The first time I had heard of facial acupuncture was actually during a dinner with actor Arden Cho early last year. I was lucky enough to meet her during her brief vacation in Singapore and mid-conversation, I confessed that my teenage self was an avid fan of MTV’s sleeper hit Teen Wolf back in 2011—more than a decade ago with Cho playing the role of Kira. The woman before me didn’t seem to age a day, as I exclaimed to the Partner Track star in awe. In response, Cho revealed that rather facials or any aesthetic treatments, she only does facial acupuncture with a trusted lady in Los Angeles where she’s currently based.
That was more than enough to pique my interest. Lucky for us, in our part of the world in Singapore, treatments for facial acupuncture are aplenty and easily found in TCM clinics—albeit not commonly talked about, with most customers opting for health-centred sessions within the traditional medicine sector. In a similar theoretical sense, needles punctures work similarly to micro-needling, one that stimulates the lymphatic and circulatory system, while piling on production of collagen.
My maiden experience was at Thomson Chinese Medicine, in the good hands of physician Zhou Jing. After a short consultation with her where she took my pulse and checked in on my lifestyle habits, I was ushered into the treatment room to get prodded. And the process started with my body, as all channels from face to our bodies are connected. “Inserting needles onto the body points is to stimulate qi and blood and giving the treatment a kickstart—so that blood can start to flow to the face,” explains Zhou.
Tiny pricks of sensations came with every needle, almost like a brief ant bite for a moment. On the face, Zhou switched to thinner needles and wasted no time—to which the placements were not by any chance, random; but rather, they abided by the points of the yangming meridian channel. It’s a channel that stimulates the circulation of blood and regulates qi—over areas like the forehead, around the temples and even under my chin. Zhou also added that she targeted points where wrinkles typically appear, with all needles pointed upwards to create a lifting effect.
With over 20 odd needles in place while lying prone, I felt a strange sense of calm for someone who has never had acupuncture. As two heat lamps hovered over me, I was comfortable and warm enough to fall into a restorative nap for about 35 minutes, before the treatment was over.
And the result spoke for itself—skin was noticeably brighter and more radiant after the needles were swiftly removed. “To combat concerns like fine lines, one would have to keep up with more sessions over time and consistency, whereas for the glow, it will be immediate,” explains Zhou. Beyond the aesthetics, my body and mind felt entirely relaxed and rejuvenated; bringing to light the holistic approach that is traditional Chinese medicine.
Amidst a scaling multitude of beauty treatments that appeal to our skincare needs in our current landscape—each armed with mind-boggling technologies, fancy machines and novel inventions—it is not surprising how seeking out acupuncture might not rank high on that list. After all, who knew all you needed was a humble needle (and the world’s most recuperative nap) to achieve a brightening glow, alongside a much-needed calming reset to the whole system. And after just one session, here’s the verdict: fear of needles aside, facial acupuncture might just be what the skincare savants are missing.
Book a session at Thomson Chinese Medicine here.