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Improving Skin with Cosmetic Acupuncture
By: Katie Schaefer, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine
Posted: September 29, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
Cosmetic acupuncture is as old as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and was combined with Chinese herbs when practiced by Imperial concubines and empresses for the attention of the emperor, according to Michelle O’Shaughnessy, DOM, esthetician and founder of the Aesthetic Acupuncture Clinic in Orlando, Fla., USA. Cosmetic acupuncture is said to address skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, dryness, sagging and wrinkles. However, only in recent years has the practice become popular worldwide.
There are three forms of cosmetic acupuncture: Meizen cosmetic acupuncture, facial rejuvenation acupuncture and the acupuncture facelift. These treatments are focused on the principles of TCM, where qi is the vital energy flow in the body. In her book on TCM,1 O’Shaughnessy adds that, “using TCM, signs of deficiency or excess can be found by analyzing different aspects of the body, including the face, the tongue and the paths of energy that travel through the body (meridians). TCM uses treatments like acupuncture, Chinese herbs and dietary recommendations to bring the body back to harmony.”
Yin and Yang Theory
O’Shaughnessy described how skin conditions are addressed through acupuncture points on the body. The body’s meridians are classified as either yin or yang. While yang meridians are connected to hollow organs like the stomach and intestines, yin meridians are associated with solid organs like the liver, spleen or heart.
The locations chosen for needle application depend upon the individual’s skin concern. “Dry skin is a yin deficiency,” said O’Shaughnessy, who added, “yin is responsible for the fluid while yang is responsible for the function of the organs.”
According to O’Shaughnessy, yin dries up with age, resulting in wrinkles, rosacea, dry skin and hyperpigmentation. Conversely, yang deficiency results in pale skin, clogged pores and sagging around the neck and eyelids. “To address the yin deficiency of dry skin, I would target Spleen 6, which is a spot three inches above the ankle, to begin producing fluid in the body,” said O’Shaughnessy, who targets a number of other body points.