The lines on your face may tell a bigger story

Mona_lisa

 

In London where I am based, telling people that I’m an acupuncturist nowadays is often greeted by stories of how their mother/brother/friend/hairdresser had acupuncture with good results. This is certainly great news that acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine is becoming more and more mainstream.


When I mention that I also do cosmetic acupuncture though, you can see the surprise in their eyes. For most people improving our skin against the heavy weights of gravity and ageing means exfoliating, having a good moisturiser, sun protection, and having facials. On the other more extreme end of the spectrum is the now infamous Botox (I’m not including cosmetic surgery here because most people wouldn’t even contemplate that).

 

Do you have laugh lines or frown lines?


“What is cosmetic acupuncture?” they ask, “and can that help with lines and wrinkles?” “Yes,” I tell them. “And the way it incorporates body acupoints mean that they also feel really relaxed and positive after the treatment.”


A lot of people seem intrigued by the idea, while some reserve their judgement. There is a small minority of people in our society who seem to think that trying to look good and taking care of your face and skin is a very superficial task and not worthy of our little grey cells. Much better to be exercising and feeling good rather than wasting time thinking about our appearances when really, haven’t we learned not to judge a book by its cover and in the end, people are all beautiful inside?


Well, as it turns out, what we look like might actually show the state of our bones, for women at least. In a preliminary study, researchers showed that for early menopausal women, having more wrinkles was associated with a lower bone mineral density. Now this data is still in its early days yet but it would definitely be interesting to see if women with more wrinkles end up of losing bone density at a faster rate, or whether the effects of smoking affecting the face also affects our bone density. Imagine the clinical applications, when more women can be referred accurately to have a scan. And suppose if it works the other way; does actively trying to diminsh lines and wrinkles naturally, could that help decrease the loss of bone density?

 

Photo credit: Marco Pece aka Udronotto via flickr 

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