Did you know that as we age, our face becomes larger? It is because as we age, our skin loses its elasticity, and the cheekbones become more pronounced and the facial outline gravitates downwards to make the face appear bigger. Also as we use the muscles for mastication for food consumption as well as for speech, the jawline tends to become flatter. This is why the slender and oval-shaped faces of young people become square-jawed as they age.
In today's world where people fight for every competitive edge they can muster including appearances, many people do stress out when they appear older than their actual age because of the worry lines and loose facial skin.
Cosmetic treatment options have become common practices. Some consider Botox shots for the facial wrinkles and others consider micro-lipo injection (or "fat transfer") for their deflated cheek lines.
However, the concerns about side effects as well as appearing unnatural and the time required for treatment options can prevent people from taking that particular route. Thus, some settle for professional skin care at esthetic care centers. For such people, anti-aging treatments using acupuncture can be a viable option.
In Oriental medicine, there are six meridian systems in the face. Cosmetic acupuncture stimulates the acupuncture points along those systems as well as the muscle layer according to the human anatomy to induce the rejuvenation of the skin and to relax the muscles.
From old times, Oriental medicine has treated facial asymmetry from Bell's palsy with acupuncture to bring back the symmetry. Acupuncture has been applied to treat the drooping half of the face caused by facial nerve paralysis. The treatment techniques have been fine-tuned and developed in more recent years to be used for cosmetic and treatment purposes.
The biggest advantage of cosmetic acupuncture is that it is a treatment that does not require anesthesia nor surgery, and that there is no artificial prostheses or drugs injected into the face, which means that the achieved appearance is natural.
Another advantage is that daily activities can be resumed immediately after the treatment. It is quite a safe treatment option as there are hardly any side effects, other than possibly some minor contusion. Naturally, you may not achieve as dramatic a result as a cosmetic surgery, but there are still visible improvements that do not appear awkward at all.
Cosmetic acupuncture can rejuvenate the elasticity in the facial skin and can make the face look slender to achieve that desired "V-line." And as the acupuncture relaxes the muscles to regain muscle elasticity as well to hold the skin tighter, it makes the face appear smaller.
Laughter lines can become less pronounced and the line around the eyes ("crow's feet") can also improve. Especially, as the "qi" and blood circulation in the face improve, the facial complexion becomes more transparent and clear.
Additionally, patients with headaches and jaw aches can experience improvement of their pain. Those who are prone to bloodshot eyes, or feel their visions dim, or feel it difficult to open the eyes due to fatigue can also see improvements of their symptoms.
"Cosmetic" does not mean that the intended treatment is only for the face. As an Oriental medical treatment, cosmetic acupuncture seeks to bring the overall balance to the body.
The acupuncture points are not limited to the facial area, but the head and neck regions are treated at the same time to bring about the better qi and blood circulation around the face.
In Oriental medicine, each part of the face corresponds to a specific internal organ and the face can be a tell-tale sign for their functions. For example, our forehead is connected to the heart, nose to the spleen, left cheek to the liver, and the right cheek to the lungs.
The development state of such areas, as well as their skin color and conditions can show the corresponding organ's state. What this means is that to have a healthy complexion and appearance on our face, our internal organs and their functions must be in harmony. Therefore, some Oriental doctors may prescribe herbal medication to treat the body when administering cosmetic acupuncture.
Twisted pelvis can cause asymmetry in the face that make the wrinkles on one side of the face appear deeper than on the other, and less elasticity of skin on one side. For such patients, spinal adjustment may become part of their treatment.
The asymmetry in the temporomandibular (TMJ, joints of the jaw) can also be the cause for the left and right imbalance of the face, and TMJ adjustment can be administered along with cosmetic acupuncture.
They say that beauty is only skin deep, but in today's world where so many celebrities are praised for their glowing, younger looking skin, it has become just that. Cosmetic acupuncture can be a very safe and natural appearing option to achieve that skin-deep beauty.
The writer practices Korean Oriental medicine at the UN Oriental Medical Clinic in Hannam-dong, Seoul. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.