Have you ever contemplated trying acupuncture, but were too nervous to actually go through with having needles stuck into your body? This woman shared similar sentiments, but was willing to overcome her fear for, well, the sake of our many inquiries. Below, she shares her experience and reveals why acupuncture has many beneficial properties.
I’m lying on a bed, but instead of a doctor’s office or spa, I’m in a company meeting room in my office. And instead of calming whale noises, there’s a steady chime of fire engines and car horns from the street. But regardless, Dr. Vivian Tam is about to delicately poke some needles into my face.
I’m seeing Dr. Vivian for facial acupuncture, which sounds scary, but trust me, it’s actually not. Facial acupuncture–also known as cosmetic acupuncture and facial rejuvenation–has been widely used (for more than 5,000 years) to “assist in softening lines and wrinkles, lifting sagging, increasing firmness, and boosting blood circulation,” as Dr. Vivian details on her website. And this is the first time I’ve tried it.
Facial acupuncture is very popular in Asia, and is a part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). A pilot study by the Kyung Hee University Hospital in South Korea researched the benefits of facial cosmetic acupuncture and found it made a positive improvement to the skin’s elasticity.
How does acupuncture work? More importantly, does it hurt?
Very fine needles are gently inserted into your face through the skin and into the muscle layer. I had nine needles stuck into my face and, when inserted, they felt like I had someone very softly pricking me with a pin. I barely felt them. I can’t emphasize enough that it didn’t hurt (promise).
Each needle is inserted into various points on your face, which targets specific concerns and lines. Needle placement might vary from person to person.
Dr. Vivian warned me that some people experience bruising where a needle is placed, but this is very uncommon, and I wasn’t worried. However, that evening, about five hours after my treatment, I noticed a faint, tiny purple spot on my face about the size of a pearl pin head. The bruise wasn’t sore or tender and has faded almost completely overnight. I also very easily covered it with concealer.
What are the benefits of facial acupuncture?
The benefit of cosmetic acupuncture over invasive treatments is that it requires no downtime, is natural and chemical-free, non-toxic, and targets more than one area of concern each session. Cosmetic acupuncture also works to heal your skin and force it to repair from the inside, rather than treating the problems as they arise.
Along with the actual acupuncture treatment, Dr. Vivian addressed some of my other health concerns through traditional TCM, which is common practice when you book in for treatment. The skin on your face is connected to your entire body, so digestion issues, stress and anxiety can all manifest themselves as problems on your face. TCM looks to address the issue as a whole. It was also a very relaxing process, even though I had gone from my computer to the treatment and back to work.
What can facial acupuncture treat?
The areas of concern for me when it comes to my skin are sun damage, dehydration, and a few fine lines from frowning and stress. Dr. Vivian recommends six to eight treatments to see results, however, I think my ‘11’s’ lines (vertical lines between your eyebrows) were significantly reduced from just one treatment, possibly due to muscle relaxation.
Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of concerns from quitting smoking, adult acne, anxiety, and sleep problems. However, facial acupuncture is the next big thing in anti-aging, and something to try if you are looking for a non-invasive treatment that is remarkably relaxing–even if someone is sticking needles in your face.
This post was written by Amber Elias. For more, check out our sister site Now To Love.
Next: See the celebrities who are battling serious health conditions.
Jillian Michaels Health
Jillian Michaels: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
The fitness guru and former The Biggest Loser coach has become somewhat of an ambassador for PCOS, a hormonal condition that affects the skin and menstrual cycle, after speaking out about it candidly. Because PCOS sufferers have a low chance of pregnancy, Jillian adopted a baby girl.
Lena Dunham Health
Lena Dunham: Endometriosis
The Girls star was diagnosed with endometriosis, a disease where uterus tissue grows outside the uterus, after years of chronic stomach pains. She had surgery in 2015 to treat the disorder.
"Two days after the surgery, I was better than I had been in ten years," she said. "The illness, nausea, heaviness, and fatigue were replaced by an alien absence of sensation."
Tom Hanks Health
Tom Hanks: Diabetes
In 2013, the actor revealed on _The Late Show _ that he had Type 2 diabetes.
Selena Gomez Health
Selena Gomez: Lupus
After being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, which attacks cells, the pop star canceled her 2013 tour and took a hiatus to focus on treatment.
“I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy," she said. "That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke."
Bret Michaels Health
Bret Michaels: Heart Disease
After suffering a mini stroke in 2010, the Poison frontman has had to undergo heart surgery. He's been in and out of hospitals since.
Charlie Sheen Health
Charlie Sheen: HIV
In 2015, the actor announced on the Today show that he's HIV positive. Since then, several former sexual partners have sued Charlie, claiming the actor had put them at risk for an infection.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck Health
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Celiac Disease
The talk show host revealed she struggled with the disease, which affects the digestive system, in her book, The G Free Diet. "No matter what I ate, I would soon be doubled over with cramps, awful indigestion, diarrhea — or all of the above simultaneously," she wrote in the book.
She now follows a gluten-free diet.
Lady Gaga Health
Lady Gaga: Lupus
In 2010, Gaga told Larry King she was diagnosed with "borderline lupus."
Venus Williams Health
Venus Williams: Sjögren’s Syndrome
The tennis star had to withdraw from the US Open in 2011 after being diagnosed with the disorder, which is a disease that attacks the cells that produce saliva.
“The fatigue is hard to explain unless you have it,” Williams said. “Some mornings I feel really sick, like when you don’t get a lot of sleep or you have a flu or cold. I always have some level of tiredness. And the more I tried to push through it, the tougher it got.”
She still battles with the disease.
Halle Berry Health
Halle Berry: Diabetes
The actress was diagnosed back in 1989 after she passed out and slipped into a coma during a taping of a TV show. "They told me I might lose my eyesight, or I could lose my legs," she said. "I was scared to death. I thought I was going to die."
Kim Kardashian Health
Kim Kardashian: Psoriasis
After finding flakey, red patches on her legs in 2011, she went to a dermatologist who diagnosed her with the skin condition on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
Missy Elliott Health
Missy Elliott: Graves’ Disease
After disappearing from the music world, the rapper reemerged in 2015 and blamed her absence on a rare thyroid disease. "It causes hair loss, your eyes bulge,” Elliott said. “My blood pressure was always up from just overworking.”
Thanks to medication, Missy has the condition under control.