Cosmetic acupuncture has generated a lot of interest as an alternative to many anti-aging cosmetic therapies. We get asked about it a lot at both our High Park and Annex location. We thought it would be great if we could give you the most frequently asked questions right from one of our trained cosmetic acupuncturists. So this month we interviewed Laura Shin, registered acupuncturist, to get the inside scoop on both her practice AND this amazing therapy.

Laura Shin, Registered Acupuncturist

Laura Shin, Registered Acupuncturist

Laura, you were originally in an entirely different field, editing. What inspired your shift to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? 

After many years of being an editor and working for two of Canada’s biggest publishers, I felt the need for a change. I was growing rather tired of corporate life and wanted to work for myself. I considered freelancing because I love working with authors, but I also had a lifelong interest in complementary and alternative medicine. When I was working in an office, if someone had an ache or pain or health issue, I was always offering suggestions on how to help. Eventually I came to realize I had a calling that needed to be answered.  

What is your favourite health & beauty tip from the philosophy of TCM?

Generally speaking, almost every day, I say that a great mantra to live by is “everything in moderation.” We live in a culture of more and that means it is easy to get out of balance. Too much exercise can be as detrimental as too little. Too little food can be as hazardous as too much. While I might counsel cutting out a certain food or group of foods, I like to remind people that the restriction might only be for a short time–just until the body can heal and be brought back into balance.

Did cosmetic acupuncture exist in traditional acupuncture practices? 

The ancient practitioners who developed acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine certainly knew there were meridians that travelled over the face. They would have known that acupuncture affected the skin and muscles. Probably the first facial treatments were for issues like palsy or paralysis or even scarring. However, history is rife with stories of men and women seeking youth and beauty; I suspect practitioners could not have resisted experimenting with acupuncture to see if it could be the fountain of youth.

How exactly does cosmetic acupuncture work?

Cosmetic Acupuncture is a painless, non-surgical method used to reduce the signs of aging but it is more than a cosmetic procedure, as the treatment is meant to impact the whole body. At its root, acupuncture is the shallow insertion of very fine needles into the face, ears, hands, and legs along meridians or channels filled with energy or qi (pronounced chee). These points are selected based on their ability to affect the movement of energy through the body. Modern science has discovered that the areas immediately around the insertion site show increases in collagen production,  improvement in blood circulation, and reduction in inflammation.

What kind of a difference will cosmetic acupuncture make and how many sessions does it take? 

The noticeable effects are a decrease in fine lines, firmer skin, tighter pores, hormonal balancing, and muscle relaxation. Patients report a brighter, more even skin tone, reduction in scars and veins, and a calm, stress-free feeling. Since Cosmetic Acupuncture uses points to create harmony and balance within the whole body, increased energy and better sleep are often found. Generally a course of treatment is twelve sessions, with lasting results showing on or after the seventh treatment. But every person responds differently, depending on her or his starting point. Healthy diet and lifestyle choices help to minimize the number of treatments needed. Maintenance sessions after initial treatment can prolong the effects for as much as five or ten years.