Cosmetic acupuncture explained
Being a human pin cushion isn't everyone's idea of an indulgent beauty treat, but with acupuncture's ability to ease fine lines and wrinkles, dark circles and even acne, maybe it's time to get on board.
Concentrating on different points on the face, needles work to improve the skin’s elasticity and general appearance.
"The face is seen as another micro system of the body," acupuncture practitioner Theresa Velasquez of London's AcuMedic told Cover Media.
"The needle is seen as a tool… that delivers blood flow to the surface of the skin. It helps adjust the normal colour or appearance of the skin and if, for instance, there is any scarring or deep wrinkles or fair wrinkles around the eyes, forehead, nasal area, or mouth then the needle helps direct blood flow to where it's needed."
In Chinese medicine there are five main organs; liver, lung, spleen, heart and kidney. Each of those organs are paired with another five organs. Those pairs have specific functions for the body, e.g. the stomach and the spleen are responsible for transporting and transforming food into essence.
Acupuncture focuses on these pairings and also relates to nourishing the muscles.
"If there's any disharmony in either one of those organs than consequently we would find clinical manifestations of dampness or toxins, or any issues with digestion," Theresa explained.
Dark circles are commonly related to the kidneys and the spleen and sometimes the liver. Blemishes on the chin are related to the stomach meridian, and the stomach pairs with the spleen. Acne is also related to hormones and dampness, with dampness associated commonly with the spleen. Wrinkles could be caused by a deficiency in the blood.
"In cosmetic acupuncture the lungs are one of the most important aspects of treatment, because we see the skin as a reflection of the lungs. Because the skin is another way for the body to breath. So it's an organ in Chinese medicine," Theresa noted.
Acupuncture, both on the body and face, is not painful. You can barely feel the needles, with the thought of being pricked over and over a lot worse than the reality. It's a great time to reconnect with your inner thoughts too.
"Generally with the use of acupuncture, it's mechanism is that there are slight depressions along the meridian lines along the body, and this depression is in between two muscles, so there is a space between the muscles.
"The needle is just to help facilitate the connection of chi, also known as energy, and then it helps stimulate the meridian and the organ that is associated with it. So it can do various things depending on the manipulation applied and also the direction of the needle," Theresa said.