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What is facial acupuncture?

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

Modern media has placed an emphasis on perfection; celebrities are judged by their features, and magazines and the cosmetic industry show perfect faces with no signs of ageing. This has led to a beauty industry that is based on changing our faces with plastic surgery, injectable fillers, laser resurfacing and botox. But these all create an illusion of beauty; they hide the small flaws, rather than focus on real beauty that shines in the emanation of the spirit with health. Constitutional facial acupuncture is a holistic approach to treating your face, it links your internal health to the reflection on your face, and through the mind spirit connection helps remove emotional stagnation which perpetuates those lines on your face.

The face is the most emotive part of the body, it allows us to communicate and connect with our fellow humans. By interpreting these nonverbal cues we understand how to react to the world around us, and how to navigate the ebb and flow of our emotional states as well as others before actually voicing anger, frustration, sadness or joy. We can make a bad impression if our facial expressions do not match the message we are trying to convey.

No part of the body is more expressive than the face. Without its fluent, but mute, vocabulary our inner emotions would remain a mystery to everyone but ourselves.

Wrinkles, these lines are not just a consequence of ageing. Unlike other areas wrinkles are not just due to inadequate activity, these muscles are subject to conscious or unconscious expression. Those wrinkles are there due to the habit of habitually contracting the facial muscles in a particular position. Changes in our facial appearance are not just due to bone structure, collagen/elastin layer, genetics or hormones, but also to the movement and intensity of facial muscles, which are activated by our thoughts and emotions.

Emotions and the face

Ekman and Friesen developed a system called Facial Action Coding System (FACS). It basically reads the emotions through facial expressions and that these are universal and a result of eons of evolution. They believe that the muscle can only be fully activated when the emotions are genuine, even if you are the best actor in the world you can not complete the look of grief if you are not feeling it.

Not only do emotions cause facial muscles to move but it goes both ways, the movement of the muscles can trigger emotions. A smile clinic was conducted in India, in an area where public expression of emotion is considered inappropriate. He put a large group of people in an open field and convinced them to copy his smiling. The emotions brought forth from the smiling became infectious and soon everyone began laughing uproariously. The simple mechanics of activating the muscles, involved in laughter caused the neurotransmitters to be secreted in the brain, which caused the uncustomary emotion to burst out.

Another example is there is a study done on the impact of Botox injections on a persons’ recognition and response to facial expressions.(2) A report in the Science News showed that even a single Botox injection in the glabellar crease between the eyes diminished the study subjects’ ability to identify negative emotional states in the faces of others for up to 2 weeks after the injection. It seems that immobilising the corrugator supercilii which actively causes the expression of anger and frustration, rendered the study subjects unable to recognise these characteristic muscular activities associated with those emotional states in another person's face. So not only did the Botox freeze the muscle involved with the emotion, but it also severed the communication between the muscle and the brain effectively lowering the subject’s emotional intelligence. They could neither utilise the physical mechanisms involved with the expression of anger and related emotions in themselves nor respond neurochemically to recognise them in others. This could possibly put them in danger.

So if you wake up in not the best mood, smile at yourself in the mirror, or hiss like a cat, this will get your neurotransmitters sending you feelings of joy.

How does constitutional facial acupuncture work?

Facial acupuncture

Constitutional Facial Acupuncture uses a constitutional approach to the facial landscape, which treats the body as well as the face. We encourage the process of change whether this is a mental emotional blockage, a stuck emotion, better digestion, aiding sleep, or sometimes helping to process trauma. Simultaneously we aid renewal. When the face is needled Qi and Blood flow to the area transporting nutrients to the cells. We either treat the muscles that are causing the skin to start wrinkling or if the wrinkle is established we do a microtrauma with very very thin Japanese needles under the wrinkle which encourages the body's healing response, stimulating fibroblasts and promotes increased production of collagen/elastin. We always as a treatment protocol encourage your Qi and Blood to build energy and aid healing.

A bit about acupuncture

There are different levels that the meridians are energetically in the body and slightly different actions. There are 12 meridians in the body these are considered the Ying level, deeper to this are the 8 extra-ordinary vessels which are deeper and the Wei level is more superficial and more considered teninomuscular meridians, they run in the depressions and planes of the muscles and tendons. We always treat on all three levels, the extraordinary level taps more into our hereditary aspects, our DNA and RNA, our hormones, and in Chinese medical terms our Jing (the battery reserve we are born with, our fountain of youth that we drain every 7-8 years of aging).

We use the Ying level of the Twelve regular meridians to support everyday life supporting nutrition, diet, sleep patterns, rest, relaxation, and emotional expression. If we do not have good Qi and Blood then you do not have the internal supplies to renew and replenish from the microtrauma of treating the wrinkle. It is a big part of the treatment. Beauty is your health shining through your face.

The Wei level, runs superficial through the muscles and tendons. When in repletion you can get pain, contracted muscles and tender points, whereas deficiency may present as dull achy pain, muscle atrophy, paleness, or possibly coldness. You have to think of the yin and yang of the body and muscles. If a muscle is really tight it will cause its agonistic muscles to be stretched long, and an example is that tight trap pain we often get on at the tip of your trapezius (GB-21 Jianjing) sometimes causing your shoulders to be hung around your ears. This can cause stretched long med and low traps, and tight pecs, it also through trigger point referral continues up to your temples giving you that low-grade headache, all very uncomfortable. But that tight chest affects your platysma muscle which can cause your chin to sag giving a double chin, and tight temporal muscles adds to crows feet wrinkles.

So.... stretch your pecs every day!!

The face is a mirror of the overall health and well-being of the body.


As well as a whole body holistic treatment we increase Qi and Blood to the face. The microtrauma starts the healing response and stimulates fibroblasts which is a precursor to collagen production.

Facial acupuncture of sun spots
Facial acupuncture of sun spots

- It increases muscle tone.

- Good for things like Bell’s palsy, windstroke, facial neuropathies like - Trigeminal neuralgia, and TMJ.

- Helps reduce under-eye bags, and other sagging tendencies in neck, jaw or nasolabial folds.

- Can treat gauntness

- Treat puffiness, and fine and larger wrinkles will diminish

- Eyes look brighter, pores tighter, skin more radiant

- Increases local blood and lymph circulation and improves facial colour and tone

- Reduce sun spots.

When not to do facial acupuncture

- Hemophiliacs – there are so many blood vessels in the face you easily could bruise

Let us know if you are taking blood thinner medications.

- Hypertension must be under control, the needles in the face will cause energy to rise and can cause a spike in your Blood pressure, I always check for headaches coming on and will add more distal points near your feet if you feel too much energy in your head.

- Diabetics – can bruise easily, I would want to check you are having your injections and not deviating from your dietary regimen.

- Caution post-cosmetic surgery- I would like to wait minimum 6 months to treat the scar tissue behind the ears and scalp.

- Botox – if you have regular botox I would stay away from that area as I will enliven the muscles and reduce the life of your botox injection.

- Laser resurfacing – skin is raw and vulnerable I would wait 3 weeks post this procedure.

- Migraines – best to be migraine free for at least 3 months before you embark on this type of treatment.

- Compromised immune systems.

Short and long-term effects of facial acupuncture

Acupuncture needling eye wrinkles
Facial acupuncture

After the first treatment, you usually observe an increased glow to the complexion from increased Qi and Blood to the face. Your face feels and looks more open and you appear more rested wrinkles start to lessen and your skin looks toned.

This is an organic process that is cumulative in nature. The body needs time to heal and reabsorb the signs of ageing. By the 5th-7th treatment shows a more marked change in your wrinkles and skin tone. Any additional life complaints are starting to reduce such as bad sleep, gynaecological issues, and digestion issues.

By the 12th treatment you should have more lasting results and just need maintenance treatments and ongoing support for the normal process of ageing.

The Tibetan Buddhist lama, Tarthang Tuku said ‘the opening heart is the most beautiful flower of all. The greatest beauty in the world is compassion.” Beauty is not an individual thing, it unfolds from awareness, inner resources and the individual tapestry of our life experience. The person who embodies this beauty, bone of acceptance and self-love, possesses an authentic grace that has no age limit. The beauty of compassion is timeless and ageless and does not have an expiration.

Constitutional facial acupuncture sessions take 1.5hrs and consist of a Chinese herb face mask, needles, jade rollers, a Chinese herb egg white face mask, and other wonderful treats.

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