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Cosmetic acupuncturist Athena Giralea explains how she got into the practice and why she thinks it can transform the beauty industry

What is cosmetic acupuncture?

Originating from traditional Chinese medicine, cosmetic acupuncture is a holistic therapy that has been used to treat facial and skin diseases since ancient times. It can influence the health of the skin by activating the body’s natural healing responses.

Needling the skin initiates electrical depolarisation in the tissue, which in turn initiates a change at a cellular level known as the healing cascade. As a result, collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid are naturally produced in the skin to heal the micro-injuries produced by needling.

How does cosmetic acupuncture differ from traditional acupuncture?

Cosmetic acupuncture merges traditional Chinese medicine with Western beauty techniques and expands the traditional acupuncture map by needling directly into wrinkles, scars and pigmentation to influence both the health and texture of the skin. In my facial treatments, I use facial massage techniques, facial masks and LED lights as well as needling. They result not only in the reduction of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and a lifting, toning and plumping of the skin, but they also benefit the mind and improve wellbeing.

How did you get into providing cosmetic acupuncture treatments?

I started my journey by training in musculoskeletal Western acupuncture.

My background is in physiotherapy, specialising in spinal problems. I found myself using facial and ear acupuncture points a lot to treat neck and jaw pain, headaches, stress and anxiety.

I was fascinated by the power of acupuncture in treating my skin conditions and went on to train extensively in facial acupuncture, Chinese medicine, skin ageing processes and skin conditions.

Can cosmetic acupuncture benefit overall health and wellbeing?

Cosmetic acupuncture is an all-in-one face and body treatment which improves the skin and body’s general health to achieve more effective and long-term results. Acupuncture points stimulate the central nervous system. This releases hormones that stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities.

Cosmetic acupuncture can also rebalance hormone imbalances. Needling the face will stimulate the brainstem – the area of the brain that regulates sleep, stress and anxiety – and the cardiorespiratory system, and can help balance and regulate these functions.

How can cosmetic acupuncture support other beauty treatments?

It’s a science-based holistic tretment that prioritises wellness, internal healing and health. It is a highly personalised treatment that targets not only the skin but balances the whole body. Most other beauty treatments are targeting the skin locally and have some limitations to the results they can achieve. Cosmetic acupuncture can complement and support all other beauty treatments by offering an all-in-one holistic approach.

Which beauty treatments can cosmetic acupuncture be an alternative to?

The biggest benefit of cosmetic acupuncture is the lack of side effects and risks; it’s a great alternative to treatments such as injectables that have many short and long-term side effects and risks. Additionally, acupuncture can increase the skin cell turnover without interrupting the skin’s protective barrier, which makes it a great alternative to chemical peels and laser treatments.

Don’t miss Giralea’s talk on cosmetic acupuncture at Professional Beauty London 2023 – visit the Skin and Advanced Treatments live stage at 3pm on Monday, March 6.

This article appears in February 2023

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This article appears in...
February 2023
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