Countless hours spent in front of a screen with less-than-ideal posture and daily deadlines doesn’t bode well for a relaxed, radiant complexion. As I close in on 30, I’ve caught myself scanning my forehead for fine lines more times than I care to admit, and although they’re shallow right now, when combined with increasing dullness and textural changes, it’s clear my face is in need of triage.
Wanting to try a natural approach, I put my face in the hands of the holistic wellness experts at Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland’s Tonic Room, in the hope of restoring it to its former twentysomething glory. Their AcuFacial treatment ($290) is a 90-minute experience consisting of a bespoke 45-minute facial designed to prime the skin for a further 45 minutes of cosmetic acupuncture. Described as a natural alternative to Botox, it uses ultra-fine micro-needles to penetrate the skin and cause micro-traumas, prompting a natural healing response. Increasing blood circulation, balancing moisture, and stimulating the production of collagen and elastin to reveal a brighter, firmer complexion, it promises to leave you with a more taut face without any adverse effects.
I arrived at the Tonic Room on a glum Friday afternoon and was greeted with a warming glass of tea. After being introduced to holistic facialist and naturopath Andrea McCall and guided to the room where I’d spend the best part of two hours reversing the past two years, I was briefed on my treatment. Amid the scent of invigorating essential oils, my skin was prepped with a deep cleanse followed by a face mask, before my circulation was boosted by the ancient Chinese method gua sha. Once my facial muscles were relaxed, it was time for some quick hydration before being put into the care of acupuncture practitioner Kiki Chen for the latter, more pressing, part of my treatment.
Jump-starting the detoxification process, six acupuncture needles were placed in various spots on my body— one on the top of my head, one in my right shoulder, three in my shins and one in my foot.An additional 36 ultra-fine micro-needles were then inserted into my face, sending concentrated pathways of energy to points along my hairline, brow, cheeks, jaw and chin. Some slipped in seamlessly, while others immediately identified areas where tension had taken up tenancy. The needle placement focused on stimulating a radiant complexion, and lifting and sculpting the areas that are indulging gravity.
After lying still for 30 minutes in a deliriously relaxed state, it was time for the acupuncture needles to be removed. In terms of pain, most of the needles went in and out without trouble; the others resembled the discomfort typical of acupuncture. There was tenderness in my jaw where the needles had struck stagnation (restricted blood flow due to tightness from stress), which left me with minor bruising, but the positive results were immediate. My skin was dewy and smoothed, there was a noticeable reduction in fluid in my cheeks and a softening of the fine lines around my eyes. In the week following my treatment, the results continued to reveal themselves — my complexion was more even, balanced and moisturised. As for my body responding to “heal what is broken”, an AcuFacial can only go so deep, but I think that’s the point!
Tonic Room’s AcuFacial can be used as a one-off for an impressive glow, or scheduled as a series of sessions four to six weeks after your initial treatment to build on the results in specific areas.
Book now at tonicroom.co.nz