Facial Rejuvenation - From Thailand (part 2)

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Following Dr Alice Rudd’s earlier post about her experiences with Facial Acupuncture in Thailand, join Dr Rudd as she takes you through Dien Chan Reflexology. 

I was intrigued to meet Alex Scrimgeour, a London based acupuncturist who specialises in Dien Chan reflexology. You’ve heard of reflexology for the feet, but what about for the face? Reflexology generally recognises that certain pressure points are deeply connected to our inner health and well-being. Dien Chan Reflexology hails from Vietnam, and bases its treatments on a map of 300 points on the face that that correspond to various areas of the body and internal organs. The belief is that much of our physical, mental and emotional anguish is held in the face (just look at people who clench their teeth and get huge masseter muscles that needs botulinum toxin injections). Massage of the face using a variety of tools in the Dien Chan repertoire seeks to release these inner tensions, allowing greater relaxation and sense of calm.

By focusing on certain facial areas, it is also reported to assist with reduction in inflammation, boosting immunity and regulating hormones. What does it feel like? Minimal discomfort (unlike other methods such as facial acupuncture) and far more relaxing! The best part? Rejuvenation! Some of the tools are much like take home needling devices or rollers, tiny blunt mental spikes rubbed over the skin stimulate blood flow, which causes a plumpness that is seen with a lot of non-invasive cosmetic tools on the market. But this is more targeted, and gives the extra added benefit of not only improving the surface, but addressing some of what lies beneath. Specifically, Alex mentioned that points mapped out around the eyebrow have implications in female reproductive health… so if you experience hormonal skin break outs, Amelia might just press on your eyebrows to assist in releasing some of those!!

The next treatment on my rejuvenation journey was facial acupressure. I can relate this to ‘myotherapy for the face’. This treatment involves firm (painful!) pressure to the some of the biggest muscles of the face, masseters, temples and around the jaw. By pressing and sustaining pressure, followed by facial massage, deep muscle fibres release and relax, reducing facial tension and tightening. I once had a myofascial release treatment to my masseters by a trained Myotherapist, and it felt much like this, painful, but an incredible sense of release. I didn’t appear to have an immediate rejuvenated appearance, but certainly felt relaxation.

So am I a convert? Well if you think about it…..wrinkles as we know them are the result of facial muscle contraction at times of increased emotion: “worry” lines “frown” lines, “smile” lines. So I can treat the end result with my anti-wrinkle injections, but we work of the basis that prevention is better than cure, surely addressing the cause of our ‘worry’ and frowns’ makes sense? Well at least on the face of it!

NB: Cosmetic Acupuncture and reflexology have very little evidence supporting its efficacy in clinical trials, but has been adopted by many, so at this stage it is difficult to recommend it on scientific grounds, more trials are needed.