Integrating Medical and Esthetic Treatments – Multi-Modal Therapy For Your Practice
By Darren Starwynn, OMD, LAc
Americans spend billions of dollars each year on cosmetic products and procedures. Most of these provide only superficial results and in many cases cause harsh or irritating effects to the skin.
Acupuncturists have stepped into providing esthetic procedures in recent years in increasing numbers. Acupuncture facial rejuvenation is provided using needles, non-needle microcurrent methods, or combinations of the two. Except for the risk of bruising from needle insertions into the face, such treatments are safer and gentler than many conventional spa treatments.
Both acupuncture and microcurrent facials offer some or all of the following effects:
Improve and balance muscle tension (tone) to more youthful tautness. This could involve relaxation (yin) effects for tense muscles or toning (yang) effects for slack muscles or fascia.
Improve circulation of qi, blood and fluids (lymph) in the face and other body areas. This provides better nutrition for the cells, carries away waste more efficiently and reveals natural beauty and radiance in the face.
Promote healing and anti-inflammatory effects for skin lesions, acne, rosacea and other skin irritations.
Bring more Shen, or Spirit into the eyes.
Help release neuro-peptides that promote feelings of well-being on a physical and emotional level. This is reflected in the beauty of the face.
Stimulate whole-body benefits through micro-system effects on facial zones that connect with internal organs and body systems.
By looking at these effects it is clear that acupuncture or microcurrent facial rejuvenation can potentially do much more than just lift and tone the local tissues of the face. Therefore, facial rejuvenation clients coming to acupuncturists can enjoy these expanded effects – and in some cases significant health benefits.
Energy Light Rejuvenation (ELR) is a system of microcurrent and color light facial rejuvenation that I have helped to develop and teach. I have personally experienced or heard about many positive "side effects" that have been reported during series of ELR sessions. These have included:
Pain relief in various parts of the body
Profound stress reduction
Relieving menstrual cramps
Weight loss (ranging from 5 – 15 pounds over the course of 10 rejuvenation sessions)
Relief of depression, anxiety and lack of inspiration in the creative arts
Improvement of vision or function of other sense organs
Acupuncturists often ask me how to best charge fees for rejuvenation services. Acupuncturists are generally used to a simple fee-for-services model, in which we charge a set amount for a block of time. Spa owners and estheticians usually use a better and more lucrative system – they create a menu of services, each listed with a price. A client may come to get a basic facial, yet after they receive it and are feeling pampered and looking better they will often request additional add-on services, thereby increasing total expenditures. We can learn a lot from this and use this system to provide superior service to our patients and increase our incomes.
An acupuncturist can create a menu of services that could include needle acupuncture, facial rejuvenation, weight management, nutritional or herbal counseling, microcurrent services, women's health support, stress reduction services and more. Determine how much time it takes to do each service and assign appropriate prices. Print these up in a menu and also place on your website. When a new patient comes in for an initial consultation go over your menu of services with them. Allow them to start treatment with your basic services that they require. As they progress and get good results they are likely to think of other needs they or their family/friends have for the other services on your menu. This will lead to greater utilization of your services and increased income.
I believe in Madonna's famous saying "if you've got it, flaunt it!" Acupuncturists have some major advantages over estheticians and spas. We are able to treat the whole person, not just their skin and appearance. We can combine facial rejuvenation with treatments for pain, internal diseases, depression, overweight issues and allergy elimination. So flaunt it! Advertise that you can help clients look younger, lose weight, become pain-free, reduce stress and depression and prevent illness, or whichever combination of these services you are inspired to work with.
Another wise business model we can learn from spas is selling packages of treatments. We know it takes commitment for people to reach their goals, and coming once in a while when they feel the urgency is not a good way to do so. You will be more successful and provide a better service by educating patients on what it will take to achieve their health and beauty goals, then help them to make a commitment to a required series of treatments. This is usually done by offering much more attractive pricing for a series of five or 10 sessions than it would cost them to pay for individual sessions. In some states doctors and acupuncturists are not allowed to collect payments in advance for services, and then use the money before the services are actually rendered. Professionals in those states may still collect money in advance for a series if they place the funds in a special escrow bank account, and not spend it until the services are completed. This achieves several desirable objectives. First of all it encourages clients to make a commitment to themselves. Next it increases the income of the acupuncturist. Finally it helps get the acupuncturist into the habit of saving money! All of these are good business and good service to our clients.
PNE Balancing and Facial Rejuvenation
In other articles for Acupuncture Today I have written about the PNE Balancing system. This is a psycho-emotional evaluation and treatment system that uses a combination of microcurrent, color light therapy, sound therapies, essential oils and intuitive counseling to help heal dysfunctional chakras. PNE Balancing has been effective supporting clients in releasing depression, anxiety, negative thought patterns and the after-effects of trauma. (SeeAcupuncture Today December, 2004 Vol. 05, Issue 12) to read more about PNE Balancing.
Some practitioners of Energy Light Rejuvenation have combined it with PNE Balancing. Chakra imbalances are closely associated with emotional issues, chronic pain, chronic diseases and impaired immune function. Addressing and balancing the chakras helps heal the inner terrain of the body-mind. The micro-system of the face will then reflect these benefits through greater radiance and beauty. In many cases it will also promote reduction of lines, sags and bags in facial regions that correspond to the affected chakras. Such a combination approach can increase the positive health effects of facial rejuvenation therapies.
A word to the wise...
I hope that my acupuncturist colleagues wishing to expand their income and positive reputation in their community will consider offering combination therapies as suggested in this article. Get educated, create a menu of services you wish to provide, create a sound marketing plan and implement it. We have skills and resources few other professionals can offer. Let's flaunt it!
Click here for more information about Darren Starwynn, OMD, LAc.