Aug 08, 2013

The Principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine Meet Today’s Cosmetic Demands for Anti-aging and Beauty

In her home practice on a quiet street in the city of Toronto, Fong Wang demonstrates the essence of what it means to be a hyphenated Canadian. Like melting one gold bar of knowledge with another, she combines the acupuncture methods from her past together with the European teachings of her present, and then applies this blend to a universal quest–the one for beauty and youthful-looking skin.

When Wang came to Canada eight years ago, she had her first facial–although by the glow of her skin, you’d guess she’s been having them all her life. She came away from the experience with a newfound love for western skin care practices and decided to study them. Wang graduated from Edith Serei, the Canadian School of Advanced Esthetics, and then began working in a spa using only European skin treatments. That’s when she started to see that western skin care treatments could only scrub so deep. “We use creams and masks to hydrate our skin. This is all very superficial,” Wang says, “Some people, they have problems that cream cannot help. Why? Because their problems are underneath, in the system.”

Take under-eye puffiness as an example. If you have this problem, you already know that these bulges, resembling little sacks of rice under the bottom lids, don’t deflate easily.

“For people who have puffiness,” says Wang, “does cream help? No. Does massage help? A little bit. So I realized that in this case acupuncture and Chinese medicine will really help.” Wang would be one to know. She practised acupuncture for over 20 years in China. In Canada, she is a licensed Chinese medicine and acupuncture practitioner.

For more than 2,000 years the Chinese have been using acupuncture to treat a number of ailments, from wrinkles to tennis elbow. During acupuncture treatments, sterile needles are inserted along meridian lines of the body and face in order to restore balance to Qi (pronounced Chee). Never heard of it? A term you may be more familiar with is energy flow. “We use the needles to reopen blockages. That way, the energy gets through again and the human body is in harmony,” explains Wang.

To treat puffiness Wang asks her clients questions about their metabolism and eating habits to see if she should use acupuncture to treat their digestive system. Maybe the problem originates there and is causing water retention that in turn can cause puffiness. If so, Wang will apply needles to the specific meridian lines associated with the metabolic and digestive organs. Of course, often the cause of the problem is stress, or that the person is having a specific energy reaction. “Those kinds of things,” says Wang, “products cannot help but acupuncture can.”

Now Wang specializes in what has come to be known by many non-surgical-treatment -seekers as cosmetic acupuncture. Wang’s take on this is to mix facials and other techniques such as microdermabrasion with the traditional Chinese approach to skin care. “Western skin care helps people look fresh,” she says. Many of her cosmetic acupuncture treatments target signs of aging as she applies needles to specific points on the face to combat crow’s feet or deeper wrinkles on the forehead or between the eyes.

The thought of needles piercing your face may not be so appealing, but truth be told these needles are no thicker than a strand of baby hair; acupuncture does not hurt. If you’re considering letting a doctor cut the skin on your face to pull it taught like saran wrap over leftovers, then you should at least give this painless procedure a chance. Many people who swear by cosmetic acupuncture claim that even if the results are not as drastic as a facelift, there are still results.

“I have clients from across the world, all kinds of people. Women in their twenties are more concerned with acne and pimples, women in their forties are more concerned with aging,” Wang says. And a growing number of Wang’s clients are men.

These days, when plastic surgery is as common and far-reaching as reality television, and even Bollywood is admitting to Botox, Wang’s style of beauty treatments could be a naturalist’s saving grace: “In Chinese medicine and acupuncture we believe beauty comes from the inside,” she says, “When you have balanced energy and all the organs are working perfectly with each other, then you will have beautiful skin.”



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