This ancient practice could help you stay forever young


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Style icon Norma Kamali is known for her daring silhouettes, her passion for wellness, and (it must be said!) looking fantastic at every age. One of her secrets to thriving and looking her best is acupuncture. Here, the Well+Good Council member reveals how she first became interested in the treatment, why it makes her feel more energetically balanced, and why you might want to try facial acupuncture.

Years ago, on one of my trips to China while I was meeting with some of my Chinese girlfriends, it struck me they all had absolutely gorgeous skin. I broke into our conversation to ask what they were doing—I just had to know. The answer was unanimous: They all said they were regular acupuncture devotees, especially on the face. They called it their acupuncture face-lift.

As soon as I returned to New York, I contacted folks from the wellness world and the well-placed Chinese community to see if I could find an acupuncture doctor with good recommendations. One name kept coming up: Dr. Jingduan Yang. Part of a long line of Chinese medicine doctors, he added Western medicine to his repertoire to combine the best of both worlds for his practice. His offices were in south Jersey and as part of Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, which would mean a two-hour trip for this New Yorker. I understood that seeing Dr. Yang would not be convenient—but, I decided, it was definitely worth a try.

If I was dedicated to wellness, I needed to learn about acupuncture.

When I arrived for my 4 p.m. appointment, Dr. Yang asked me why I decided to come see him. I proudly announced that I was there for an acupuncture face lift. He responded without missing a beat, saying that I was not going to get one. What?! I was taken aback by his tone and refusal to do what I thought was part of his usual work.

But then, Dr. Yang opened my eyes to what acupuncture is and isn’t. He explained to me that acupuncture is an ancient practice and has been used as part of preventative medicine and practical medicine for centuries. It’s not just about face lifts. He said I needed to understand and experience the benefits of acupuncture personally with a full analysis and treatment. He thought that if I was dedicated to wellness, I needed to learn about acupuncture to fully appreciate the process.

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I was intrigued because, quite frankly, I knew little about acupuncture. While I’d experienced it a few times before, I hadn’t had a great takeaway. So I decided to approach the subject with a spirit of openness and curiosity—I wanted to learn. I suggested coming for weekly sessions as well as tutorials on Chinese medicine and acupuncture. I asked one favor, and that was to allow me to record audio of our sessions. Fortunately, he agreed.

That began a new ritual: Every Thursday at 2 p.m., I would head to south Jersey for my 4 p.m. appointment with Dr. Yang. My lessons were wonderful, especially because I experienced the acupuncture treatment at the same time. That allowed me to truly understand through the physical, mental and emotional adjustments that were happening each week.

Then, finally, I was awarded with my first acupuncture face lift!

Now, I am for everyone and anyone doing whatever they like to enhance their faces and bodies to lift self-esteem. But sometimes, folks go a bit far—I joke that it’s akin to the witness protection program extreme, where one no longer recognizes who they are. That wasn’t my goal; I just wanted to look like the best possible version of myself. To me, there are so many benefits in the fact that acupuncture is not just working your face, but is looking at the practice holistically.

As I lay on the table, Dr. Yang carefully placed needle after needle into my skin. I had become accustomed to them being inserted all over my body, but now they were protruding from the top of my head, face, and neck. Does this sound uncomfortable? It wasn’t. By the time the last needle was applied, I was drifting off into a pleasant sleep. Forty-five minutes later, I woke up feeling as though I had the best night’s sleep of my life. I was so impressed with how relaxed and stress-free I felt. During my two-hour return trip home, the smile on my face seemed comfortably fixed. Bliss!

“Wow,” I thought, “you do look good!”

The next morning as I usually get ready for work, I was focused on the day ahead. I hadn’t told anyone what I had been doing every Thursday. So when a member of my team commented that I looked really good today, I got up to take a look in the mirror.

“Wow,” I thought, “you do look good!”

Now let me explain the beauty of a stress-free, relaxed face. That is the “looking good” I was experiencing. In fact, I’d had such a good night’s sleep—which I believe is part of the “face lift” as well as the tonal difference I literally felt on my face and neck.

I continued my visits for six months, as planned, and collected the information I so cherished from this kind man. Dr. Yang lifted my awareness of Chinese medicine as he lifted my face, and we began to collaborate. I invited Dr. Yang to speak at my Wellness Cafe as well as in other venues to share our experience, so that more people could be aware of the benefits of acupuncture and the acupuncture face lift experience. Finally, Dr. Yang was asked to write a book on the subject. We added my audio tapes and interaction to the book. The result, Facing East, includes all I learned from Dr. Yang during my Chinese medicine tutorial. Of all the lessons I’ve picked up during this experience, this is the biggest takeaway: Beauty is not just skin deep.

As an entrepreneur and designer, Norma Kamali has always found inspiration for her fashion collections in wellness, beauty, and women’s empowerment. These anchors have fueled her creation of the Stop Objectification movement, which encourages women to celebrate their strength and their bodies.

What should Norma write about next? Send your questions and suggestions to experts@wellandgood.com

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