Face Value: A Look at Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation

Marnie Loomis, ND

In my office hangs a hand-painted sign, “Behind every successful woman is a messy house.” You will notice that the sign doesn’t say anything about wrinkles or bags under my eyes. I am comfortable with the idea that clutter in my house may indicate a busy life and stressful job. I am not so comfortable with the idea that my face might show it.

At the first sign of wear and tear, I went straight to the cosmetics counter and bought the best anti-aging formula that I could find. Does this make me vain? Probably. Am I going to lose any sleep over being vain? Heck no. But what I did start to worry about were the ingredients of the creams that I so eagerly applied. Perhaps they were safe, but beyond closing my practice and giving up jobs with deadlines, was there a gentler way to achieve the same results?

My inquiry took me to Dr. Chihiro Aber of Sachi Wellness Center in West Linn, Oregon. Dr. Aber is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist who took her first training course in acupuncture facial rejuvenation at the request of a patient. She admits that initially she was skeptical of what results she might be able to achieve but was comforted to find that the technique had everything to do with total wellness as well as special needling techniques for the face. Both she and her patient were nicely surprised to see how noticeable the changes really were. When your body feels good, your face will show it.

A treatment typically involves 6-10 body points to address more constitutional concerns such as gastrointestinal problems or hormone imbalance and an additional 10-20 facial points to tone the muscles of the face. The needle size is typically in the 38-42 range, and the needling technique varies according to the school of thought. Some techniques involve three needles in each point; some use only one. Dr. Aber has found both to be quite effective.

A typical protocol involves 10-12 treatments for a full course, although lasting results can typically be seen after 5-7 treatments and sometimes even after the first one. Most patients will find their eyes look brighter, jawlines more defined, jowls lifted, deep wrinkles reduced, and dark spots lightened. After the full course, the “acupuncture face lift” effect typically lasts for one to three years, depending on the person. A patient comes in twice a week for the first two to three weeks and once a week thereafter until desired results are achieved.

Dr. Aber went to three different certifying courses, each lasting a weekend and culminating with a written test of comprehension. The three schools were Virginia Doran, Mary Elisabeth Wakefield, and Meizen Cosmetic Acupuncture School. She highly recommends getting as much training as possible and taking the time to practice the technique on people who will be forgiving of bruising that may happen before the technique is perfected. She recalls during her initial practice sessions she gave two people black eyes when she wasn’t quite fast enough with the ice and pressure. Now that she is comfortable with the technique, she no longer has these problems.

Her patients have been thrilled with the results and don’t mind the somewhat gradual nature of change. They report that unlike Botox or surgery, acupuncture facial rejuvenation will result in compliments along the lines of “There is something different about you and you look great,” versus, “Did you get Botox?” Many of her patients choose not to tell people what they are doing to achieve the change; they just simply thank people for noticing. Not the best for word-of-mouth referral business, but her patients are happy, so Dr. Aber is happy. I am just happy to know there is a chemical-free option out there so that I can continue with my full, exciting life and look good doing it.

Some acupuncture points involved in facial rejuvenation:

  • GB14
  • Bladder 1 and 2
  • Triple burner 23
  • Yu Ya

Dr. Marnie Loomis is a National College of Naturopathic Medicine graduate and current teacher of nutrition. She has a general naturopathic practice in Aloha, Oregon, where she focuses on gastrointestinal disorders, women’s medicine, and meeting the health care needs of highly sensitive people. Originally from Michigan, she received her BS from Michigan State University in interdisciplinary social science, focusing on psychology and public policy. She has been involved

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