The introduction to Facial Renewal Acupuncture:
Opening the door to the ancient secrets of health and beauty.
By Julie Shillabeer, R.Ac
When you look in the mirror what do you see? Do you focus on any flaws? Or do you see how beautiful and unique your face is? When you look at an old photo, do you think… “I wish I could have freeze framed my life at that point?” Or, do you look at that photo and think how fortunate you are that you have grown into your own authenticity, that all the experiences you have had since have molded you into who you truly are?
Growing up a member of Generation X I have observed how baby boomers have broken through old belief systems about what aging is. Many of them are choosing to live younger lives through healthier alternatives to western medicine. I have also observed millennials and even the younger members of Generation Z during a time of massive expansion in the cosmetic industries. Recent reports by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery state that Americans have spent over 16 billion on plastic surgery in 2016 and were injected with toxins over 6 million times in 2018 alone. They are seemingly using these techniques such as plastic surgery, toxic injections and fillers without a second thought and at ever-increasing rates.
Self-esteem is a gift of a lifetime, but few of us are fortunate enough to have received it. Often it is a gift half given as we find ourselves still working on our self-love throughout our lifetime. From our earliest years many of us have been teased about our looks or told from our mothers to fix our hair and make ourselves presentable etc. before heading out the front door into the world. Many more of us have had it much worse. This has made us feel like we have to fix our ‘imperfections’ instead of recognizing that they are what makes us, us! We are now surrounded with so many toxic ‘quick fixes’ and pressure to take advantage of them, that we feel if we can get our hands on them we will finally be beautiful and accepted. If we don’t, will we be good enough to be loved? will you be good enough?
The pressures of society to look unattainably perfect are everywhere. In our social media outlets no one really posts themselves after a sleepless night. Seeing post after post of ‘filtered’ life, begs many to ask the questions should I look like that? Can I look like that? Should I undergo a possibly unnatural and harmful procedure to try and look like that? Don’t even get me started on ‘selfie’ dysmorphia, which blurs the line between fantasy and reality and will be discussed in another article.
As a woman who has had Facial Renewal Acupuncture for over 15 years I can proudly say when I look in the mirror I see a happy face that has some imperfections, but a face that is uniquely mine. A face that shows spirit, and eyes that shine bright and glisten with what we call in Traditional Chinese Medicine, shen.
Before you feel the pressure to inject toxic substances into your face or undergo a potentially harmful procedure that will lead you away from your shen, consider that every time we frown, smile, squint, or clench our jaw, we are communicating a part of us. If we succumb to peer pressure and start down the false and unnatural path to look ‘forever young’, how much of our authentic self do we sacrifice?
Our facial muscles are the expressive muscles. We use them to convey thoughts and emotion. It is a natural part of being human and feeling whatever we feel in each moment. These muscles are given signals from our brain, and then we make those expressions. They are not superficial, but instead come from the deepest part of who we are, our spirit. A study conducted by Tanya L Chartrand, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University Fuqua School of Business in North Carolina with David T Neal from the University of Southern California found that Botox impairs our ability to relate to others. This is due to the fact that Botox interferes with what she calls ‘embodied cognition’. This means the way we understand others’ emotions is to experience those emotions ourselves through facial micro-mimicry. If your muscles cannot move, your brain is not being sent the correct signals, and interferes with the emotion being conveyed. This is where these ‘superficial’ treatments can run deep. It seems ironic that by trying to fix our ‘imperfections’ through unnatural procedures in order to be loved, we can in fact cripple our ability to understand, empathize, and communicate with those that we care most for.
After years of migraines and back pain due to a car accident, Julie tried acupuncture and her life was changed. She had tried many forms of pain relief before, however the chronic pain throughout her body was unable to be resolved by any other method than Acupuncture. This profound and lasting change inspired Julie to dedicate her studies to Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The only Gold-standard Masters Trained Cosmetic Acupuncture Specialist in Canada, Julie graduated with Honors from the Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine program in 2005 – with extensive knowledge in Western Medical training.
Always a high achiever, Julie completed her 7 year training in 4.5 years. Following her clinical practice in China, Julie trained with the prestigious Steiner Academy in London and worked with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, becoming one of their top five Acupuncturists internationally. Due to the high volume and variety of clients in this environment, her knowledge in internal medicine is vast. Julie also has 10 years assisting teaching with Mary Elizabeth Wakefield – the leading Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture expert in the world. Julie is the only teacher in Canada certified to teach practitioners this exclusive modality. She also continues to assist Wakefield throughout North America with all 5 levels of Facial Soundscapes courses. Though her continuing education, she has trained in sports medicine and Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS).
Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, author of the book, Constitutional Facial Acupuncture (Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014) is internationally acknowledged as the leading authority on facial acupuncture. An author and teacher, she is a practitioner who has created innovative treatment protocols that emphasize a constitutional approach to this modality.
Mary Elizabeth is a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, Zen Shiatsu practitioner and cranio-sacral therapist, and an opera singer. She has contributed significantly to raising awareness of facial acupuncture as a viable, holistic treatment modality.
MichelAngelo, An opera singer, classical composer, pianist, astrologer, healer, diviner and writer, MichelAngelo was a presenter at the 2011 Conference of the International Society for the Study of Subtle Energy and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM). An article on his system of Planetary Vibrational Medicine appeared in spring 2012 in the Wood issue of Oriental Medicine Journal.
He has created a 3-part certification series in which he synergizes Western medical astrology with Oriental medicine theory and practice, introducing a variety of vibrational methods of remediation (gem elixirs, tuning forks) to address constitutional balance and imbalance as it is reflected in the Western natal chart and identified through other astrological diagnostic strategies
MichelAngelo is a co-author, with sound healing pioneer Donna Carey, co-creator of the Acutonics® sound healing system, of the ground-breaking advanced level treatise, From Galaxies to Cells: Planetary Science, Harmony and Medicine, to which he contributed information on the musical components of the Acutonics® system, as well extensive information on planetary archetypes and classical music.