If you’ve got facial wrinkles that you would like to reduce but you don’t want to get Botox injections or a surgical face-lift, there’s a do-it-yourself option that’s far less invasive and far less expensive. With a technique known as facial acupressure (similar to acupuncture but performed without needles), you can take up to five to 10 years off your appearance—and perhaps even improve your overall health in the process.
Sound far-fetched? Shellie Goldstein, LAc, has treated hundreds of patients who were contemplating face-lifts but found success with acupressure. Bonus: Unlike Botox or surgery, acupressure won’t give you a tight, frozen or pulled-back appearance. The results are softer and more natural.
Acupressure is based on a Chinese healing technique that involves pressing or kneading key points on the body to stimulate energy flow, known as Qi (pronounced chee), through invisible pathways called meridians. It can be used to relax or tone muscles, boost circulation and even improve digestion.
The conventional view: From the Western medical perspective, wrinkles are formed by changes in the skin’s composition, thickness and elasticity as well as continuous muscle activity—for example, forehead wrinkles may appear after years of furrowing your eyebrows or squinting. As a result, the skin covering the muscle creases, eventually creating a wrinkle.
Chinese medicine has a different perspective. For example, specific meridians (that correspond to organ systems, such as those for the “Liver” and “Gallbladder”) are believed to affect certain body parts, but they don’t always seem to correlate. For instance, a meridian located at the junction between your thumb and index finger corresponds to the head—rubbing that area can reduce headaches and, yes, wrinkles.
To help reduce wrinkles and puffiness, use the following routines each day until you are satisfied with the results and then as needed…
Forehead wrinkles. What to do: Begin at the top of your right foot, in the junction between your big and second toes. (This point is called “Liver 3.”) Using medium to firm (but not painful) pressure, massage the point in a clockwise circle 10 times. (If you have arthritic fingers, use your knuckle instead.) Repeat on left foot.
Next, move to the back side of your right hand between your right thumb and index finger (“Large Intestine 4”). In a clockwise circular motion, massage this point for 10 rotations. Repeat on the left hand.
Then, move to the back of your neck. Place both thumbs where your spine meets the base of your skull and move them two inches to either side until they each land in an indentation (“Gallbladder 20”). Massage clockwise with firm pressure for 10 rotations.
Lastly, move to your face. Place the pad of each index finger a half inch above the center of each eyebrow (“Gallbladder 14”). Massage with medium pressure in 10 clockwise (right to left) circles.
Repeat the entire sequence three times in a single session each day. For deeper wrinkles, do the sequence several times throughout the day. You should notice a reduction in forehead wrinkles within 20 days.
Under-eye puffiness (due to age or allergies). What to do: Place your index finger two inches above the inside of your right ankle between the bone and muscle (“Spleen 6”). Do 10 clockwise rotations using medium to firm pressure. Repeat on left leg. Next, move to the back of your right hand (“Large Intestine 4”), as described earlier, and perform 10 clockwise rotations. Repeat on the left hand.
Then, with your arm at your side, bend your left elbow to make a 90º angle. Pinpoint the area located at the outside edge of the elbow crease, between the bend and the bone (“Large Intestine 11”). Use your index finger to massage 10 times in a clockwise rotation using medium to firm pressure. Repeat on your right elbow.
Lastly, move to your face. Place your right index finger just to the side of your right nostril. Move the finger laterally to a spot directly underneath the center of your eye, in your sinus area (“Stomach 3”). Press in and slightly upward, performing 10 clockwise rotations. Repeat on the left side.
Do the entire sequence three times daily. You should notice a reduction in puffiness under your eyes after a few days.
Source: Shellie Goldstein, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist, esthetician and certified Chinese herbologist who maintains a private practice in New York City and Amagansett, New York. One of the first acupuncturists to work in hospitals and health-care facilities in New York state, Goldstein is the author of Your Best Face Now: Look Younger in 20 Days with the Do-It-Yourself Acupressure Facelift (Avery). (www.HamptonsAcupuncture.com)