Instead of injecting dodgy chemicals into their face (and bloodstream), women are increasingly trying acupuncture as a treatment for wrinkles and saggy skin. I tried several sessions with surprising results.
“You seem to frown a lot while you talk – there! You’re doing it again!” acupuncturist and Shiatsu therapist Ilaira Bouratinos, who owns and teaches at the Oriental Medicine (OM) Centre in Athens tells me. I think of World Peace and my forehead softens. “That’s better,” she smiles – momentarily. “Hey! You’re frowning again! Stop it!”
Bouratinos is standing behind me and inserting extremely fine, small needles into my face as part of our Cosmetic Acupuncture session. I am in her treatment room, which is infused with the aroma of lavender and rose oils, as she inserts needle after needle into my forehead, cheeks, chin, temples. Some of them hurt, (she tells me pain is a good sign of reactivating energy in an area that had gathered hard layers of dead skin, such as scar tissue, which can cause blocks in the flow of energy). Mostly it’s like a tiny prick. Sometimes I don’t feel it at all.
Bouratinos informs me that according to Eastern medicine, which addresses the body from a holistic approach and sustains that the body is made up of meridians, or energy lines, the diet you eat, the lifestyle you live, the way you process your thoughts and feelings, how much sleep and rest you get, the amount of sun and water and fresh air you get, all add up to how your face turns out. “The face has numerous acupoints, just as the body does, which via the meridians connect to all of the body’s organs and internal functions,” she tells me, “and thus, according to an Eastern medical theory, the appearance of your face reveals a lot about your inner health.”
After Bouratinos has placed all the needles (around 40 of them) onto my face, as well as a few on my wrists and feet, I rest for around half an hour. She removes them quickly and painlessly and then massages my skin with tiny soft suction cups and then her hands using soothing lavender and chamomile essences. The immediate result is that I look like I’ve had a deep holiday sleep from which I’ve awoken looking a few years younger; my skin is glowing, rosy and relaxed. I wait a few days before being able to see the deeper results – which friends, colleagues and even my partner complement without knowing I’ve had anything done.
“Apart from the fact that Cosmetic Acupuncture is a completely natural treatment that doesn’t involve injecting chemicals and toxins into your organism, and doesn’t cause long-term damage like repeated use of Botox does, aesthetic acupuncture stimulates collagen production and renews the skin’s cellular structure from the inside, as well as reactivating and toning facial muscles,” Bouratinos says. “Meanwhile, it’s benefitting the whole body. It brightens the eyes, clears the mind, improves sleep quality, lifts your body’s energy levels and helps rebalance your metabolism.”
I have two more sessions with Bouratinos, spaced over the next two months, mainly due to my time constraints. The ideal is to go for a weekly session over at least three to five weeks to see bigger, faster and more long-lasting results. Nonetheless, I saw my skin tone improve markedly (I happily re-encountered the skin I had – and so taken for granted – a decade before), my eyes were clearer and brighter, my cheeks lifted substantially, my jawline tightened, and the fine horizontal lines on my forehead disappeared. The frown line softened but stubbornly remained. I also did feel more physically energised, enjoyed better sleep and felt more balanced overall.
The effects last for around six months to a year, especially if you have a session every month or every few months, look after yourself in terms of how you eat, exercise and sleep, and care for your skin – all things I was definitely inspired to do more of now on.
Check out omcentre and www.ilaira.com to book your cosmetic acupuncture session and find out about facial toning workshops. OM Centre also offers cupping, acupuncture for all conditions and shiatsu massage, and is an established training centre for professional therapists.