a person exercises). The body’s healing response to these microtraumas is to increase collagen production and blood flow to these areas, which stimulates an array of anti-aging benefits.
What Are the Benefits of an Acupuncture Facial?
Acupuncture facials are popular among patients looking to rejuvenate their overall complexion. As with any type of acupuncture, these facials can also be very relaxing. The full spectrum of benefits associated with acupuncture facial treatments include:
- Reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
- Reduction of facial swelling and puffiness
- Minimization of sagging
- Acne reduction
- Pore minimization
- Skin texture improvement
- Facial muscle tone improvement
- Jaw tension reduction
- Complexion brightening
Are There Risks Associated with Acupuncture Facial Treatments?
There are minimal side effects associated with acupuncture, no matter which part of the body is being treated. In rare cases, minor bruising may occur where a needle has been placed. If you are considering acupuncture, be sure to select a reputable acupuncturist such as our team at Aspire Regenerative, who only uses sterile needles.
It should be noted that acupuncture is not recommended for patients with blood clotting disorders or anyone taking blood-thinning medications. If you receive filler injections such as Botox, be sure to check with your clinician to make sure enough time has passed before your appointment for an acupuncture facial. You should also avoid taking ibuprofen and other blood-thinning over-the-counter medications prior to treatment. Let your acupuncturist know if you might be pregnant, as well.
What Should I Expect During an Acupuncture Facial?
Acupuncture facial treatments typically last between 30-45 minutes. There are no pretreatment procedures patients need to follow, though your acupuncturist may recommend wearing little to no makeup to your appointment.
After checking in, you will be asked to lie down on a table facing up, and tiny acupuncture needles will be tapped lightly into place along your face, hairline, jaw, and other locations as needed. The precise placement and the total number of acupuncture needles used will be determined by your acupuncturist based on your unique beauty goals.
Many patients find these treatments to be very relaxing and take this opportunity to meditate or simply close their eyes and relax. You could also listen to music, watch a show, or play a game on your phone. At the end of your treatment, the needles will be gently removed, and you will be able to resume your normal activities. It is a good idea to drink plenty of water after any acupuncture treatment, as this helps the body flush out any toxins that may have been released.
What Are the Long-Term Expectations of Acupuncture Facial Treatments?
Acupuncture facials, like other types of acupuncture treatments, are not considered a quick fix but rather a long-term maintenance plan, and multiple treatments are recommended to achieve the best results. To start, your acupuncturist may recommend 10 treatments spread out over a few weeks. Research has found that patients typically begin to see noticeable results after 5 treatments. Follow-up treatments can be scheduled as needed after the initial treatments based on your goals and schedule.
Interested in learning more about acupuncture facial treatments? Book a consultation at Aspire Regenerative. Our clinicians can answer any questions and help you determine if this and our range of other innovative therapies may help you reach your health and wellness goals.