YJ Tried It: The Acupuncture Facelift

Yoga Journal Senior Editor Meghan Rabbitt volunteered to play pincushion in the name of journalism—and beauty.
By Meghan Rabbitt ,

A few months ago I turned 38, and along with a newfound comfort I feel in my skin, there’s a new posse of wrinkles I see on my skin. And while I’m not quite ready to ask my dermatologist to shoot a neurotoxin into my face to erase my laugh lines—it just seems to go against the art of aging gracefully I see so many women, and particularly yogis, nailing these days—I’ve got nothing against getting rid of them naturally. Which is how I found myself happily letting Debra Kuhn Gerson, a licensed acupuncturist and owner of Botanica Wellness Sanctuary in Denver, turn my face into a pincushion as she performed cosmetic acupuncture (a.k.a. the acupuncture facelift). 

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Here’s how it worked: Gerson placed sterilized, thin-as-a-strand-of-hair acupuncture needles all over my face and scalp, lifting my skin upward before inserting each needle in order to “train” my facial muscles to lift rather than droop. The needles also caused microtrauma in my skin, which sounds a lot scarier than it is: Those tiny injuries actually increase blood flow and the production of wrinkle-reducing collagen and elastin in the area. Next, Gerson placed needles in other points on my feet, legs, hands, arms, and belly to rebalance my energy, boost my overall circulation, and help me feel instantly rested. I barely felt the 100-plus needle pricks. In fact, I dropped into a deep, 45-minute Savasana on Gerson’s table—and when I got up and looked at my complexion in a magnifying mirror, I couldn’t spot a single hole or red mark. I walked out of Gerson’s office feeling like a million bucks. My rosy skin tone was more even than usual, and I looked as rested as if I’d just had eight hours of shut eye. The next day, a friend I hadn’t seen in a while asked me if I’d just been on vacation; I looked that relaxed. 

I’ll admit it: Within a few days, I was back to scrutinizing my crow’s feet. Gerson did warn me that while one $160 treatment can make a pretty significant difference, I’d see better, more lasting results if I did several appointments a week for two to three weeks. (A pack of 12 takes the cost down to $100 a pop.) I haven’t been back. But it’s nice to know there’s an effective—if fleeting—natural option the next time a different kind of needle tempts me.

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