issue three : fear thy neighbour
The philosophy of Chinese medicine is a very apt example of the over all theme of this issue; Fear Thy Neighbour. Rooted in a philosophy and logic very different from our own Western sensibilities, it is easy to see why we, as a society, either don't believe in its efficacy and approach it with disdain OR we revere it, but with little understanding of its methodologies.
While I have always been interested and open to the idea of alternative therapies as a means of treating my various ailments, I am only just beginning to "dip my toes" into the proverbial waters of this ancient practice. (Basically, I don't claim to be an expert on the subject in any stretch of the imagination.)
In the most simplistic explanation I can muster up from the literature I am reading on the subject is this: The difference between eastern and western medicine methodology is; In western medicine, the physician is concerned with isolating a disease by exploring the symptoms. S/he then searches for a cause for the specific disease and begins treatment for a solitary condition. In contrast, the eastern physician looks at the overall physiological and psychological well-being of the patient, and by weaving together all this information, the Chinese physician presents with a "pattern of disharmony" and begins treatment to bring the entire body back into harmony, and allow the Qi (pronounced chee) to flow freely again. The focus is on the individual and not the disease.
Yet, despite the difference in approach and philosophy, both practices inevitably treat the same conditions and are able to provide the patient with relief of their condition.
One of the ways in which eastern medicine treats disease is through the use of acupuncture. This traditional Chinese practice uses fine needles that are strategically placed into various points on the body to treat a multitude of medical conditions, including, but not limited to, our beauty concerns (that is after all why you are reading this piece, is it not?)
I recently visited the lovely Roz Kidd at my favourite beauty destination Content Beauty & Wellbeing in London, for a Facial Revitalising Acupuncture (FRA) treatment and to learn more about how this untainted alternative practice could benefit your beauty regime. This practices is being hailed as the natural alternative to risky surgical procedures, while not nearly as radical (thank God!) in results, but certainly result driven.
Remember, reconstructive surgery is not only risky in surgery terms, but risky in the outcome. See the gentle reminder to the right.
Much like traditional acupuncture, FRA requires the use of sterile micro-needles placed in strategic points over the face, ears, head and body. The principle of treating the body in it's entirety remains the same. The treatment aims to relax the mind and body, restoring the flow of Qi.
The benefits of this therapy include, but are not limited to;
- reducing fine lines and wrinkles
- tightening pores and improve muscle tone
- reducing the appearance of bags under the eyes
- lifting drooping eyelids
- enhancing the elasticity of your skin
- improving circulation resulting in a radiant complexion
It makes perfect sense really. With stress being one of the biggest factors effecting our beauty concerns, by addressing the symptoms of stress in our bodies, naturally, our skin becomes immediately happier. This philosophy means that FRA can also be used a preventative measure too.
The treatment lasts 90 minutes. It included a consultation, where Roz asked me a bunch of questions about my overall health, general wellbeing and state of mind. She talked me through the different kinds of needles she uses, where they are placed in the body and why.
With the non-monetised bet on the table that I would be so relaxed, I would fall asleep while she left the room for 10 minutes to let the needles restore my Qi. While I was definitely the most relaxed I had been in a very long time, I didn't actually fall asleep, because I am an oddity in instances like this.
When Roz returned, she removed the needles and finished off the treatment with Tui Na, which is traditional Chinese massage. Possibly one of the best facial massages I've ever had with De Mamiel's Summer Oil. She taught me some simple facial massage techniques I could use as home to address my pesky frown - a.k.a my go to quizzical expression - lines between my eyebrows.
A very rare view
Very rarely will you see photographs of myself on UNTAINTED, but in the interest of research, I will have to do.
all photos taken on an iPhone and have no retouching
Let's talk numbers
For best results a course 6 - 8 treatments on a weekly basis are recommended, with an annual "top up".
A single 90 minute treatment (including the best facial massage on the planet) costs £100. I assure you, it was worth every cent.
According to the British Council of Acupuncture, there is no fixed fee as practitioners' overheads vary. By contacting a few acupuncturists in your area you should discover an approximate fee level amongst them.
I did a little research into London prices and Content Beauty and Wellbeing's fees are on par. While I did find a couple cheaper options (starting for £75) the sessions were only 45 - 60 minutes long.
In retrospect, I wish there was real money on the 'table' that day, or at the very least a second treatment!
While facial acupuncture is safe and pain-free (yes, it really is!) and has pretty much no unpleasant side effects, (any that do occur are mild and self-correcting) there are instances where it is advisable to avoid FRA. People suffering from heart disorders, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, individuals who have a pacemaker or who have a problem with bleeding or bruising are advised to seek advice from a registered practitioner prior to receiving treatment, as these ailments might have contraindications for you. Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture should not be done during pregnancy, during an allergic flare-up or during an acute herpes outbreak.
Occasionally there may be minor bruising at the needle point or a short-term flare-up of your symptoms as your Qi clears and resettles. Despite being someone who bruises very easily, I had no bruising at all.
Would you consider FRA?
Find your closest registered practitioner here.
The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine 2nd Edition by Ted J Kaptchuk