Dry Needling & Cosmetic Acupuncture

Is Dry Needling effective in providing Facial Cosmetic enhancement?

The work of Professor Helene Langevin at the University of Vermont has largely been focussed on the the role of connective tissue in chronic pain and in the mechanisms of acupuncture.

Her studies have shown that mechanical tissue stimulation during both tissue stretch and acupuncture causes dynamic cellular responses in connective tissue. She has also shown that connective tissue fibroblasts actively participate in the regulation of connective tissue tension, and that connective tissue is abnormal in human subjects with chronic low back pain.

cosmetic acupuncture

Could there be a link between the behaviour of fibroblasts when an acupuncture needle stimulates connective tissue & Cosmetic Dry Needling?

I think this could be possible and certainly makes sense.

Cosmetic Acupuncture has long been used to assist patients with facial appearance and even breast augmentation. The principle behind this type of therapy is based on TCM theory: meridians, acupoints, yin/yang & Qi.

Although Dry Needling is based on a completely different paradigm, there are many physiological similarities between Dry Needling theory and that of Acupuncture. One obvious similarity is that both use the same tool, the acupuncture needle.

Not only do they both use the same tool, but both use a rotational force once a needle is inserted. Acupuncturists rotate the acupuncture needle to bring about the arrival of Qi, or life force (energy). Dry needling therapists rotate the needle to release a trigger point and in some cases bring about a local twitch response.

Helene Langevin’s research shows that rotation of a needle can have profound effects on connective tissue fibroblasts:

“Needle rotation induced extensive fibroblast spreading and lamellipodia formation within 30 min, measurable as an increased in cell body cross sectional area. The effect of rotation peaked with two needle revolutions and decreased with further increases in rotation. Significant effects of rotation were present throughout the tissue, indicating the presence of a response extending laterally over several centimeters.”


It is this rotational technique that is the similarity between what Acupuncturists & Dry Needling therapists do that may explain the way that cosmetic needling works.

I’ve been using Dry Needling therapy for cosmetic enhancement for the past 8-10 years and in my experience Helene Langevin’s work may provide some explanantion as to how it works and how the results I have seen are so exciting.

Dr Wayne W Mahmoud
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