At BodaHealth, our goal is to provide a wide variety of natural health services to our patients. For that reason, we’re excited to highlight cosmetic acupuncture treatments by Danzhu Mowat. In addition to her credentials as a Registered Acupuncturist and TCM Herbalist, Danzhu trained with Zhang Ying, a Chinese-trained practitioner; and she studied Facial Acupuncture Rejuvenation with renowned Chinese practitioner Ciu Lanying, whose techniques are based on blending the ancient practice of acupuncture with modern cosmetology.
Danzhu answers some frequently asked questions and sheds some light on the fascinating practice of cosmetic acupuncture.
Q: How does cosmetic acupuncture work?
As we age, or due to body imbalances, Qi and blood flow in some channels including some micro-channels on your face can become blocked. Due to the blockage, those areas lack nourishment. Over time, some muscles or part of muscles can adhere to the bone, causing less Qi and blood flow in between. From the surface, it can be seen as wrinkles or a rough appearance. One type of cosmetic acupuncture I practice uses special thin flat-tipped needles, inserted transversely to stimulate the superficial fascia of the tissues. It can clear the pathway in between muscle and bone, allow more Qi and blood flow in between. The surface can look smoother, and even wrinkle free, with better color.
Q: What is your specific cosmetic acupuncture protocol? For example, do you use regular acupuncture needles when you’re treating the face or smaller Korean hand needles? How many needles are typically inserted into the face? Do you also use needles at other points on the body? If so, is it to treat specific conditions or is it to support the cosmetic protocol?
A: Cosmetic acupuncture uses both regular acupuncture needles and acupuncture needles with a very thin and flat tip. Sometimes I use smaller facial needles on the face or body, but I seldom do micro-needling on the face. The number of needles used on the face varies from one to a dozen, but sometimes it can depending on how the patient feels. I usually insert needles on the body first to treat overall imbalances and to guide Qi and Blood upward to the face to achieve a better result. Before any treatment, I usually do a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) diagnosis first. Every treatment is customized to each individual patients needs.
Q: Do you do single cosmetic facial treatments, or is a series of treatments required? If so, how many sessions over what period of time are involved?
A: This would depend on the individual. In some cases, people are satisfied with just one treatment, other times they may need 3 times or more in one area. Usually the results are permanent, unless you continue the same old habits, which over time may cause the same issue. For example, after removing wrinkles in between the eyebrows, if you person continue to frown as often as usual, eventually the wrinkles can come back.
Q: What kinds of results have you seen in your patients? What should patients expect?
A: The results can vary for each patient, but after a single treatment I’ve seen wrinkles almost completely disappear, eye bags significantly smaller, pimples begin to resolve and then disappear gradually in about a month.
Q: Is cosmetic acupuncture painful? And what about bruising?
A: The sensation of facial acupuncture is different for each patient. Most don’t describe the treatments as painful, and there’s no need to use any anesthetic on the body while providing acupuncture. If you feel any pain, I notice right away, and I can stop the insertion of the needle and change the direction to avoid needling to the vessels or the nerve to reduce sensation. There may be some discomfort, but from the feedback on people I’ve treated, it’s minor and manageable. Since there are lots of micro-vessels on the face, especially around the eyes, bruising can’t be prevented completely. Any bruising that occurs heals in a week or two. Other than bruising, there are generally no other side effects to cosmetic acupuncture.
Q: Who or what kind of patient is best suited for cosmetic acupuncture? Are there any contraindications for treatment? For example, could certain health conditions, smoking, etc. be a reason not to do cosmetic acupuncture, or a reason to expect inferior results?
People who are generally healthy and have enough Qi and blood flow, who want to look younger, or reduce some wrinkles, shrink their waistline, or who want to tighten loose skin or sagging upper arm or legs are good candidates for cosmetic acupuncture. I would not recommend it for people who have a phobia of needles or are extremely sensitive to needles. That said, it is much less invasive than facial surgery. For people who don’t have sufficient Qi and blood flow, the results may not be as apparent or it may take longer to see optimal results. For those patients, I often recommend a few sessions of regular acupuncture treatments to enhance the Qi and blood flow before going ahead with the cosmetic acupuncture.
Q: In addition to bruising, are there other downsides to cosmetic acupuncture?
A: No. In addition, there’s no downtime or need to heal after a cosmetic acupuncture treatment.
Q: Can cosmetic acupuncture treat other skin conditions, such as rosacea or acne?
A: Absolutely yes, cosmetic acupuncture can help with other skin conditions like rosacea and acne.
Q: How long do results typically last? What should patients expect in terms of follow-ups?
A: Usually the results are permanent, but under certain conditions. For example if you continue to frown very often, then eventually the wrinkles in between your eyebrows will likely eventually appear once again. For better results, some conditions require multiple treatments. I recommend once every 2-4 weeks, depending on what area you’d like to work on, and depending on your energy level.
Q: What sets your protocol and cosmetic acupuncture techniques apart from other cosmetic systems?
A: I see each individual as a whole, which means that I treat patient’s issues as patterns—I don’t focus on just a single symptom. This is true for general acupuncture as well as cosmetic acupuncture. By doing so and customizing each treatment to the specific individual, the treatments are more effective and my patients see better results.
The bottom line is that cosmetic acupuncture can be an effective and natural way to address aging skin or a specific skin condition. If you want to know more about cosmetic acupuncture feel free to contact BodaHealth and book a session with Danzhu.
Dr. Jeda Boughton is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Registered Acupuncturist in Vancouver. She is also a Registered Herbologist and the founder of BodaHealth.