Facial acupuncture is the Hollywood star's shortcut to younger looking skin. Precious Williams tries it
wouldn't want to look 10 years younger in just 20 minutes? In America,
you can - as long as you don't mind lying in a darkened room with
needles protruding from your face, eyes and ears.
|Madonna: said to be an acupuncture fan|
rich, the vain and the famous (reportedly Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and
Cher) are having weekly "acupuncture facelifts" to ward off their
The "facelift" is administered by a
doctor of Oriental Medicine (or OMD), who spikes your face with
disposable, hair-thin needles that - allegedly - turn back time and
halt the physical manifestations of ageing.
The needles are inserted into wrinkles and frown lines, eventually making them vanish.
stimulation brings blood rushing to the face, which makes it look
flushed. Apparently, after a few sessions, eyes brighten, skin feels
firmer, lips become plumper and blemishes vanish.
acupuncture stimulates the cells to lay down new collagen fibres under
wrinkles, thereby filling them in," says New York acupuncturist Billy
Villano. "And the needles relax muscles, which combats sagging in
facial areas. The results are amazing."
to find out just how "amazing" facial acupuncture might be, I made an
appointment with Clarence Lu, a New York-based OMD.
do you want facial acupuncture?" he asks, peering at my skin. "I've
heard it's popular with celebrities and I want to try it for myself," I
Lu looks unimpressed. "I suppose it's a
better option than Botox injections," he says. "The facial acupuncture
works by making energy circulate properly around your face, but energy
needs to circulate properly around your whole body, not just your
Lu offers to give me traditional acupuncture but refuses to administer facial acupuncture, saying he doesn't see the point.
acupuncture has been practised for centuries and is used to treat many
ailments, from migraines to menstrual disorders.
It focuses on the entire body by regulating one's flow of energy, or
"qi", and addressing the "energy blockages" that might be causing the
Consult an acupuncturist for help to
quit smoking and he will also examine your eating and sleeping habits,
the condition of your pulse and your sex life. Acupuncture facelifts
fly in the face of that philosophy, focusing solely on the appearance
of the facial skin and features.
"Some women ask
to have the needles placed all around the edges of their lips so that
they swell up," says Lu, disdainfully. "It's something I won't do. It
would be very, very painful."
is indeed ridiculously self-indulgent - but according to Hollywood
stars, who incorporate acupuncture facelifts into their primping
routines, it works. It makes you look young and bursting with health,
even if you are a chain-smoker who lives on junk food.
Part of the beauty of these facelifts
is their accessibility; they take about as long as a manicure.
Afterwards, there is no scar and no permanently surprised
A half-hour session in California costs
about $150 (£80) and it takes around 25 weekly sessions
to achieve lasting results (50 sessions if you're extremely
Facial acupuncture, the new boom in beauty treatments.
after I had stayed up all night meeting a deadline, acupuncturist Billy
Villano agreed that I looked tired and washed-out enough to require an
"This won't be as dramatic
as a surgical facelift," he says. "If you had severe wrinkles or a
double chin, I couldn't promise that this would eliminate them. But it
would definitely make them look better."
back in his Brooklyn office, while he takes my pulse, inspects my
tongue and palpates my stomach (from this he can tell the condition of
my "qi" and if I have energy blockages that prevent my skin from
Apparently, I have "spleen qi
deficiency" - which, Villano quickly points out, does not mean that
there is anything actually wrong with my spleen.
means that, going by the Chinese definition of things, your spleen
energy is a bit depleted, which might make you appear a bit bloated. It
could be caused by stress, or consuming too many ice-cold beverages, or
by too much work," says Villano.
pinches my cheek and inserts tiny needles with a tapping motion. I make
the mistake of smiling bravely at Villano and an intense pain shoots
from my cheek to my ear.
This is good, apparently
- it is my stuck qi circulating around my tired face. Two needles are
inserted (thankfully painlessly) into my forehead to energise me and
brighten my complexion.
|Treatment: 'my stuck qi circulates around my tired face'|
needle goes into my chin, three into each ear and a few around my eyes,
to widen them. The final needle is tapped into the top of my head, to
wake me up. But, instead, I drift off to sleep.
After 35 minutes, Villano whisks the needles out (this part doesn't
hurt at all). My skin looks markedly brighter and fresher than it did
when I arrived. I had planned to go home for a nap after my acupuncture
facelift, but I feel so alert and refreshed that I arrange to meet a
friend for lunch instead.
"What have you been up to?" my friend asks, when I walk into the restaurant. "Your skin looks amazing."
Publishers wishing to reproduce photographs on this page should phone 44 (0) 207 538 7505 or e-mail email@example.com