In the interest of full disclosure: I love a treatment. Cracks with a chiropractor? Needles all over with an acupuncturist? Check-ups with my obstetrician? I’d do them all day, every day if I had the chance. Perhaps it’s an obsession with self-betterment, or maybe just a deep love for (and lack of) ‘me time’, but save for the dentist, I’m yet to meet an appointment I don’t love.
Therefore, despite my friends’ horror at the mention of facial acupuncture, I entered the room of Yvette Forbes ready to discover the new me, without a hint of trepidation about the tiny needles that I assumed would soon be covering my neck, scalp and cheekbones.
I’d heard plenty about the benefits of facial acupuncture, and I’ll admit that largely, I was drawn to their aesthetically-minded promises. ‘The natural alternative to Botox,’ ‘nature’s filler,’ and ‘better than any serum you can purchase,’ were just a few of the claims that caught my attention.
Being pregnant, I’ve been avoiding high tech products, and am yet to determine my stance on Botox or fillers, and let’s just say … It was starting to show. It seems that when it comes to baby #3, there’s no such thing as a pregnancy glow. What’s more, my eldest two children must be immense sources of joy, as the ‘smile lines’ around my eyes have proven to be far more embedded than they were five years ago.
In other words? Bring on the needles. But as I walked out of my 90-minute treatment, I realised I had just received a whole lot more than I had bargained for. This wasn’t only a session of needles, but instead, a completely holistic look at my life, my body and finally, my face.
My session with Yvette started with all the questions I’d expect from a skin specialist. What concerns me? (Said lack of glow.) What bothers me the most? (That double chin that emerges any time I pull a face.) What did I want to get out of the session? (Just looking a little bit better.)
What happened next, however, was a surprise. Rather than jumping straight into creams and techniques, Yvette delved a little deeper. She took my pulse (unbelievably slow), talked to me about my sleep habits (unsurprisingly non-existent) and stress levels (reasonable). She then noted that the lack of glow was likely due to my depleted kidneys, which she addressed with needles in my feet and legs.
Then working her way to the issue of the double chin, she asked about how I work (slouched), how long I breastfed for (too long) and assessed that the muscles in my neck were far too tight, causing a dreaded sag around my chin area (and subsequent double chin action).
With some needles in my neck and a targeted massage, she got straight into the spots that work, with the added benefit of a completely relaxing experience. I realised mid-massage that this was like no treatment I’d experienced before. While I’ve had massage therapists comment on my tight neck and nutritionists explain adrenal fatigue, I’d never had anyone connect the dots – particularly in a way that was directly related to my own (vain) appearance. This unique blending of eastern and western techniques – combined with Yvette’s experience as not only in beauty and acupuncture, but also as a yoga teacher – made for a holistic experience that made so much sense.
Why should we think about our skin in isolation to our body? Suddenly, all sorts of modalities merged in a way that made me wonder why we haven’t been approaching our skin like this all along.
Now on to the aesthetics
While I wasn’t expecting to emerge from my appointment like I’d just been Botoxed and filled in all the right places, I was hoping to notice a slight difference. And I shouldn’t have worried. Yvette placed some needles on key areas on my face (those crows’ feet, for a start), but pointed out that a full ‘Botox’ effect would only take place after approximately 6 sessions (once to twice per week), with results lasting a month or so.
So, to complement my treatment, she also massaged my face with a paddle board and used a small cupping device to bring ‘micro-trauma’ to my face. Now that I think about it, it does seem to be common sense. When we bring blood vessels closer to the surface of our skin, we can enjoy more radiance. This, I can vouch for. When my session concluded, I was slightly wary of bruising. Instead, the mirror presented a glowing complexion that looked more alive and joyful than it had in … A long time.
Let’s talk pain
Pain was the last thing I was worried about in this treatment (childbirth will do that to a woman), but those with a fear of needles can put their worries aside. I barely felt a single needle (and yes, they were on my neck and in my scalp), and those I did feel could be compared to a tiny, quick insect bite. In fact, if you have ever endured a facial with an ‘extraction’, this is infinitely less painful.
No, I didn’t walk out with plump lips and no fine lines. But I did emerge with brighter skin and an extreme feeling of relaxation. My husband commented that I looked “really happy,” and the following day, a good friend asked what products I’d been using. That must be considered a win.
Perhaps best of all? Following my treatment, I’ve begun thinking about my wellbeing in a much more holistic way. I’m not expecting the world from a serum, and I’m not anticipating a good night’s sleep from a cup of tea. If facial acupuncture has taught me one thing, it’s that we are completely interconnected beings. And with a little focused attention, we might truly begin to feel more centred, healthy and vibrant.
If that involves a few joyful wrinkles? I have to say, I’ll take them.