Acupuncture is the practice of inserting needles into meridian points that affect the circulation of blood and Qi in the body. Though most acupuncture is used for illnesses, aches and pains, acupuncture for the skin, while less well-known, is based on the same healing principles.
In TCM, disease symptoms and a person’s appearance are linked to disharmonies within the body. Thus, to address skin problems, a TCM physician will aim to diagnose and treat the underlying internal disharmony.
For example, says Senior Physician Tang Yue of the Eu Yan Sang Premier TCM Centre @ Orchard Paragon, sagging skin may be the result of water retention caused by a weakened Spleen. To perk up the sagging skin, she would try to tonify the Spleen by stimulating certain meridian points in the leg that influence the flow of blood and Qi.
Besides its wide-ranging effects on the body, acupuncture may have some local effects in the areas where the needles are applied. It is thought that the insertion of the needles triggers the body’s self-repairing mechanisms. This causes collagen and elastin to be built up in the affected area and plump out the skin.
For its fans, the result of beauty acupuncture is glowing, more up-lifted skin. What’s more, these benefits come with none of the risks associated with more invasive alternatives such as Botox injections and face lifts.
What’s a typical course of treatment?
For a beauty acupuncture patient, Senior Physician Tang would generally start with a course of two 30–40 minute sessions a week, for six to ten sessions. Depending on the patient’s health profile, Senior Physician Tang might also prescribe a course of TCM herbs.
The effects of the acupuncture become evident by the end of one course, though younger patients may see results sooner.
After the initial course, Senior Physician Tang typically recommends regular sessions for maintenance. These take place at the rate of one session every two to four weeks.
Besides acupuncture therapy and prescribed herbs, she also recommends a balanced lifestyle that includes at least six hours of good-quality sleep a night, eating more vegetables, drinking more water and avoiding deep-fried food.