I am very pleased to offer Kitagawa-style acupuncture for facial rejuvenation! What is acupuncture for facial rejuvenation (AFR)? It is using acupuncture to treat wrinkles, sagging skin, and other signs of aging in the face. Age-related changes in the skin of the face are the result of many factors, including genetics, skin type, lifestyle, environmental exposure, and skin care. Acupuncture can be a great tool to help your face look its best. There are a few types of AFR practiced by clinicians in the United States and overseas. Kitagawa style is offered at Peninsula Family Acupuncture. Below are some FAQs about AFR.

Kitagawa style shinkyu for health and beauty - theory

Takeshi Kitagawa is a Japanese acupuncturist who has pioneered a particular approach to AFR. It is based in a western science understanding of the skin of the face, and informed by Chinese medicine theory. Kitagawa believes acupuncture can be used to stimulate the body’s own regenerative processes by causing trauma to the skin. This will cause the natural healing response to to repair old skin, create new collagen, and increase blood flow. From a Chinese medicine perspective, Kitagawa style creates trauma to stimulate the flow of fresh qi and blood to the face.

Does it work? 

In my experience, it appears to. I have had the treatments done myself, and have been pleased with the improvements I’ve seen in my face. I learned the technique based on the recommendations of two colleagues who have themselves experienced significant improvements. General reports include a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, a decrease in under-eye puffiness, a lifting of the face, and overall sense of well-being. Many also report an improvement in skin texture. 

Can you promise it will work for me?

Absolutely not. Neither Donna Stewart nor Peninsula Family Acupuncture make any guarantees whatsoever about the efficacy of the technique. Why not? There are too many variables. Your health, your skin, your adherence to the recommended program, and many other factors beyond my control will influence the benefits you see. All I can do is say we will try and see if it works for you. 

What is involved?

Kitagawa’s method is basically needling your wrinkles and saggy places on your face and neck. The acupuncture needles are inserted firmly just under the surface of the skin for surface wrinkles, and more deeply when facial muscles are involved, such as at the temple or jaw. A single treatment may use up to 100 needles just on the face. 

Kitagawa recommends treatments be done every two weeks for four to six weeks, and then once a month after that. If you are pleased with the benefits from the biweekly sessions, monthly sessions are necessary to maintain the improvements.

Above is a photograph of a typical treatment.

What will it feel like?

It will be kind of painful. If you are familiar with typical acupuncture, you know you may have a slight, initial sensation when the needle is inserted, but then it is fine. With AFR, Kitagawa style, the treatment is more painful than that. First, the face is very sensitive, so you will naturally have more pain with facial needling. Second, Kitagawa’s aim is to stimulate your own healing by causing trauma. Therefore, needles are inserted firmly. However, the pain is not long-lasting. Once all the needles are inserted, usually within ten or fifteen minutes, the pain recedes, and you relax comfortably with the needles for 20 to 30 minutes. After the needles are removed, you may feel energized, deeply relaxed, or both. You may feel your skin has tightened, or your face is lifted. You may feel a sense of well-being. 

What are the side effects?

The side effect that usually concerns patients the most is bruising. With this style of AFR, bruising is considered desirable, as it is a sign that stagnant blood and qi are being moved out, and fresh qi and blood are moving in. If you opt to do the program, you WILL get a bruise. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. You WILL bruise, and likely much more than once. The bruises can be small or large, flat or swollen, on any part of the face. The separate consent form for acupuncture of the face and eye includes more information about facial bruising and photos of bruises typical with this style of AFR, and is required to be signed before starting treatment for AFR.

How should I handle bruises?

Bruises can be rubbed very, very gently with the fingertips and some arnica gel, eye cream, or other light skin lubricant, to stimulate circulation to carry away the stuck blood. You can cover them up if you wish with concealer or other make-up. They generally fade on their own without care in about two weeks, but may take longer than that.

Why is it more expensive?

AFR costs more for two reasons. One, it is a specialized technique that costs a lot to learn. Two, it requires specialized needles which cost more, and requires a lot of them.

If I do this, can I continue to drink heavily, smoke heavily, and eat junk food and look fabulous?

No. Skin health starts from within. Your skin reflects your overall well-being. Smoking, excessive drinking, drug use, poor sleep, toxic exposures, and many other problems of lifestyle can negatively impact your face. Acupuncture cannot undo all of that damage, especially if you keep it up. You can do your part by adopting any lifestyle changes recommended to you.

What commitment is required from me?

None, really. Just as with all medical care, you are free to say yes or no to whatever care you like. You can try a treatment and decide it isn’t for you and not continue. You can ask that certain areas not be needled. I may counsel you that for best effect, certain areas need to be included, but ultimately, you are in control. To repeat, Kitagawa recommends every two weeks for four to six weeks, then monthly thereafter. 

Interested? Feel free to contact me for more information, or schedule an initial consultation. If you schedule online, please be sure to select the "facial rejuvenation initial consultation" service.