Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

Wednesday, 3 June 2009 | Tags:

If you're looking for a natural age-fighting alternative to plastic surgery or Botox, etc., you may want to look into the practice of cosmetic acupuncture. Employing ancient techniques, this treatment is said to stimulate the facial muscles and skin to reduce the signs of aging. Beauty Call volunteer Michelle puts it to the test and reports back.

The Basics

Also called Cosmetic Acupuncture or an Acupuncture Facelift, ‘mei rong’ or Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture applies ancient acupuncture techniques from traditional Chinese medicine as a means of reducing the signs of aging. This involves inserting acupuncture needles, and in many cases, paired with using herbal supplements, dietary recommendations, and other traditional techniques.

The theory behind Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is that it is a deep treatment that brings balance to the underlying causes of stress and fatigue in the face. Practitioners believe that the face reflects the health of the whole body, and therefore a more holistic treatment results in a youthful appearance and an overall health improvement. I.e. You look younger because you feel younger.

How It Works

To understand how it works, we must delve into some basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Based on the laws of nature, motion and transformation using the concept of Qi (pronounced “chee”), which is defined as energy throughout the universe. Qi is divided into two complementary forces, yin and yang, which make up all aspects of life.

Yin and yang are each tied to different parts of the body (e.g. organs) and the understanding is that yin and yang must be balanced in order for life to be sustained. These are the principles applied to the human body in Tradiational Chinese Medicine, applying energy to manipulate the forces of yin and yang in the body.

Acupuncture techniques are said to harmonize the yin and yang, opposing energies in the body.

  • Fine needs are inserted into specific points of the body in order to correct disruptions in harmony.

  • Because different parts of the body are connected through the energy flow of Qi (yin and yang), practitioners treat the specific area, as well as other areas connected to the energy flow of the treatment site.

  • Acupressure (hand pressure) and heat stimulation (moxibustion) are also applied to the points in some cases.

Approaches in facial acupuncture vary by practitioner. Needles are used on the face and elsewhere on the body with a couple of key goals:

  • Tonification: for flabby skin that does not adhere to the underlying muscle and overlies poor muscle tone. This technique promotes blood circulation.

  • Sedation: for areas with tense muscles that need to relax. These techniques are often used to reduce inflammation and acne.


Improvement claims resulting from Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture treatments include:

  • Reduction in wrinkles, up to 5-15 years of lines, with results lasting up to 5 years. Fine lines may be eliminated, while deeper lines are diminished, but not erased.

  • Reduction or elimination of under eye bags, puffiness, drooping eyelids.

  • Reduction or elimination of double chins, jowls, and ‘turkey necks’.

  • Improvement in overall skin texture and colouring, moisture content, muscle tone, and pore size.

  • Decrease in acne.

  • Stimulation of collagen production (the insertion of a needle creates a micro-trauma, which stimulates collagen production) to regenerate skin’s elasticity.

  • Reduction or elimination of broken capillaries

  • Help with Rosacea.

  • Improvement of circulation, digestion, and hormonal balance (e.g. stimulates estrogen production, which slows aging).  

What to Expect

After a consultation with a practitioner to assess your needs, you will lay on a table in a relaxing atmosphere. The practitioner will insert the sanitized acupuncture needles just beneath the skin. The needles are generally 12mm long and 0.18 mm thick (smaller than needles used elsewhere on the body, which often have to reach deeper tissue).

Energy channels connected with the face include:

  • The Greater Yin Channel of the Foot, which helps tighten flabby skin under the eyes and chin.

  • The Brighter Yang channel of the Foot, which helps tone muscles in the eyelids, cheeks, and under the chin.

  • The Greater Yin channel of the Hand, which helps promote healthy skin, shrink pores, and tighten skin (for smoothness and less wrinkles).

  • The Lesser Yin Channel of the Foot, which when tonified, reduces under eye circles, and also enhances hair luster and thickness, and skin moisture.

  • The Ultimate Yin Channel of the Foot,  which when sedated, brightens eyes and can improve acne.

Your practitioner may also put you on an herbal treatment, either a topical application or an oral supplement, and may include other augmentations like facial massage exercises, essential oils, aromatherapy, and lifestyle and diet counseling.


Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture typically requires 10-12 ninety-minute sessions, with up to 3 sessions per week, with at least one day off in between. You may also be encouraged to continue with ongoing maintenance sessions (e.g. one per month)

Cost varies by practitioner. We found an average of 10 sessions for $1000.

Side Effects

There is little or no side effects from acupuncture treatment, although some people experience slight bruising at the insertion points.


Beauty Call volunteer Michelle, 42, wanted to improve the frown lines between her eyebrows, the smile lines on either side of her mouth, and the wrinkles around her eyes.

She was a little skeptical about the procedure, but wanted a natural anti-aging option. She did her research and found acupuncture practitioner Dr. Pardeep Dherari in Vancouver.

Dr. Dherari says that cosmetic acupuncture is not an instant fix; it’s more of a lifestyle change, and gives a more natural look. He says that it’s more about health than beauty. The beauty is a side effect of what acupuncture actually treats.

The Treatment

Michelle went for a consultation and then continued with 10 sessions at $100 each. She said she could feel some of the needs being inserted, but others not at all.  She experienced some bruising at the insertion points, but there was no soreness.

The Verdict

Michelle says that the effects were very subtle and she’s glad she did it because it was a good experience. However, for the amount of money it costs, she doesn’t think she’d do it again.



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