I was already a convert to acupuncture. Having used it for many years to treat nerve pain induced by running, I was heading to a new practitioner, Rebecca Marks, that I had found in my neighbourhood, for some relief. When I arrived, I noticed the sign at the front which listed the many complaints that acupuncture could treat. On the list was cosmetic acupuncture - something I had never heard of before. A quick google search revealed that many celebrities, including Gwenyth Paltrow, have regular cosmetic acupuncture to keep them looking naturally young. There was no arm twisting required for me to book in a road-test.
How does it work?
Every time a needle is put into the body, it creates a tiny injury, which tells the body to respond. It manipulates, in a positive way, the energy field of a person.
“The needles create a tiny microtrauma in the skin, which tells the body to come and fix something. The body will come and heal the spots that need attending to. The needles help the body understand where that needs to happen. In addition, the micro injury stimulates collagen and elastin production,” explains Rebecca Marks* of South Hobart Acupuncture.
Rebecca says that treatments are mostly done for the face, neck, and chest, but that acupuncture can be used for belly treatments and breast lifts.
A cosmetic acupuncture treatment doesn’t just place needles on the treatment area. Needles are placed across the body, the placement of which is tailored to your specific situation, determined in the pre-treatment consultation.
A cosmetic acupuncture session starts with a consultation including what you want to change or fix on your face or specific cosmetic area, but it also looks at everything else that is going on in the body.
“We still do a normal body treatment, tailored to your constitution,” says Rebecca. “We look at whether you are too hot, too cold, too damp, too dry, and any other issues you are having.
“Only then do we go into what you want to treat on your face, whether it be redness, eczema, rosacea, acne, wrinkles, or drooping,” says Rebecca.
“Then we examine whether the cause is in the muscle or the skin, which changes how we treat the issue.”
Rebecca also explains that reading the lines on your face can also tell her what emotions you are holding on to, and that helping to release or process those emotions can help to reduce the formation of the wrinkles.
I wanted to treat the fine lines above my lips. Rebecca says that these lines are linked to our spleen, one of the main digestion organs, and form because we do a lot of caring.
“Lines above the lips are called mothers lines or carers lines. You get these lines from giving a lot of yourself away, and not necessarily nourishing yourself of putting back what you’re giving out.”
We then discussed hydration. Rebecca councils that reducing my coffee intake is critical along with adding a tiny bit of salt to every glass of water, which she explains can assist in maintaining water in our systems instead of it going straight through.
“It’s like a little electrolyte drink,” she says.
We talked about many other things, including sleep quality and a twinge I had in my shoulder before getting down to the treatment.
After the initial consult I strip down to my knickers and lie face-up on a massage-style table with a soft blanket over me. Rebecca starts by feeling my pulse on both wrists.
“There are three positions on each hand, and each has three different depths. We feel these which tells us a lot about what is going on in your body.”
Before putting the needles in, Rebecca explains that because the skin is very vascular, full of tiny blood vessels, there is a chance of bruising. Generally, very small bruises, but ‘they can be clunkers!’ she warns! I didn’t get any.
Rebecca uses normal acupuncture needles for the body, which are thinner than a hair with no cutting edge. Then for the wrinkles she uses tiny intradermal needles.
“Intradermal needles are quite tiny and pokey, and we place them straight into any wrinkles that you can see in the skin – these help to cause the microtrauma for the collagen production.”
Rebecca warns that they can be “a little bit stingy” going in. They were stingy, but not painful as such. They just made my eyes water a little.
After the needles are in place, Rebecca places an infrared heater over my body which has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s warm but also helps with the treatment.
Then I have a rest for about 20 minutes while the needles do their work.
While this is happening Rebecca listens for signs that the sympathetic nervous system is switching on – sleep sounds, deep belly breaths, and tummy gurgles. My tummy goes crazy!
After removing the needles Rebecca massaged my face (in the direction of my lymph nodes) with a soft jade stone. It felt wonderful – cool and soft.
“Jade is the stone that all the empresses used to wear because it prolonged youth and beauty, but I use it because it feels lovely, and it also helps the blood vessels to constrict.”
For a standard acupuncture issue Rebecca would normally treat someone for 3-4 weeks with one session per week. With cosmetic acupuncture Rebecca recommends twice a week for 4-6 weeks.
Having only had one session, I can’t report on the outcome, but I can say, that I felt great after the treatment, and I will be going back!
*Rebecca Marks has a Health Science Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, and she completed further study through the People’s Provincial Hospital in Chengdu, China. https://www.rebeccamarks.com.au/about-rebecca