Acupuncture: The all-in-one solution
BRINDA GILL helps you get over your fear of needles and submit to a facial acupuncture programme for healthy skin inside-out.
For many of us, merely the thought of having a dozen needles stuck into our face in order to improve complexion is surely a bit unnerving. Yet, acupuncture specialists reassure that associating pain with facial acupuncture is a myth that needs to be banished. And they assure us that acupuncture has visible long-term benefits that manifests in improved overall health and healthy complexion. Acupuncture is an ancient healing technique that involves inserting very fine, sterile needles superficially, and at specific points in the body, to stimulate the body’s self-healing process. The technique has been practised in China for over 3,000 years and is one of the established practices of traditional Chinese medicine.
“Traditional Chinese medicine states that the body has two opposite yet complementary and inseparable forces called yin and yang, which need to be balanced for the body to be healthy. An imbalance in these forces leads to the slowing down or blockage of chi, the universal energy that flows through meridians or channels in the body. This in turn manifests as health issues,” says Dr. Nisheeta Barodekar, Mumbai-based homeopath, acupuncturist and cosmetologist. She explains that these blockages can be addressed by acupuncture as there are over 3,000 acupoints in the body that are located on the meridians. Inserting very fine needles on specific acupoints eases the blockages, stimulates the nervous system and the body’s natural healing mechanism. The principles of acupuncture are applied to address a variety of ailments of the body (sinusitis, hypertension, migraines, sciatica, sprains) and mind (stress), as well as the skin, including problems such as acne, pigmentation, hyper-pigmentation, scars, puffiness, under-eye bags, sagging skin and wrinkles. Facial acupuncture offers several benefits. “Facial acupuncture helps in improving blood and lymph circulation, which increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, and the removal of toxins that in turn improves the health and appearance of the complexion. It regulates the pH of the skin, thus increasing the production of sebum for those who have dry skin and reducing the production of sebum for those who have oily skin. Furthermore, it stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. Unlike other procedures wherein supplementary collagen is injected into the skin, acupuncture stimulates the body to produce collagen naturally. Thus, it helps improve muscle tone, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and relaxes the facial muscles, resulting in a more youthful appearance. It is a safe and gentle treatment for healthy skin and goes to the root of the ailment to offer a long-term solution,” says Dr Barodekar. A facial acupuncture treatment typically involves meeting with the specialist, who spends time to understand the client’s lifestyle and concerns, and then draws up an individual treatment program. “Each client’s facial concerns may stem from different reasons. For example, one client may have acne due to incorrect lifestyle or incorrect diet, another due to dandruff, and the third due to hormonal imbalances. Once the reason for the skin problem is identified, the acupuncturist decides where exactly the needles should be inserted and the number of needles to be used during a session.” The insertion of needles is followed by the application of a very low frequency pulsating microcurrent—the modern-day version of hand-rotating of the needles that was done in times past—to stimulate the acupoints. Each session lasts for about 15-20 minutes. A client is asked to take sessions on alternate days, and the number of sessions required depends on the type and severity of the skin concern. The needles inserted on the facial skin may also benefit other organs, such as the liver, thus improving overall health. Along a similar vein, needles may be inserted in other parts of the body to improve facial skin. Facial acupuncture is suitable for all age groups and skin types. It offers long-lasting benefits with no side-effects. The treatment may appear superficial, however, its benefits are deep.