Pain? Weight loss? Quitting smoking? As it has become more mainstream, acupuncture is used to treat an ever-increasing list of ailments. Including: aging faces.
I visited Christina Captain’s Family Healing Center for a demonstration of “cosmetic acupuncture” techniques—as well as an overview of acupuncture in general. Though I’ve encountered several people who swear up and down at acupuncture’s effectiveness, I didn’t know much myself. And though I’m sure there are still many skeptics, you can’t deny that, for many people, acupuncture occupies a significant spot in today’s American health culture. (Even the most skeptical in our society tend these days to respond with an, “Eh…can’t hurt.”)
A quick Google search reveals that there’s even a U.S. Air Force Acupuncture Center.
First of all, Christina Captain is kind of awesome. She conducted the demonstration with the attitude that was part stand-up comic and part BFF—lighthearted and charming, but still informative, confident and competent.
There are the acupuncture basics—that the technique is based on the idea of meridians throughout the body; that each point can have seven or eight functions; that the professionals locate each point, which are about the size of a quarter, from a “bony landmark” and a Chinese measurement technique called cun (pronounced “soon”), which takes into account each body’s unique size and shape. The needles, which are a hair-like 36 gauge, come sterile, individually wrapped, and are only used once before being disposed as medical waste.
A personal assessment determines what needs to be addressed using which points, aiming for a balance of body functions, or chi.
Addressing facial lines and wrinkles involves more than just points on the face, but addressing those points on the face itself, in addition to their traditional acupuncture uses, adds another aspect to the cosmetic treatment, according to Captain: The micro-trauma from the needles stimulates healing, including collagen production.
The Mei Zen facial rejuvenation acupuncture technique can be performed twice a week for five weeks. Captain can also pair Mei Zen with homeopathic injections, for another facet of treatment. The effects, says Captain, can last three to five years.
Though the procedures are, by and large, pain-free—most even imperceptible—Captain emphasizes that acupuncture has a real and immediate effect. “Injections cause trauma. That’s just how it works,” she says, adding, “That’s why it works.”
Read Hannah Wallace's Health Report in our April issue.