Wednesday 16 March 2016

The Rejuvenating Acupuncture Facial – It Doesn’t Hurt, Honest!

I have never known that much about Chinese medicine, other than the odd phrase and what I picked up some years ago during a short course of acupuncture for my migraines (sadly it did nothing to ease them).

But I’ve recently developed a much better understanding of how aspects of Chinese medicine relate to me. For example, I now know that I’m far more Yang than Yin, and that my Chi energy is way out of kilter.

A couple of weeks ago I went along to the Neal’s Yard Remedies Therapy Rooms in Convent Garden for Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture with Melanie Hackwell, an acupuncturist and fertility expert.

I was aware of the application of acupuncture for pain relief (as I just mentioned), fertility and for lifestyle therapy such as helping to quit smoking. But I never knew it was used in skin rejuvenation too.

Calling Melanie’s Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture an acupuncture facial is a disservice as it also includes cupping and massage. It’s a two-hour treatment, a total treat and don’t be put off if you don’t like needles!
The first 30 minutes is a health assessment, in which Melanie asks some quite searching questions such as ‘how are your bowel movements?’. But these are important to get a clear picture of a client’s health at the outset. A tongue and pulse diagnostic is also conducted.

From my answers Melanie had me sussed – I am high in Yang. Yep, I’m highly strung, I’m always chasing my tail, I fret about things, and there are never enough hours in the day. In Chinese medicine there are two aspects to every person: the energetic Yang, and the passive Yin.   

The facial itself comprises three parts: acupuncture, cupping and massage with oils (in that order). The acupuncture needles are extremely fine and inserted into various ‘points’ according to the results of your health assessment.

Mine were inserted from the bottom upwards, starting with my toes, then feet, hands, stomach, ears, face (where the majority are located) and head. I felt a slight though not painful prick sometimes as the needles went in, but once in place I didn’t feel a thing.

The needles are left in place for 20-30 minutes. During this time I could feel my body (not just my face) warming up. Melanie explained this was due to improved facial circulation and a rebalancing of my Chi energy. It felt good, I was definitely starting to relax and feel calm.  Having the needles removed was painless.

Cupping came next. Now this is fun! Tiny cups (above) are placed onto the face, creating a vacuum. They make an endearing kissing sound as they are lifted off. This sucking technique massages the skin, helping to stimulate collagen and lymph drainage.

The final part was the massage, for which Melanie uses Rosalena natural face oils. She chose the unisex Beauty & The Beast oil to rehydrate my dry skin. I was given a bottle to take away – it’s exquisitely scented and deeply nourishing (£42 for 15ml here).

Ooh Melanie, you have magic hands! This was a firm, ‘the therapist means business’ sort of massage, exactly what I like (and needed). It extended from the face to the shoulders, and finished with light pressure on my feet. I have knots everywhere, and I knew that this facial application would be a precursor to a full-monty body massage - I’ll be going back for that very soon!

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture costs £85 at Melanie’s Balham practice. You can book it here.
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