Our bodies are all interconnected—through our fascia, our lymph, our circulatory system, our chi, our hormones, our skeletal structure, our life force. This we know to be true. But for some reason in mainstream skin care culture, we forget this simple fact; instead, the face is treated like its own entirety, divorced from the rest of us.
Well, not all practitioners see it this way. Debbie Kung, DAOM, L.Ac. is known for her facial work—her New York– and Austin-based acupuncturing practice has gained a following thanks to her ability to rejuvenate the skin, naturally and holistically. But Kung says that for some patients who walk through her door, she won’t even begin to focus on skin or facial work for upward of five sessions. Instead, she tends to the body.
“When someone comes to me and wants to get their face worked on, and I realize through my consultation that they have work that needs to be done on the body, I have them come in for several sessions of body constitutional acupuncture until they are ready,” she says. “Rejuvenating your face is an added bonus of being healthy already because your face reflects your entire body. However, if there’s a lot of other stuff happening in the body that hasn’t been addressed, facial rejuvenation acupuncture won’t be as effective. Your chi can’t get to the face if it’s more needed in the hips, back, or for mental health.”
We see this with other bodywork practices, like those who specialize in the fascia or lymph. Shalini Bhat, D.C., IFMCP, CFMP, explains how fascia is a deeply intertwined, connective tissue that runs through the entirety of our body—it spans in sheets and wraps our muscles, our organs, and just under our skin. “Think of it like a spiderweb, interlinking and crossing in a star shape; if you pull one end, it changes the shape of the entire spiderweb,” she says. “You cannot disconnect fascia—it spans the longest channels of the body.”
When our fascia is healthy, hydrated, and flexible, it’s more resilient to these changes: So if you experience tension—like say around your jawline or scalp, two common areas people hold stress—it’s able to recover easier. Whereas when the fascia loses that very important elasticity, you’re more likely to experience fine lines and sagging.
Another interesting area is correcting facial asymmetry and uneven aging through alignment. As triple-board certified and integrative dermatologist Mamina Turegano, M.D., FAAD, notes, studies have shown that as we get older our faces become increasingly asymmetrical. “I see patients all the time who are trying to use things like filler or injectables to correct asymmetry as they get older,” she says.
“Body alignment refers to how the head, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles relate and line up with one another. If your body alignment is out of balance, this will have an impact on the entire body—also the face,” she explains. “If we have a hip injury for example, and we are in pain for a long period of time, we will develop a specific movement pattern, simply to be able to move pain-free or with as little pain as possible. Of course, this will cause the body to be out of alignment; yes mainly the hip, but as kind of a domino effect, it can also be shown in our face as a facial asymmetry.”