I want to make it clear right at the outset that I have a real aversion to injectables. Each to their own, really, and one must never say never. But today, when I say needles, I’m not talking about Botox or fillers but acupuncture — cosmetic acupuncture to be precise.
I started this treatment in January last year to prevent my endometriosis from recurring. My gynaecologist is a big believer in this 2,000-year-old science, and encouraged me to try the alternative route. The thing with acupuncture is that you’ll see changes in four to five sittings. Pain reduction, in fact, is instant. The degree of pain may be lesser in the first sitting, but soon you’ll find complete relief. I can say this with confidence because I’ve experienced it.
In spring, as I began to feel better, I decided to try cosmetic acupuncture. Someone told me about a Delhi designer whose chronic acne got cured under the deft hands of Dr Adil Khan, my acupuncturist in Nizamuddin West, Delhi. He began practicing as a teenager with the senior Dr Khan, his father, and the man who first brought this practice to India. It made sense really, to work on my skin. I was going three times a week in any case — needles on my body and my face was an optimum usage of time. I told Dr Khan to work on tightening my skin, especially the jawline. I could work on texture with skincare and radiance with food, but skin tightening has never been possible without daily massages, injectables or petit surgery.
I got several other women at the yoga studio to try cosmetic acupuncture with me. My friend who works in fashion went to de-puff her under-eye bags. In a few sessions, they were gone. My mother, too, is visiting the kind doctor for puffiness and cervical, and yes, its working for both. After the second sitting, my mother’s face looks healthier and clearer, and she didn’t feel dizzy when she made kheer in the evening. My mother calls acupuncture ‘addictive’ because of the results. My fellow yoga teacher nailed it when she said that with this treatment, you get the kind of glow when you’re in love, but without being in love.
And what about me? Sculpted, tightened and glowing. My facial contours look more defined and lifted when I get my treatments done regularly. But it is no injectable. These are just needles releasing the lymph, detoxifying the skin, and balancing qi (energy or prana ). One integrative medicine expert called facial acupuncture a Botox alternative. The only caveat is that you have to get it done weekly. And that’s the thing with holistic therapies — regularity is essential. The other way to keep the skin lifted and tightened is facial massage. (Please Google ‘Tanaka Face Massage’ and thank me later). But that should be done every day.
The point is that this is an easy, inexpensive treatment. There is nothing injected into the skin. The results are instant: you can (and must) get facial acupuncture before a party. What I find best about this technique is that there’s a clear mind-body benefit. It is impossible to imagine drifting off to sleep with needles on your face and body, but it happens very naturally. Acupuncture trance is real: as the needles work on your internal and external health, you’ll find yourself falling into a light, lucid sleep. There are so many times when I go for a session after a night spent twisting and turning. When that happens I just ask Dr Khan to give me a few extra points for sleep, and I get my power nap for the day.
There are many centres in Delhi where you can get acupuncture — like Dr Raman Kapur at Gangaram Hospital, who has helped many people with serious health problems. In Dehradun, there’s Dr Jitendra Uniyal, and in Mumbai, Dr Jasmine Modi, who comes highly recommended by IVF specialist Dr Firuza Parikh. I travel from Gurugram to Nizamuddin (an hour’s drive) to get my needles. I’m only sad that that I didn’t discover it before.
A column to remind you about all things skin deep.