For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture has been used to treat health-related concerns, from combating chronic pain to relieving depression. And, it turns out, the practice also includes a specific system of acupuncture for the face, called cosmetic acupuncture, which is proven to take yeas off your appearance.
How it works:
“If you really want your skin to look good, you have to take care of not just your skin, but everything underneath the skin as well,” says Jingduan Yang, MD, author of Facing East: Ancient Health & Beauty Secrets for the Modern Age ($14.23 [Originally $25.99], Amazon). As he explains, traditional acupuncture points located on the face connects directly to organs (such as the lungs, liver, and kidneys), which, in turn, stimulate blood flow and fluid circulation in the face.
The result: improved skin tone, muscle tone, and elasticity, all of which add up to a more youthful, refreshed complexion. And the results can be remarkable, inside and out: “Cosmetic acupuncture is a ‘facelift’ and it’s also a ‘health lift,'” Dr. Yang says. “In reality, you can’t separate those two. If you treat one, the other will automatically be the side effect!”
While there are thousands of years of anecdotal evidence for acupuncture’s positive effects on skin, recent studies bear out what practitioners have known all along. In fact, a brand-new study in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that acupuncture helped build up collagen levels in the skin of test subjects. What’s more, other research in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine showed an increase in the skin’s moisture level after just one session, which translated to a more supple, youthful appearance.
Your acupuncturist will insert disposable needles into traditional acupuncture points on your face, as well as into any wrinkles themselves. This might sound scary, but never fear: The hair-fine needles are so slender, you won’t feel them at all. During each session, you’ll relax for around 25 minutes as the needles begin to do their work. While you’ll most likely notice results even after the first session, Dr. Yang says, a typical course of cosmetic treatment consists of 12 or more sessions, scheduled one to two times per week. “Every session you have is like putting a stroke on a painting. The painting isn’t completed until you finish all the strokes.”
Is it expensive?
Cost for treatment varies widely based on your region and your practitioner, with average costs running between $50 and $100 per session. And while health insurance sometimes covers the cost of acupuncture for certain medical concerns, this one is cosmetic, so most insurance companies won’t cover it.
To find an acupuncturist:
Find a certified acupuncturist by checking out the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture websites.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Reverse Aging.