Facial Acupuncture: Better Than Botox?

I recently turned 36. I thought that I didn’t look too terrible, until my 6 year-old announced that I am starting to get “old lady” face around my eyes. When he says this, it’s an endearment and I follow it up with promises to live until I am 100 years-old and we make promises to love each other more than chocolate chips and the universe. It’s serious stuff, this love between a mother and her little boy.

But it’s true. Thirty-five was not overly kind. I have no delusions that I will remain fresh-faced and fancy-free forever. I am noticing changes and for the most part, I accept these a natural part of aging, but although I am a gracious host, I will not be rolling out the welcome mat for wrinkles. Call me vain, while I call Dr. Shelley Pinard.

Dr. Shelley Pinard, one of the doctors at the Movement Boutique, came into my life when I was suffering from a three-week long debilitating migraine. I could barely get out of bed, paralyzed by pain and dizziness, but desperate for relief I was willing to try anything – even to be stuck by needles. The mere thought of being a human pincushion was enough to make me queasy but the potential for relief so great that I acquiesced and let Shelley practice acupuncture on my afflicted body – even going so far as needling my head.

My initial experience with acupuncture was from a place of desperation, but the relief that I experienced has made me a believer in its healing abilities. When Shelley first told me about facial acupuncture, I was dubious at first but after further examination (read: scrutinizing my face in the mirror) I am game to give it a try.

Plenty: What is facial acupuncture and why are some people saying it’s the “new” Botox?

Dr. Shelley Pinard: Facial acupuncture is a procedure used to naturally rejuvenate the look and quality of one’s skin. I believe it is gaining more recognition because it uses the body’s own healing capabilities (instead of chemicals) to bring beauty to the surface from the inside out and provides a more subtle, natural result by boosting collagen production at the cellular level.

P: How does it work? What are typical results? How many treatments would a person need before they see results? On the Internet I have seen some pretty shocking before and afters. How likely are these to be true?

Dr. P: Tiny needles ,thinner than the thickness of a strand of hair, are inserted into various locations in the face and body. These insertion sites are used to increase blood flow bringing with it all our natural healing agents, boosting collagen and improving the flow of energy through the body, and create collagen. Yes, research shows that the body produces collagen at the site of insertion!

If this peaks your interest but things are still a little unclear, then imagine the last time you sustained a small cut to the skin. Your body knew exactly how to heal it and in place of that laceration created young, fresh, pink skin. To a much smaller extent, the same results are occurring with facial acupuncture.

Facial acupuncture may improve skin texture, colour, quality (for example excess oil or dryness), wrinkles, sunspots, under eye puffiness, jowls, and so much more depending on your skin and goals. We, at the Movement Boutique, also use the lift and pin protocol developed by Virginia Doran. This technique lifts the facial tissue against the pull of gravity. Keep in mind that results are more subtle than Botox.

What I hear most often from my clients is that their friends and family remark on how great they look, asking for their secrets! What I see most often is rejuvenated, glowing skin…what you often witness in someone who has just fallen in love or had an orgasm!

Before and after photos can capture some amazing changes. Obviously we cannot always believe what we see on the Internet but, from my experience, very visible results can be seen after just one session!

facial acupuncture before and after
Before treatment (top, left). During treatment (bottom, left). After 1 treatment (right).

P: How long does it last?

Dr. P:  Results are likely to last 2-5 years! Naturally, this also depends on how well the client takes care of him or herself. A good skin regime is only part of the equation. Eating clean, drinking plenty of water, getting adequate sleep, and keeping stress at bay are all essential. There are also supplements that can help maintain the skin. A good practitioner will help you address all of these areas.

P: Since there is nothing injected into the skin, there is no fear of chemicals, but are there concerns with this treatment?

Dr. P: Before beginning treatments, your doctor will take a full health history to ensure you are a good candidate. Once cleared, the risk of bruising is the only real concern. If a bruise does occur, it is usually quite small and there are plenty of ways to prevent them and/or heal them quickly.

P: I have read a lot about other benefits of facial acupuncture, most of them, feelings of youthfulness, serenity and euphoria, have you seen this to be true? Why do you think people experience this?

Dr. P:  As with any acupuncture treatment, those glorious feelings can always be an added benefit! Acupuncture assists the body into its parasympathetic state (where our bodies can rest, relax, and repair), which can result in feeling calm, rested, and euphoric.


Who are the best candidates?

Anyone looking to improve the look or quality of his or her skin. If you’re unsure if facial acupuncture is right for you, we offer a complimentary consultation with one of our qualified practitioners.

How many sessions are typically required?

The typical protocol is 6-12 sessions over 3-9 weeks (depending on individual goals). From there, maintenance sessions are usually recommended monthly or seasonally.

Is there downtime?

No, you can head straight out for a night out after a session!

Does it hurt?

Most of my clients report feeling absolutely nothing but a small and quick prick sensation at the insertion site can be experienced.

How much does it cost per session?

Prices may vary depending on the clinic and experience of the practitioner, quality of the needles used and the technique being used.  At the Movement Boutique we use the highest quality Japanese Seirin needles followed by a proven insertion technique to bring blood flow and collagen to the right areas.  Then we finish with a face massage and lymph drainage to help expel any toxins (i.e. dark circles caused by stagnant blood flow).  We follow the treatment with a customized blend of supplement support and diet and lifestyle tips to ensure that the results last longer.  Our visits can be anywhere from $175-225/session depending on the goals of the client.


97d5a9_add8f569e4af4bdf8ea1e13947dc06e8Dr. Shelley Pinard  is a Chiropractor, fully certified in biomedical neurofunctional acupuncture and is passionate about functional integrated needling, in which she continues to advance her techniques. She also provides facial rejuvenation acupuncture, at the Movement Boutique in Toronto.

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