Botox leave you stiff? Facial acupuncture gaining ground

Monday, December 20th 2004, 10:10 am
By: News On 6

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Whether it be society's obsession with beauty, the popularity of alternative medicine or the mass aging of baby boomers, interest in facial acupuncture is growing.

Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, a New York City practitioner of the ancient Chinese art, says facial work now consumes about three-quarters of her practice.

Acupuncturists typically stimulate selected points on the body with hair-thin pins to promote good health and alleviate pain. They view it as correcting energy imbalances along the body's ``meridians,'' which carry an energy flow called Qi (Chee).

It's a concept many mainstream physicians say lacks scientific evidence.

In facial acupuncture, needles are usually stuck in wrinkles and sags to bring more blood, Qi and muscle tone to an area. The theory is that a healthy face is a better-looking face.

Michael McCoy, executive director of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance, says facial acupuncture for cosmetic purposes was not one of the core issues in ancient Chinese medicine. However, he says it's an interesting application that fits a lot of cultural values of the present.