Cosmetic acupuncture is coming more into the spotlight with celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Ashley Graham and many others touting its benefits. Angelina Jolie claims that it healed the Bell’s palsy that made her face droop on one side.
In regard to Jolie’s claim, acupuncture has been recognized as effective for Bell’s palsy. I have treated it with success. But as always I encourage patients to see their primary care physician to get a full medical perspective.
While the healing of Bell’s palsy is medical as much as cosmetic, acupuncture for purely cosmetic reasons can help in several ways. It increases circulation to the face that results in a rosy glow. Muscles that cause frowning and clenching of the jaw can be released giving the face a more relaxed look. “Distal” needles placed on the arms, legs and sometimes torso can address underlying issues such as imbalances to the systems of the body in terms of Chinese medical theory.
In any acupuncture treatment I do there are points that are used specifically to have a calming effect. Almost invariably, I will needle a point between the eyebrows. It is one of the best points for helping to relieve chronic and acute stress especially when used with a few other strategically placed needles on the arms and legs. Knitted brows disappear which in itself is wonderfully “cosmetic”.
So does cosmetic acupuncture work? While it helps as described above, it will not erase wrinkles. It does not freeze muscles like Botox or fill hollows in the face like the synthetic fillers that are used to “plump” the face. It is important to be realistic when deciding whether to embark on a series of facial acupuncture treatments. They are relatively expensive compared to regular acupuncture sessions. Many acupuncturists charge above $200 for one session. For those who cannot afford a series of “facial rejuvenation” acupuncture sessions, my advice for a radiant countenance is to start from the inside: eat right, get fresh air and exercise, be kind and do your best to create a lifestyle that makes you smile more than frown. Lastly, if you can, consider getting a regular acupuncture treatment once a season.