Cosmetic Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Dermatology at Zi Zai Dermatology
Review by Sandra G. Malhotra
Many Regenerate readers are likely familiar with acupuncture and use it to regain or maintain good health. But did you know that about a specialty called cosmetic acupuncture? I initially learned about it when I interviewed acupuncturist Terry Fox for my VoiceAmerica.com radio show in 2015. I was intrigued and decided to sign up for a program this year with Terry at Zi Zai Dermatology as a 50th birthday present to myself.
In this article, I’ll describe my experience and then allow acupuncturist Terry Fox and Zi Zai owner Diana Hermann to explain their modalities in more detail. Spoiler alert: they work with the body in a holistic way to allow your beauty to shine through and are, thus and therefore, completely awesome.
A cosmetic acupuncture session is like a standard acupuncture session. Terry begins by asking you to fill out a detailed intake form and then discusses it with you so that he understands your goals and health status. He then starts the session by asking how you are feeling, taking your pulse, and inspecting your tongue. Based on this information, Terry formulates a plan.
Though the appointment may be for cosmetic acupuncture, Terry treats the whole person because he believes that health is beauty. He treats the whole body, not just the face. You can see in the picture above that I have needles in my face, but they are also in my feet, legs, and lower arms. He works to keep his clients healthy and vibrant as whole person, which makes sense since our face is connected to the rest of our body. As Terry says, “Seek Health…Find Beauty.”
During the needle work, Terry allows his patients to set the pace. During some sessions, I took a refreshing nap. During others, we had fun discussions about his culinary creations, beard competitions, sci fi, his “Get Foxy” podcast, and so on. In addition to the needle work, Terry does energy work using tuning forks and Qi Gong. He also ends the session with a facial tea and moisturizers from the Zi Zai collection. I left each session feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
I did a course of treatment that consisted of 15 sessions and could not be more pleased with the results. I noticed that my skin tone evened out and the redness on my cheeks disappeared. Some of the fine lines around my eyes diminished and my jawline also became firmer. Since Terry treated my whole person, I feel better and more energetic.
My goal was not to look 20 years younger, but to be the best version of my 50-year old self, which we accomplished. WHOOT! To age gracefully, I also watch my diet, which could best be described as organic Mediterranean, exercise regularly, connect with others, and manage my stress.
I invite all the fabulous ladies of a certain age in NoCo to avoid the toxic fillers and “Get Foxy” naturally with cosmetic acupuncturist Terry Fox. You’ll have fun, look radiant and be glad that you did!
Let’s now move into the interview portion with Terry and Diana so they can explain their modalities in more detail.
Sandra: Is cosmetic acupuncture contained in the traditional acupuncture curriculum? If not, how much additional training did you receive?
Terry: When I was in school it was not, so I had to receive additional training beyond my Master’s Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I think this may be changing, as Cosmetic Acupuncture is one of the fastest growing sub-specialties in the American acupuncture scene.
I integrate several different styles of facial cosmetic acupuncture in my practice. I’ve trained for hundreds of hours with various instructors over the years, starting with “Doc” Ron Rosen, Denise Ellinger, Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, and most recently Dr. Ping Zhang. I continue to learn. In the future, I’ll continue training with Mary Elizabeth Wakefield and I hope to also train with Michelle Gellis, Virginia Doran, and Shellie Goldstein.
Sandra: Why did you choose to specialize in cosmetic acupuncture?
Terry: It wasn’t something I had originally intended to do as I was looking to specialize in treating pain. One of my big mentors in Acupuncture school was “Doc” Ron Rosen. Ron learned Cosmetic Acupuncture techniques during his time in Taiwan and was utilizing those in his practice. In 2007 when he offered to teach me the technique, I took the opportunity. It was another chance to learn something unique from Doc.
What I saw in that training blew my mind. I could see visible differences in the patient’s skin and musculature. I could see how vital and vibrant they looked in comparison to how they appeared before the treatment. I could also see how happy the patients were with their results.
Personally, I feel joyous helping women rediscover their radiance. I love seeing them genuinely smile as they look at themselves in the mirror. I love being able to help them reclaim their vibrancy and vitality. That’s what makes cosmetic and facial acupuncture such fun for me — being able to witness the Feminine in its truest authenticity.
Sandra: What are the goals of cosmetic acupuncture and how does it achieve them?
Terry: Cosmetic and facial acupuncture are simply an extension of what I was taught in acupuncture school. The information I learned enhanced what I already knew and took it to a whole new level. As the adage goes, “the devil is in the details.” My cosmetic acupuncture work is a more subtle and detailed version of the standard acupuncture I use every day. I had no idea I could use acupuncture to reduce the look of fine lines, to help raise sagging eyelids or reduce puffy bags under the eyes. It can also help lift the breasts and tighten the abdominals.
In my opinion, the greatest goal of facial acupuncture is to facilitate a patient’s authentic love of themselves. Acupuncture is a holistic modality that addresses the whole person — mental, emotional, and physical. Often, lines on the face are a product of chronically repeated emotional responses. We may chat about those lines, what emotions are related to them and what steps a patient can take to change those habitual responses.
As far as physical goals, the idea is to help the body rejuvenate tissue through its own innate healing capacity. The needles create minute trauma in the tissue that the body then heals. This stimulates blood circulation and sets in motion a process that can stimulate collagen and elastin production. And this, in turn, can create a more youthful looking appearance.
Sandra: How many treatments are recommended for the initial program? What about a maintenance program?
Terry: Every person is different, so an evaluation is necessary before I can recommend a specific number of treatments. But on average, it’s typically between 12-20. Ideally, the patient receives treatments twice per week.
I recommend patients receive “tuneup” treatments once per month for 3 months, then 4 treatments per year (usually at the change of seasons). Depending upon diet and lifestyle, results from facial acupuncture can last 3-5 years.
Sandra: What other lifestyle choices would support a more youthful appearance?
Terry: Proper diet and hydration are key, along with mindset and positive self-talk. Currently I’m developing an online coaching program to teach my patients about healthy lifestyle choices and how to implement them. Look for that in the coming months.
Sandra: Thank you, Terry! Diana, tell us about Chinese Medicine Dermatology now. What types of herbal products are available at Zi Zai Dermatology to supplement the cosmetic acupuncture program?
Diana: At Zi Zai Dermatology, we handcraft the 100% natural skincare products that are used in our facial cosmetic treatments in the clinic. We have four different lines, each one formulated according to the needs of different complexions. We have a line of products for complexions prone to acne, one for sensitive or red complexions, one for skin with dark spots or that needs brightening, and a line for dry skin that needs more nourishment.
Each of the four product lines has formulations to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. We use exquisite organic oils and the highest quality Chinese herbs to craft our products. We would never use harsh, unsafe, or unnatural products on your skin in our clinic. Our products are available in our shop so that clients can continue to properly care for their skin at home, even after the facial acupuncture series has been completed.
Sandra: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers about cosmetic acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Dermatology?
Diana: Cosmetic facial acupuncture is an effective, safe, and completely natural approach to aging gracefully. If there are additional inflammatory skin conditions present such as acne, rosacea, melasma, eczema seborrheic dermatitis or perioral dermatitis, then Chinese Herbal Medicine becomes the treatment of choice. Herbal prescriptions are custom formulated for the individual patient and topical herbal preparations (ointment, creams, washes) can be applied externally to help the skin heal. Terry is the cosmetic acupuncture specialist here, and I am the Chinese Medicine Dermatology specialist. We make a great team for keeping your complexion and whole body vibrant and healthy.
Sandra: Thank you both for sharing this wonderful information about cosmetic acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Dermatology!