In their 2013 study: ‘Effect of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture on Facial Elasticity: An Open-Label, Single-Arm Pilot Study’ , Younghee Yun et al. hypothesised that facial acupuncture ‘affects facial elasticity by restoring resting mimetic muscle tone through the insertion of needles into the muscles of the head, face, and neck.’ We explored the effects of facial acupuncture on skin elasticity in a previous blog post here.
I developed Facial Enhancement Acupuncture after considering the locations of the acupuncture points on the face and their positions with reference to the facial muscles, so this study, and that which follows was of particular interest. For instance, Bladder 2 (Bl 2 – pictured) is located on the frontalis and corrugator supercilli muscles; the latter pulls the eyebrows together. Bl 2 is also a really good point for benefiting the eyes. In this way, we are working with the muscles, alongside the applications of that particular point from a Chinese medicine perspective, to assist in anti-ageing treatment.
Younghee Yun et al. reference the work of Louarn et al.  who:
‘…conducted an MRI study on changes in the contour of facial mimetic muscles in patients of different ages. They found that facial mimetic muscles gradually straighten and shorten with age as a result of increased resting muscle tone. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that FCA could be used to improve facial elasticity with needles inserted into the muscles of the head, face, and neck, resulting in restored muscle tone.’
My analogy has always been to ‘think of the facial muscles going to the gym; we are giving each muscle a work-out by stimulating it with our needle.’  Which, as Younghee Yun et al. hypothesise, could be a valid way to combat the natural straightening and shortening of the facial muscles as we age. Indeed, their study results suggested that the facial acupuncture ‘improved facial elasticity in women aged 40 and 59 years with a Glogau photoaging scale III.’ 
I welcome more studies to measure how acupuncture can restore resting mimetic muscle tone.
Paul Adkins Lic.Ac., BA(Hons), FEA, MCAUK, MBAcC
 Yun, Y., Kim, S., Kim, M., Park, J-S. and Choi, I. (2013) ‘Effect of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture on Facial Elasticity: An Open-Label, Single-Arm Pilot Study’ Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine vol. 2013, Article ID 424313
 Louarn, C. L., Buthiau, D. and Buis, J. (2007) ‘Structural aging: the facial recurve concept,’ Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 213–218
 Adkins, P. (2014) Facial Enhancement Acupuncture: Clinical Use and Application. London: Singing Dragon