Most of us are familiar with the idea of acupuncture as a natural treatment for reducing pain and boosting general well-being.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture promotes a smooth flow of the life force ‘Qi’ (pronounced ‘chee’) through the body’s 12 meridians (pathways). Cosmetic acupuncture works by stimulating circulation to the skin and facial muscles, boosting collagen production. Its proponents claim its effectiveness in reducing wrinkles and restoring youthful, glowing skin.
At the Wilson Bleasdale Clinic in Didsbury, Joan Wilson is keen to emphasise the holistic benefits of treatment.
“It’s not just the skin I treat – I treat all of you,’’ she says in her striking, Northern Irish contralto. “As I say to my patients there’s no point in having this lovely, new face if the rest of you feels rubbish.”
A physiotherapist and acupuncture specialist, Joan clocked up more than 20 years’ service in the NHS and in private healthcare before setting up her own business two-and- a-half years ago.
Having a stranger insert 50 tiny needles in my face is not my idea of fun, but if it works for Angelina, then I’m happy to give it a go. Knowing I’m in safe hands, I submit to a detailed, pre-treatment assessment of my physical, mental and emotional health. Diet, exercise regime, sleep patterns – everything – come under scrutiny. Joan feels my pulses (fine!); she peers at my tongue and tells me I have depleted spleen Qi. Crikey!
And so, to treatment. Joan inserts needles in the backs of my hands, legs and feet to enhance well-being and address the spleen problem. Then she gently applies, with super efficiency, tinier needles to the lines round my mouth and under my (slackening!) jowls. Does it hurt? No, not really. One or two spots on my foot and leg are a little sensitive, but my face is fine. Once the needles are in I feel really relaxed, as during a conventional facial. After half an hour, the needles are removed and I am on my way.
So, does it work? For the facial to be really effective you need to sign up to at least six treatments and I’m thinking of going back for more. Even so, when I bump into a friend the next day, she comments on my ‘glowing’ skin: ‘Have you been away?’ she asks.
© Deborah Grace