TCM Acupuncture Healing Center
Traditional Chinese medicine
Treatments & Therapy

Cosmetic Acupuncture

Cosmetic Acupuncture & Face rejuvenation

Cosmetic acupuncture facial rejuvenation has been practiced for thousands of years. Today, cosmetic acupuncture is considered a safe and effective alternative to more invasive procedures.

A series of 12 sessions, one hour each, performed 2-3 times per week is recommended for the greatest cosmetic benefit where fine sterile disposable needles are inserted into specific points on the face and body, enhancing the blood circulation, collagen production, and lymphatic system while balancing the body's vital energy or "Qi" (pronounced "chi").

This method is not a replacement of plastic surgery. Cosmetic acupuncture facial rejuvenation reduces fine lines and wrinkles, balances skin tone, and reduces inflammation to provide benefits associated with youthful skin...and all sessions are holistic in nature, promoting internal and external health.

Noticeable results are typically seen by the 6th session, and monthly or quarterly maintenance treatments are suggested to prolong the effects of the original series. Results vary depending on age, lifestyle, patient responsiveness and any underlying medical conditions.

* Cosmetic acupuncture can take 5-10 years off your face. The benefits include:
Helps eliminate fine lines and soften deeper lines
Minimize dark circles, puffy eyes and drooping eyelids
Improves a double chin and sagging skin
* Increases circulation, therefore oxygenates the skin
Increases collagen production
Tightens the pores, and brightens the eyes
Keeps acne skin under control
Nourishes the skin, giving you a healthy complexion with a natural glow
Moisturizes the skin from inside, and gives rosy cheeks to people with dull, tired looking skin

Two years ago, Julia Becker’s face was at that awkward age when fine lines begin creeping in to meet the blemishes and breakouts she still woke up to once in a while. At 34, she opted for cosmetic acupuncture, also called facial rejuvenation, to minimize future wrinkles and clear up her occasional acne. “I would never do Botox; I think there’s just something fundamentally wrong with injecting yourself with those things,” she says. “I have super-sensitive skin, so chemical peels are also out.” While the procedure works to help patients of any age look younger and fresher, women Schmidt’s age can delay the onset of wrinkles before they start and also beat blemishes while keeping skin tone fresh and even, says Denver practitioner Martha Lucas. Patients should also be in good general health and report any medical issues before undergoing the procedure. “The greatest candidates are women in their mid 30s, because it can slow down or diminish wrinkling,” Lucas says. “But who you’re also going to see are women in their late 40s and mid 50s, who have some lines and wrinkles, and we can help them too.”

What Is Cosmetic Acupuncture?

Using acupuncture needles on specific points on the face to enhance beauty and preserve a youthful appearance has been done for centuries in China and other Asian countries, but it’s just started to become popular in the Rest of the World in the past decade or so, practitioners say. Cosmetic acupuncture is done in the same fashion as acupuncture done for general health and specific conditions, with the goal of creating collagen just under the skin to help fill in wrinkles and plump skin, similar to the results of Botox, Restylane or plastic surgery, Kay says. Like traditional acupuncture, the cosmetic version also aims to balance the body’s energy and create a sense of well-being.
Increasingly, patients are opting for needles over the knife, says Lucas, who has been performing the procedure for eight years and teaches the Mei Zen method – literally translated as “beautiful person” – to other practitioners whose patients are increasingly asking for it.

Benefits Of Cosmetic Acupuncture

Supalai Kurungansit performs the procedure at a traditional Healing Retreat in Hong Kong, and says her patients find it a great alternative to Botox because it works to improve the look of the entire face and not just certain spots, and it also appeals to many who balk at having foreign substances injected into their faces.
“It fills in wrinkles and increases the collagen production in areas that need it, like frown lines, smile lines and smoker’s lines around the mouth,” Supalai says. “In addition, the color and texture of the skin brightens and smoothes and sagging gets lifted in a natural way. It’s not like a surgical facelift because it’s not that drastic.” While most patients seek out the procedure to improve their looks and erase some of the toll time takes on all our faces, they find an added bonus in the increased sense of well-being that comes along with acupuncture, Kay says.
“It addresses the person’s overall health, whereas a lot of the Western techniques are just about the face.”

Pins, Needles or The Knife: How Does Cosmetic Acupuncture

Compare to Other Procedures?
While most information surrounding the effectiveness of the procedure is anecdotal, one 1996 study published in the International Journal of Acupuncture said that, of 300 patients surveyed, 90 percent said they saw a lessening of lines, clearer skin tone and subtle tightening.
Since patients don’t take chemicals into their body or undergo anesthesia and surgery, there’s little if any controversy over the safety of the procedure. The worst that patients experience may be some pain during the treatment, and patients and practitioners alike say the biggest drawback is the time commitment. “It takes some time, because collagen takes some time to be permanent and there are still people who want to get an injection on their lunch break and be done with it,” Kay says. Sessions take up to 90 minutes each, which means the 10-session initial treatment recommended by the American Cosmetic Acupuncture Association requires a commitment of about three hours per week for five weeks. The course costs between $1,000 and $1,500, after which patients are encouraged to continue monthly maintenance sessions at about $125 to $150 a pop.

Keeping up is key, says Supalai, whose busy life and new job kept her from making regular follow-up appointments until recently. A maintenance session a few weeks ago helped erase her recently acquired stress and smooth out new fine lines she says, encouraging her to make the time for regular appointments in the future. The procedure may be more or less costly than other options, depends on how much work patients want. Botox injections, which are made of botulinum toxin, temporarily remove wrinkles and lines on the face, can cost between $300 and $1,000 depending on how many areas of the face are injected, and are made to be repeated every six months, according to the Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association. Finding a qualified doctor to administer Botox is key, as improperly done injections can result in temporary eyelid drooping and weakness in the facial muscles.
Restylane, another temporary fix sold as a facial filler made of an acid that’s naturally occurring in the body, works to smooth wrinkles in the nose and mouth area and can cost between $500 and several thousand dollars per treatment, depending on the size of the area to be covered, according to the Ethical Cosmetic Surgery Association. Injections are quick, done during office visits, and results last about six months in most people, the association says. Side effects can include bruising, redness and itching, and patients with allergies may not be good candidates for Restylane.
Chemical peels, designed to even out the skin tone and remove some types of scars and precancerous growths, vary widely, with mild peels starting at $150 and going all the way up to $6,500 for a deep chemical peel. Chemical peels must be repeated periodically to maintain the effects. A peel to a small part of the face can be over in 15 minutes, while a deep, full-face procedure can take a couple of hours, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. When done by a qualified dermatologist, peels are generally safe, although there is always some risk of infection and scarring, the society says, and skin may be red and flaky for several days after the procedure.

Facelifts, which require general anesthesia and two to four weeks of recovery time, average somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 including anesthesia and facility fees, according to the Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery. Because it’s surgery with a general anesthesia, the procedure can take several hours and include at least one night in the hospital. While facelifts offer the most drastic changes, they carry all the risks of major surgery and the longest recovery time of the procedures listed here. Kay say patients come to her in a couple of ways. A segment of their patients are already using their more traditional acupuncture services and, at some point, choose the additional procedures. Others hear about cosmetic or generally acupuncture, typically from friends who have tried it. Once they’re patients, many eventually try the treatment for aches, pains or emotional issues as well.


While cosmetic acupuncture patients shouldn’t expect the immediate, dramatic results they might see with other treatments, they do report seeing some changes rather quickly.
Teresa turns 42 this year and has been using Kay’s acupuncture services for health issues, including pain from carpal tunnel syndrome and discomfort from occasional bronchitis and headaches, for about two years. Recently, she began cosmetic acupuncture as well. One morning after her second session she was putting on eye shadow and noticed she suddenly had a bit more lid to cover, she says.
“My face is definitely tighter, and I just got all excited this morning about putting makeup on,” she says.

Hold the Chemicals, Bring on the Needles

Published: December 13, 2007
JANE BECKER, a composer and solo pianist, celebrated her 50th birthday at the dermatologist, paying $1,500 for shots of Restylane and Botox. But three months later, their wrinkle-smoothing effects wore off. So, she turned to a less-artificial youth tonic: facial acupuncture.
Like many women who have tried acupuncture in pursuit of beauty, Ms. Becker hoped that having needles strategically inserted into her face would be cheaper and last longer than her birthday injections. 
Ms. Becker, now 53, started with 10 sessions in five weeks ($1,000) and has gone for monthly maintenance since ($105 a session). Acupuncture didn’t end up being much of a bargain, but it pays in other ways, she said. “I can really see a difference in my face,” said Ms. Becker, who sees Steven Sonmore, a licensed acupuncturist in Minneapolis. “It looks younger, smoother, brighter and uplifted.” (for further reading in the NY-Times please click here)