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Everywhere you look there is a new trend in skin care.  Retinol, peptides, lasers, peels, fillers, neurotoxins, and countless other modalities which promise to be answer to aging skin flood the market each year.  Many of these are effective, some are safe, others have risks involved.  However, they all have two things in common, they only work on the area of the skin which they treat, and they are not specific to the individual receiving the treatment.  

Recently cosmetic acupuncture has been getting a lot of media attention.  Celebrities such as Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Kim Kardashian, Angelina Jolie and Julianne Moore all have used Facial Acupuncture to maintain and improve their appearances.  More and more popular magazines such as Vogue are featuring articles on acupuncture facial rejuvenation.

Facial Acupuncture represents a safe and natural method to promote youthfulness and enhance natural beauty. For stars, the ability to express themselves through their face is vital; however, many popular procedures such as Botox injections can make it impossible to frown or make other expressions. Chemical peels, laser treatments or surgery are painful and involve downtime. By using Acupuncture to refresh your appearance you can take 5-10 years off the look of your skin, but you will still look like you! Acupuncture facial rejuvenation requires no downtime and is safe and painless.

Each of us are aging differently, some of us sag, some wrinkle, some get puffy, red or dark spots and some get loose skin.  Each person has a unique rate at which they age and a unique quality to their skin.  Diet, lifestyle, (sun exposure, smoking, sleep, etc.) and heredity all play a part in how our skin ages.
Acupuncture, which has been practiced for thousands of years, works on the entire body, and treats the individual person’s needs.  An acupuncturist specially trained in facial acupuncture will spend time understanding your unique aging process, and will create a treatment plan designed to work with your body, to address your specific needs.  Treatments are not limited to your crow’s feet or your saggy neck (although they can be treated very effectively with acupuncture), they will address the health of your major organs (lung, stomach, kidney, liver, heart, large intestines etc.) to keep them functioning at peak performance.  The more effectively your organs are functioning, the better your skin will look because your digestion, blood flow, fluid levels and amount of oxygen reaching your skin will improve.

A few acupuncture points are used for the sole purpose of anesthetizing the face and relaxing the patient. With acupuncture facial rejuvenation, nothing is put into or taken out of the body (besides the needles). The needles are left in place for about fifteen minutes during which time my patients typically fall into a deep state of relaxation. After the needles are removed, facial cupping and facial gua sha are used to invigorate the blood flow to the face, reduce inflammation (puffiness under eyes), and smooth deep fines such as on the forehead.

Additionally, facial acupuncture is extremely relaxing, and helps to melt away stress and anxiety.  The simple act of receiving a treatment can refresh your appearance through the relaxation response your body has to the flood of endorphins and the anti-inflammatory effect of acupuncture.  

 Facial Acupuncture treats the face and neck directly, gently, naturally, lifting saggy jowls, reducing frown lines, and under eye bags.  It can do this without injecting anything into you, or taking anything out of you, without harsh chemicals or painful surgery.  Studies have shown the effectiveness of Facial Acupuncture and its ability to brighten a dull complexion, change the depth of facial lines and improve the overall texture of the skin.

Is there any proof that it works? A 1996 report in the International Journal of Clinical Acupuncture reported that in 300 cases treated with Facial Acupuncture, 90% had marked effects with one course of treatment (12-20 sessions). Not every Acupuncturist practices facial rejuvenation.  Make certain your practitioner is AAC trained and NCCAOM certified.

7 Ways Acupuncture Can Help Your Appearance:

1) Stress Reduction

We all are exposed to stressful situations in our lives. When the stress is extreme, or if it lasts a long time, our physical health begins to suffer. Some common stress related illnesses are: irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, insomnia, hypertension, stroke, migraine, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases. Acupuncture effectively treats stress by unblocking stuck energy and allowing it to flow properly throughout the body. As our tension is relieved, so are our symptoms. Acupuncture releases stress reducing, natural pain killing chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. The calming nature of acupuncture also decreases heart rate, lowers blood pressure and relaxes the muscles.

2) Improve Sleep

Ruminating thoughts, hormonal imbalances, anxiety, depression, and overstimulation are a few of the reasons why we can have trouble sleeping at night. One of the immediate gifts of acupuncture is its ability to calm the mind, lift the spirit, reset our body clock and allow us to get our restorative "beauty sleep".

3) Younger Looking Skin

As you age, the 57 muscles in your face gradually lose their tone causing the sagging, deep wrinkling and tired look associated with aging. Acupuncture stimulates the muscle function, and the face lifts itself; returning the face to a healthier, revitalized, and youthful appearance.

4) Better Sex

Acupuncture can bring back the spark in your sex life too! The needles can help to allow for a smoother flow of energy and blood to the genital area, thereby increasing pleasure and desire. Additionally, acupuncture can balance your hormones to a more youthful state, increasing estrogen and testosterone levels. This can result in a reduction in prostate enlargement, less vaginal dryness and many other benefits.

5) Reduce Pain

On a physical level acupuncture reduces pain by improving blood flow and releasing pain-relieving endorphins and serotonin. Pain that is chronic can be mentally and physically exhausting. Our emotions can wear us down, and cause us to be weak and unable to heal. It is impossible to effectively treat chronic conditions without addressing a person’s state of mind. Acupuncture addresses the negative emotions (such as anger, and fear), thereby decreasing stress hormones, which cause pain.

6) Stronger Immune System

Acupuncture can help to naturally boost your immune system. Scientists have been able to determine that acupuncture enhances the production of natural killer cells, which is the primary defense mechanism against organisms that make us sick. It also regulates white blood cells directly linked to the fight against infections, allergic reactions, and even autoimmune disorders. Regular acupuncture treatments are a great preventative measure to ward off colds and flu.

7) More Energy & Vitality

Although the immediate effect of acupuncture treatment is very relaxing, the long-term effects are more energy, and vitality. The reason for this has to do with a concept in traditional Chinese medicine called Jing, the energy of the Kidneys. It is the power that keeps us going. How much Jing you have determines your energy levels, how you will age and how healthy you will be. If your kidney energy is deficient it can lead to premature aging, dried up wrinkled skin, and dark circles. Additionally, it can affect your head hair and bones, so osteoporosis and premature greying are signs of kidney imbalances.

About the Author: Michelle Gellis, L.Ac., M.Ac., Dipl.Ac., has been a faculty member and clinic supervisor at the Maryland University of Integrative Health since 2004 and has been teaching facial acupuncture classes since 2005.  She has been published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture Today, the Maryland Acupuncture Society Newsletter, The Acupuncture Desk Reference, as well as featured in Her Mind magazine, Howard County Business News, and Be Well World magazine. She is also the founder of AcuLift Derma Roller.   

For more information about Michelle Gellis, L.Ac., M.Ac., Dipl.Ac.and facial acupuncture visit

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Q: Can acupuncture enhance sexual desire and pleasure?

A: Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have been used to strengthen and promote optimal sexual health for centuries. Chinese Emperors took their se... Read More