June 8, 2001 -- Acupuncture face-lifts are gaining popularity for those seeking an alternative to surgery and who are willing to experience the power of ch'i in the name of beauty.
Good Morning America's beauty adventurer Holly Millea underwent the procedure with acupuncturist Russell Korda. Deborah Musso, the director of the Sea Change Healing Center in New York, explained how the system worked, as Korda strategically placed the tiny needles on Millea's face. The needles are generally painless, but they give some people a slight stinging sensation in sensitive areas.
Korda started out by giving Millea an assessment to check her constitution and see which energy channels are blocked so he could unblock them.
"Certain areas on the face are linked to internal organs," Musso told Good Morning America. "Sagging skin can be caused by weakness in the spleen and circles under the eye is often linked to liver or stomach weakness. So by putting needles in the pressure points relating to these organs, we can treat the underlying cause."
Acupuncture face-lifts were popular among the wealthy in China before the Communist takeover. Now, with aging Baby Boomers trying to stave off wrinkles, the technique is gathering steam again. The needle therapy can also be used to treat acne, lighten or erase freckles and age spots.
The benefits: it's non-surgical, and doesn't have side effects.
Channel Your Inner Energy
Acupuncture is based on the Taoist belief that two life forces, yin and yang, come together to produce a vital energy force called ch'i, which flows throughout the body along 14 pathways.
When the life forces are out of balance a person becomes ill, so the insertion of needles along the pathways is designed to stimulate various responses in the body, and encourage the release of endorphins and other healing chemicals.
In the case of the acupuncture face-lift, it is an opportunity to blend beauty and healing, Musso said. People under age 40 have a series of six weekly treatments, at a minimum, while those over 40 should get 10, she recommends.
Ch’i No Match for Double Chin
Results become visible after the third and fourth treatment, but then occasional maintenance is needed, Musso said.
Acupuncture experts say that after the treatments fine lines are erased, deeper wrinkles are less noticeable, and the face has a youthful glow. But even they acknowledge that the results are not as dramatic as those achieved with traditional plastic surgery. If you've got a double chin, or heavy jowls, acupuncture won't make a dent.
According to Musso, treatments cost between $175 and $300 and last about an hour. All acupuncturists need a license but to do an acupuncture facelift, they need additional certification.