Beauty Clinic: Facial acupuncture
Q I am getting to that age when my face is beginning to droop, has a few lines and wrinkles, and looks less than bright. I don't really want to go the Botox or filler route. A friend suggested facial acupuncture but I wonder if this is safe and effective? A We have been big fans of facial acupuncture for many years now. (In fact, we are devoted to acupuncture in general, as long as it is from a qualified and experienced practitioner.) There are several practitioners who we know and recommend in London, including Annee de Mamiel (www.demamiel.com), John Tsagaris (www.johntsagaris.co.uk) and - our most recent discovery - Melanie Hackwell, who practises in Covent Garden and Balham (www.ancientroots.co.uk, tel: 07879 442967).
Melanie, once a City highflier who studied acupuncture and Chinese massage after her own successful fertility treatment, devised her Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture to help patients with similar ageing dilemmas to yours (and every other woman of a certain age!). Of course, facial acupuncture doesn't just treat the face; a good cosmetic acupuncturist will take a thorough history and, while focussing on your face and neck, treat your whole body.
Melanie Hackwell explains that her Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture treatment involves inserting very fine needles into the face and throughout the body, in specific areas of the face, ears, neck, hands and legs along channels of energy. (The channels are known as ‘meridians’ and the Chinese term for energy is Qi, pronounced ‘chee’.) The practitioner chooses particular points according to what you need individually. Acupuncture allows the energy to flow freely and you can often actually feel a whoosh up your body as this process starts.
Practitioners claim noticeable results and we can endorse that. At the end of a treatment you might see your face looking more ‘lifted’, puffiness under eyes and droopy eyelids reduced, fine lines and wrinkles looking softer, jowls and double chins less baggy. A course of treatment can also improve dry skin (by improving blood and lymph circulation to the face), may stimulate collagen to give more ‘bounce’ and suppleness to your skin texture, tighten pores and improve acne by balancing hormones.
Melanie also offers facial cupping, a 15 minute treatment in which she strokes oil over your skin before applying a little cup over your face. This produces a suction effect that drains the lymph fluid and increases blood flow so facial contours become more defined.
Finally, like all good facial treatments, lying down and relaxing while you are given lots of TLC can visibly reduce the effects of stress.
• Melanie Hackwell, Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture, 2 hour initial consultation from £85, follow-up 90 minutes, £65.