Aussies enjoy getting needled
AUSTRALIANS are expected to spend $6.99 billion in 2011-12 on their personal appearance, according to business information analysts IBISWorld.
That's an increase of 18.8% from the $5.88 billion spent in 2010-11.
Analysts say figures also show that last year 68,000 Australians indulged in non-surgical procedures, with Botox the most requested procedure in 91% of clinics.
But if you'd like to try a natural way to improve your appearance, there is an alternative to Botox or fillers.
Facial acupuncture is taking off on the Northern Rivers, with several clinics around the area offering treatments on different scales, some purely working on the face and some incorporating the body and complete health.
At Bayside Acupuncture in Brunswick Heads (baysideacupuncture.com) Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner Marney Louise Murray offers something called Constitutional Facial Acupuncture.
Ms Murray, who has been working in TCM for 10 years including in the fields of cancer and IVF support, said: "I begin with a full body assess- ment because you can't treat the appearance without looking at general well-being."
As well as using standard TCM diagnostic proced- ures, such as taking the pulses and examining the tongue, she makes a "facial diagnosis" to see which areas of the body may be contributing to an aging appearance.
For example, dark under-eye circles can signal kidney energy deficiency, she says, while puffiness can sometimes be a sign that digestion is functioning below par.
Secondly, she treats fine lines, wrinkles, scars and redness on a skin level, using needles to improve blood flow and stimulate cells.
Lastly she looks at what muscles are involved in wrinkles or sagging and uses acupuncture to "rebalance" them.
"Some muscles may need relaxing due to overuse, like a tight jaw or forehead," said Ms Murray.
"Others may need to be lifted and toned like a sagging neck, eye bags or turned-down mouth."
Treatment at the Brunswick clinic includes lifestyle and dietary advice, Chinese herbal masks and aromatherapy treatment oils.
"Every session you will see an improvement in local blood and lymph circulation," she said.
"This means improved facial colour and more radiance in the skin."
Of course, TCM also helps reduce stress which, in itself, can make a real difference to appearance.
"You will feel a gentle shift in the emotions that went into creating that wrinkle!"
Always make sure you see a registered TCM practitioner and that treatment is performed with sterile needles, in a clinical setting.