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July 25, 2023

Best Ways to Incorporate Microneedling Into Your Acupuncture Practice

Acupuncturist providing a facial microneedling treatment
If you’ve ever considered adding microneedling to your acupuncture practice, know that there is much to learn about this effective, lucrative and popular modality. There are a growing number of acupuncturists utilizing microneedling to help their patients look and feel their best. It’s understandable to want to dive right in and offer this specialty to your patients, but taking the time to understand the right tools and approaches to make it the most effective will mean your patients will experience better and more lasting results. And that in turn will lead to more referrals, and an increased income and reputation.

What is Microneedling?

There are three distinct ways of answering that question – from a Western, Eastern, and Integrative perspective.

  • From a Western perspective: microneedling uses tiny needles to create micro-injuries in the skin, stimulating collagen and elastin production and promoting cellular regeneration. It’s used to treat a variety of skin concerns, including wrinkles, scarring, acne, enlarged pores, stretch marks and hyperpigmentation as well as to promote hair growth. Microneedling can also be used to improve the effectiveness of topical treatments by allowing them to penetrate more deeply into the skin.
  • From an Eastern perspective: microneedling has its roots in Plum Blossom technique, which has been part of Chinese medicine’s canon for over 2,000 years. Plum blossom technique is a superficial tapping on the surface of the skin with tiny needles to promote qi and blood circulation, disperse swelling and dampness, harmonize the ying and wei, reduce heat and toxic substances and eliminate pathogenic factors. Since microneedling is a form of acupuncture, it can heal the skin locally as well as work systematically through the meridian system.
  • Integrative microneedling synthesizes the modern tools of microneedling, such as dermastampers and motorized ‘skinpen’ devices, with the internal health benefits of Chinese medicine.

Beauty Through Health

There is nothing wrong with your patients wanting to look their best. Acupuncturists understand that patients will look their best when they are healthy from the inside out. Beauty as a reflection of the health of the zang fu, meridians, emotions and spirit (shen) has been a concept in Chinese history and philosophy for over two thousand years. ​ There are references to how acupuncture improves one’s physical appearance in the Suwen chapter of the Neijing medical text. ​

Balancing the zang fu and regulating the free flow of qi through the meridians can help keep your patient’s skin clear, vibrant, supple and glowing and the shen radiating from their eyes. Acupuncturists are in the unique position of providing a modern aesthetic procedure that actually improves their patient’s internal health.

Finding the Right Microneedling Courses

With the right education and experience, you can expect to get two to three times more money for each appointment that includes microneedling compared to a standard acupuncture session. But more importantly, a rigorous microneedling course should help you understand:

  • The history and philosophy of the modality
  • The benefits and strengths and what your patients can realistically expect
  • Possible contraindications
  • How to interface with Western aesthetic treatments and facial rejuvenation acupuncture
  • Which facial products and ingredients combine best with microneedling and which should be avoided
  • The different types of devices, including the sliding versus stamping mechanism of actions, types of warranties and quality standards
  • Treatment protocols that incorporate microneedling in the most effective way
  • Pre and post-treatment recommendations for patients
  • Legalities and scope of practice
  • Treatment pricing considerations and how to effectively market

A rigorous microneedling course should also give:

  • Ample supervised hands-on practice time to use microneedling devices and practice protocols
  • Customizable forms for your practice and detailed seminar notes.
  • Ongoing community and individual support, such as access to a practitioners’ social media group and opportunities to talk with instructors.

Your Experience is a Strength

Licensed Acupuncturists in the US are, by definition, needling experts with a minimum of 2000 hours of training, 600 of which are in a supervised clinical setting. Your background and your experience with acupuncture – and possibly facial rejuvenation acupuncture – are why your patients return, so seek out a microneedling course that provides protocols yet allows you to bring your experience and talents to the table, making your patients’ time with you a unique experience.

While you don’t have to have a background in facial rejuvenation acupuncture to add microneedling to your practice, practitioners without that background may need a more intensive microneedling course to cover all the in-depth information required to understand this modality and practice it successfully.

It’s understandable that you may get sticker shock when you see the price of the high-end devices and in-depth classes and courses for microneedling, but the investment will be worth it for your patients’ cosmetic results and health benefits and for your income.

Ideally, the point of bringing microneedling into your practice is not just to add it to the list of services on your website. The goal is to be a “microneedling expert.” One who patients are clamoring to see and are telling their friends about. One who has increased their credibility through knowledge, expertise and effective results, leading to a schedule full of happy and healthy patients.

About the Authors

Diana Horowitz, L.Ac. and Amelia Vargas, L.Ac. and Licensed Esthetician, discovered microneedling independently of each other in 2015 in Colorado. As facial rejuvenation acupuncturists both trained in The Wakefield Technique, they strongly shared a belief in supporting a patient’s constitution during any aesthetic acupuncture process. After creating their own holistic integrative microneedling protocol, they developed and now teach in-person and online seminars to acupuncturists around the world.

Diana and Amelia are strong advocates for the acupuncture profession, serving as Microneedling Co-Chairs for the Acupuncture Association of Colorado since 2016. Their purpose is to open the door of this primarily western cosmetic specialty to acupuncturists while honoring microneedling’s roots in Chinese medicine.

Learn more about their October 2023 Microneedling class at AIMC Berkeley here!

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