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Cosmetic Facial Aging: What’s Lurking Below the Surface?



The title of today’s presentation is cosmetic facial acupuncture. What’s working and lurking below the surface, and I am a cosmetic facial acupuncturist.

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Disclaimer: The following is an actual transcript. We do our best to make sure the transcript is as accurate as possible, however, it may contain spelling or grammatical errors.  Due to the unique language of acupuncture, there will be errors, so we suggest you watch the video while reading the transcript.

Thank you for the American Acupuncture Council for inviting me here today. It’s really an honor and a pleasure to be here and thanks to all of you who are here and watching and listening and participating.

I appreciate you being here and I hope that you enjoy this presentation today. So I am from Florida. And happy to be here. So let’s go. We’re going to start the PowerPoint presentation. The title of today’s presentation is cosmetic facial acupuncture. What’s work w lurking below the surface, and I am a cosmetic facial acupuncturist.

So I’m going to help you to see what’s lurking below the surface. Here we go. So cosmetic acupuncture. It’s really a form of my rung. It’s an ancient, traditional form of healing based on the concept of beautiful appearance. And in China, we’re in, when we talk about beautiful appearance, we’re not talking about just the inside, but we’re talking about acupuncture and herbal medicine.

That was notably used by the ancient Chinese emphasis and anchors to keep their concubines looking beautiful and healthy. And it was practiced in Asia for centuries as part of a holistic regime to both enhance beauty and to delay the visible signs of aging. And it was also designed to promote systemic health and overall wellbeing.

Today, cosmetic facial acupuncture is one of the most popular specialties among acupuncturists in this country. And I was part of a 2014 NCC AOM acupuncture, facial rejuvenation needs assessments. And in that survey, we asked a number of questions, reaching out to all of the members of the NTC AOM organization.

And based on the feedback that we received, we found out that 62% of the patients of these acupuncturist, patients inquired about acupuncture for appearances. That’s a lot of people. And when I asked myself the question both for the, from the perspective of the patients, but also from me as a clinician’s perspective, why do people come for cosmetic facial acupuncture?

They come for prevention. They come for a desire for a natural alternative. That’s more congruent with their belief systems because times have changed now. And I find that my patients are much more interested in something that’s a holistic or natural alternative, as opposed to say surgery or some invasive procedure.

But also this I thought was particularly interesting and it has to do with the patient’s conflict about aging. What happens when someone begins to age? What happens on the inside? And what I’ve realized is that as we age, we start to change both in relationship to ourselves and in relationship to.

Ourselves when we’re dealing with others. So for example, in our twenties and thirties, what are the primary goals or what are the primary objectives or things that are important to people in their twenties and thirties? They’re interested in their social life. They’re interested in their careers.

They’re seeking partners their lifestyle, their homeless. At that age, there aren’t a lot of visible or physical changes. So it’s not really in the forefront of their perspective about themselves or the things that they’re concerned about. As we begin to age and move into the gen Z generations or decades of our forties and fifties, we start to shift our priorities, start to shift our relationship to ourselves and to other begins to share.

We are a little more invested in our career. Our partner may be starting a family or having a family. We have friends, and this is when we first start to see those visible and physical changes. And then as we move into our later years, sixties and up, this is when those visible changes are very visible and much more.

We’re much more affected by them. And this is when we start feeling our relationship about aging and re-examining ourselves and re-examining our life. Good looking at well, what have we accomplished? What haven’t we accomplished? Am I happy with myself? Am I do I feel like I’ve given enough or received enough in my life and all of these questions bring up what we call either a life crisis, or a big change in our life.

And it’s somewhere between this fifties and sixties. And it’s well-documented, we know it as say our life transition. It’s a period of questioning. Our identity may be challenging. Our self-confidence this typically occurs from about 45 to 65 years. It lasts about one to two years and clinically it’s described as a psychological unraveling brought about by events that highlight.

Our person’s growing age, inevitable mortality and perceived life, a Cod accomplishments. It’s when we start thinking, okay, I might be on the other half of my life, I may have lived. Longer than I have left to live. And it really, I don’t know for those of you who have gone through that are in it now it’s quite can be quite traumatic.

And it often spurs this desire to make drastic changes in our, in their current lifestyle or in our current lifestyle. And a lot of that comes from the urge to recapture our youth or to hold onto what we perceive as our. And for some people, this is exciting. It’s an opportunity to really look at themselves to really self evaluate, to see our insight, look at our insights, maybe a self-exploration and reassessing and reappraising, and there’s an enthusiasm behind it and it challenge and it’s a very exciting.

Part of our life, let’s say that’s not always true for others. For others. It can be a time of confusion. Emptiness. Meaninglessness or restlessness, maybe we’re not happy with what we’re thinking. Maybe we’re not happy with ourselves. Maybe there are some things that we feel like we have not accomplished or places where we felt like we felt short, fell short in our lives and it’s disturbing.

But then there are others and this is really sad, it’s so challenging and it’s so fraught with turmoil that it can lead to depression. It can lead to anxiety. It can lead to disillusionment self-doubt self-loathing. And a lot of these people have a kind of a shallow or not a strong sense of themselves or not as strong.

Since of their confidence. And so when, and they’ll rely on the superficial aspects of themselves, their looks their social life to actually validate who they are as a person. And when those things that you’re look start to Duane or not be up to what we thought we should look like what’s left.

There’s not much left. And it’s actually very upsetting and very difficult for ourselves and for our patients. And particularly in our Western culture, we are a very youth driven culture. And when we are faced with. No longer looking like the youthful person that we think we should be. It throws us into turmoil.

And from a clinical perspective, we know that although our patients are seeking treatment for appearance enhancement, they’re coming in for their wrinkles, there’s their skin or whatnot. We know that it’s not just that superficial make-over that they’re looking for, but there’s this deeper, emotional and spiritual healing that needs to be attended.

And this is the beauty of our medicine as acupunctures. And particularly as a cosmetic facial acupuncture, as big as acupuncturist, because our treatments are both physical. They treat the psycho emotional and they treat the spiritual component, especially when we’re looking at it from the principles of Chinese med.

And when I say according to the principles of Chinese medicine, what am I talking about? I’m talking about the balance of yin and young cheap blood fluids, the meridians organs and all of the systems that are involved. So for example, when we look at the pair organ systems and all of their attributes, From the perspective of the heart, the small intestines, the pericardium, and the San chow.

We know that as a system, they rule the blood vessels well in our world as cosmetic facial acupuncturist, we’re looking at complexion, we’re looking at fine lines, broken capillaries, rosacea, that type of. From the spleen and the stomach, we know that system oversees the muscles and the muscle, the health and integrity of muscles.

That’s the same for facial acupuncturists. We’re looking at the facial muscles and the integrity or the attenuation of the facial muscles every time. We know from our Chinese medicine, that the lungs in the large intestine oversee one skin or the concept of skin and in our world, what we’re looking at is skin quality, texture, poor size acne, rosacea.

That. And then we also know from our Chinese medicine knowledge that the kidneys and the bladder oversee the bones and aging, the entire concept of aging. And so a lot of conditions that are involved, premature aging bone fragility, bone resorption on the face. We’re looking at the kidneys and the bladder.

And then this is the kind of the one that’s a little bit different, but we know that the gallbladder and the liver oversee. Ligaments and tendons will in our world. What we’re thinking of is not so much ligaments, intendance, but the smooth flow of cheer, the way that the muscles contract relax.

And when that smooth flow gets loss, what we begin to see is the skin on top of the muscles of the face, begin to crease and fold, and that begins the development of bringing. From a psycho-emotional perspective, we’re looking at the five elements. We’re looking at the fire earth, metal water wood perspective.

And we know that fire has to do with one’s ability to socialize their healthy socialization whether they over socialize under socialized, that balance that occurs in the fire element. The. Is about how we digest our thoughts. It’s about our ideas and it’s about self-esteem from a metal perspective, we’re looking at lungs grief, the way that we breathe in, breathe out, letting go the ability to let go of the old and bring in the new and the inability to do bringing grief, resentment, or regret. From the water perspective or the kidneys again, we’re looking at acceptance and fear. How are we aging? Are we okay with aging? What do we anticipate? Can we accept it? Is it fearful? Is it so fearful that we actually get paralyzed and depressed? That type of. And the wood element being delivered and the anger, it’s about the inability to actually make those changes, leading to frustration, bitterness, resentment, lack of hope, change remorse, all of the emotions that go with the frustration or the inability to actually let go and change.

So as practitioners, we are balancing both the physical and the imminent. And what’s interesting for a facial acupuncturist is our ability to correlate those facial features with the systems of the water wood, fire earth, and metal are the five elements and the organ systems. And we can actually see on the face, those changes that occur both on the physical and the emotional perception.

So let’s look at wrinkles. If you look at the different aspects of the face, starting with the upper forehead, that’s ruled by the kidneys around the eyes and the lower portion of the forehead is the liver. The lungs really ruled the cheek area. The spleen, stomach and digestion around the mouth in between the eyebrows.

The kidneys are the ears as well as the upper forehead and the lower aspect of the chin. And when there is an emotional disharmony within those organ systems, it can show up as wrinkles. It can show. And changes in skin coloring. It can show up in terms of say dyschromia or pitting in this tissue.

And so as facial acupunctures, we actually learn how to look at the face, diagnose the face, both from a physical and an emotional perspective. And then there’s also an emotional map. This is from Lotus Institute, Lillian. And she has actually outlined the direct emotions that occur within those features, whether it be wrinkles, skin pitting, flattening changes in color of the skin.

Is the skin a little white or pale meaning frozen or is it red? Meaning there are signs of. Yeah, when we treat, we definitely need to treat all of the emotions. We need to treat the emotional component as well as the physical. And when we are looking at those underlying pattern disharmony, we see that the wrinkles that the skin color.

So that the flattening or trajectory of the face those are just the symptoms. What we’re really looking for are those underlying pattern that as harmony and that we differentiate with our signs and symptoms through our poults and our tongue. And then we treat the superficial or the root. Which is the the wrinkles as the symptoms.

So for example, we’re going to look at ours signs and symptoms, tongue called that type of thing. And we’re going to discover whether it’s liver cheese, stagnation, frustration, repressed, anger, and we’re going to treat that with body points and then the branch, the wrinkles that show up, particularly if we’re looking at, say the liver around the forehead we’re going to treat those with these.

So here’s an example. This is a patient of mine and he was a 44 year old male. He was looking for acupuncture treatment to enhance his facial appearance. And his chief concern was what we’re calling disfat satisfaction with the forehead and glabellar area, the glabella areas that crease in between the forehead.

Sometimes it’s a single crease. Sometimes it’s a multiple crease you can see in this patient. That’s a very deep crease on one side. And then a smaller crease rate by the inner campus of the eye on the other side. So even though this patient had bilateral headaches, he had a history of carpal tunnel syndrome.

He had asymptomatic mitral valve prolapse and periodic lumbar pain. Those were erotic. But he wanted treating was this creasing between his forehead. So we spent a lot of time talking about it. We spent time talking about the physical component of it, the underlying patterns of disharmony. And then we reached into the emotions, the frustration and anger for him about aging, because the peer pressure for him to look youthful was hi the standard was so high in his world that he just couldn’t get past it. He did not like himself. He was so frustrated, anger, angry about it. So we had to trust both of them. And we did we came well. I came up with a liver cheap pattern with blood stagnation and congestion in the gall Meridian validated by the tongue and pulse.

The treatment plan was to harmonize. And then we decided we were going to do this for 10 weekly treatments and then reevaluate. So I chose some points. I showed somebody points to reflect the treatment that I was doing face points to actually subsidize the underlying pattern disharmony. And then I did some of your points.

I always use your points. I think they’re really. Okay. And so this is the before and after this is what happened after country meets. And as you can see, there’s a significant difference for those of you who do practice facial acupuncture, some of these changes may be more obvious to you, but even for someone who doesn’t.

Visible difference. The first change that you see as the softening in the creasing between the glabellar region, but look at his whole face, look at his entire demeanor. Can you see? And the before picture. In the heel Muslims angry, his face has pulled in his jaws. Clenching his face is very tight. And then in the after 10 treatments, you can see his face is so much more relaxed.

He’s more comfortable with himself physically and also emotionally as well. So this is just one example of many ways that we are treating, not just the. Superficial, because if I had just treated deliberately stagnation, if I had not addressed what was going on underneath, I may have seen a difference.

I don’t think it would have been the significant and it certainly wouldn’t have been within the timeframe that needed that we were given. I gave ourselves. But again, just to reiterate and validate the significance of not just treating the surface, but really treating the physical, the emotional, the spiritual, and using that with our pattern underlying patterns as harming.

Using surface points to treat the face and pulling the whole thing together. So it, again, not just one one aspect of it, but particularly in facial acupuncture, because when you think about the face and when you think about the orifice as the face, your eyes, your ears, your nose, your mouth, we are the face picks up everything.

It’s the first line of defense. And we know that we hold all of our emotions and our muscles and the fascia and tissue and the face is the first place that we hold everything. And one of the last places that we’ll re let go, because in order to make big changes, you have to actually resolve the emotions that go with it.

You have to resolve the underlying trapped trauma that’s in there. And so this is actually makes it extraordinarily rewarding for them. As a facial acupuncturist, because when I can make a change, not just a visible change and their surface, but when I can actually affect them on an emotional and a psychodynamic level, I feel like I’ve done a really good job.

Just to say, for those of you who are interested in learning. This program is that I teach is part of the Pacific college of health sciences. It’s called the facial applications for cosmetic enhancement or the face program. And you, it’s wonderful because we’re not just bringing in me, but we’re bringing in all the known leaders of today’s world.

Their classes are start once a year in January and there’s information for our, you, for those of you who are interested. I can also follow me on Instagram or if you want more information, I can certainly give you more through my website. But just want to say that this has been such an amazing and rewarding profession for me because I really feel like I’ve helped people to not just look better and feel better physically, but to actually.

Age in a way that they are comfortable and more productive, both in terms of who they are for themselves, but also just to make a small difference in who they are in relationship to the world too. So thank you very much. And I appreciate. Being here. And then also before I entertain questions, I want to say that there’s another pro wonderful presentation.

So stay tuned next week for a Sharon Weizenbaum who will be presenting as well. And I have to just say that the quality of presentations through the American Acupuncture Council is really it’s dependence. And thanks again for having me here today, Alan. I appreciate.

Are there any questions from anybody?

I actually had a question about the gentleman whose face you worked on. Was he literally a happier person as a result or that didn’t really make him any happier in the long run. Thank you for asking that. Not only was he a happier person, but the the stress that he was feeling and the trauma around.

Feeling like he was getting judged by his peers dissipated. And in other words, he didn’t care as much. What other people thought about him, which is pretty amazing. Yeah. Last question then we’ll wrap up. Because I’m really was curious about, do people become addicted to the treatment in other words? Oh, wow.

This was great. And now, people become addicted to facial surgeries when they’re doing surgeries or body surgeries that just keep wanting to change and change. Is that something that you find in working with people? I it’s, yes. It’s different. I, and I know exactly what you mean. When people are addicted to facial surgeries the addiction.

Is that is wanting to look better and better, but it doesn’t change. What’s on, under what’s going on underneath, which is a self dissatisfaction. And that’s what the addiction is. The addiction is based on needing to. Look better because they’re not satisfied or happy or content within a, with this, what people get addicted to as a they look better.

But they feel better about themselves. And it’s the feeling better that becomes the addiction similar to say meditating, you feel like you’re a better person in a few meditate. There’s something that happens to you and you, your relationship to yourself within the world becomes a more peaceful place to live.

It’s the same with this type of acupuncture, a you look better, but also more importantly, you become at peace with yourself. And when you are at peace with yourself, not only you’re you a better person for yourself, but you’re a better person for others.