Wellness Roadtest: Cosmetic Acupuncture | HerCanberra

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Wellness Roadtest: Cosmetic Acupuncture

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When I was first approached to have needles stuck in my face in the name of beauty, I was conflicted.

Intrigued, yes – but also a bit nervous. Like many, I have a slight (read: huge) fear of needles. After reading through the potential benefits (better skin tone, reduction of fine lines, decreased stress levels… the list goes on) I decided to take the plunge.

I wasn’t sure if I’d like acupuncture. Walking into the Ki Acupuncture clinic on the corner of Barry Drive and Moore Street, I was anxious. I had a lot of questions, but my biggest one was: “Will it hurt?”

What happens at a typical appointment

My practitioner, Dr Allen Phillips, asked me some questions about my general health as well as my skin concerns, as well as explaining how the procedure would work. He’d start out gentle, he told me, and as we moved through the treatments he would use more needles.

We started each session with a gentle facial scrub to remove my makeup. Next, I lay down on the table with a towel over my mid section and Allen applied the first facemask. This mask is one of the cloth variations, where there is an actual face shaped cloth mask (complete with cut outs for your eyes and mouth), which is laid over the face.

DSC_0293 Alan then placed a warm gel mask over the top. This was left in place, while he prepared the needles and began placing them in my feet, legs, ankles, hands and wrists.

The first session he only used a few on my feet and hands, but as we progressed through the treatments, I grew to have more and more of them spread over my face and body.

Alan asked whether I’m the kind of person who likes to know exactly what’s going on, or whether I’d prefer to be distracted and pretend it’s not happening. I’m definitely the latter, so as Alan inserted the needles we chatted away and before I knew it, they were all in place.

Does it hurt?

I’m going to get the pain question out of the way. Most of the needles didn’t hurt at all – sometimes I could barely feel them going in. As Allen used more needles, I did sometimes feel a bit of pain momentarily. However, the pain was incredibly short-lived, followed by a slight itching sensation and then subsiding completely. More than anything, I had a kind of heavy, dull sensation at the needle sites which was oddly relaxing.

The needles would be left in and I would just lie there and relax. In fact, the term ‘relax’ seems like a gross understatement – each session I felt as though I was melting into the massage table and every single treatment I had, I drifted into a short but intense sleep. This is pretty unusual for me. Don’t get me wrong – I love my sleep. Napping on a table, in an unfamiliar setting in the company of a stranger, however, isn’t something I tend to make a habit of. Perhaps it was the serene music, or Allen’s gentle nature – or more likely, the acupuncture needles pinned all over my body.

The needles would then be removed and Allen used jade rollers to gently massage my face. I kid you not: this feels so lovely that I got goosebumps just writing that sentence. The jade is blissfully cooling and revived me a bit from my nap. Following the rollers, Allen would apply an egg white face mask with fragrant essential oils to my skin. The smell of this mask is so beautiful and relaxing, that I would usually once again drift in and out of sleep as it dried. If you’ve ever had an egg white

If you’ve ever had an egg white face mask before, you’ll know that it tightens quite a bit as it dries which is an unusual, though not unpleasant, sensation. I then removed the mask with a warm washcloth and Allen would finish the treatment by applying a rich moisturiser.


After my treatments, I felt incredibly relaxed. So relaxed, in fact, that I highly recommend taking a bit of a stroll around the block to wake yourself up before you get back behind the wheel and drive.

How does it work?

Acupuncture works by boosting blood circulation to enhance oxygenation to cells in the face, as well as balancing disharmonies within the body to get you glowing from the inside out. The needles also stimulate collagen and elastin production, reducing wrinkles and adding back some firmness to the skin. This happens by creating a micro trauma in the skin, triggering a reaction from the skin to heal and repair. The needles also target motor points in the face where the nerves meet the muscle.

Think of it like this: we’re constantly using the muscles in our face, so naturally over time our skin wears and wrinkles set in. Cosmetic acupuncture helps the muscles tighten and strengthen, lifting certain areas of the face.

How many treatments do you need

I had a total of six appointments across two weeks. That might seem like a lot, but acupuncture is one of those treatments that has a cumulative effect. There are immediate benefits, absolutely, but usually, a course of treatments quite close together is recommended, followed by maintenance or top-up sessions further apart. This, however, is individual and a treatment plan will be recommended by your therapist. The number and frequency of treatments will be proportionate to your age, skin condition and the level of improvement you wish to see.

Did I feel a difference in my skin?

Absolutely. I did take before and after photos but the difference is hard to tell – mostly because you would have to look incredibly close to see an actual physical difference. The difference in how confident I was with my skin however, was huge. I found myself wearing less makeup – and some days no makeup at all. Here is one day during my treatments where I was feeling particularly ‘glowy’ and not wearing any makeup at all.


To give you a bit of background on my skin, it’s not that bad. I’m 25, a non-smoker and I have a pretty good diet, so while I’m starting to notice tiny fine lines, obviously ageing isn’t my skins biggest issue. My problem with my skin is actually hormonal breakouts – most of the time manifesting in a smattering of blackheads, but occasionally raised, red blemishes (charming, I know).

Did the treatments help to clear my skin up?

Yes, absolutely. I did still have a little breakout around my period (typical), but I found that it healed a lot quicker. I went in for a treatment around this time and Allen put tiny needles in around my blemishes to draw blood to the area and speed up recovery.

I would highly recommend this treatment for the management of stress and anxiety and better skin. It completely exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to go back for another treatment.

the essentials

What: Ki Acupuncture
Where: Rear courtyard, Ground floor, Globe on Moore. Shop 16, Moore Street Civic
Treatment: Cosmetic Acupuncture
Contact: Phone (02) 6181 0710 or visit www.kiacupuncture.com.au

The author received her treatments free of charge for review purposes, nevertheless her opinions remain her own.

Information found on this web site cannot be used as a substitute for informed consent and/or advice from your skin practitioner. Results will vary from patient to patient. Read our disclaimer and Terms and Conditions for more information.

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