Vibrational Beauty Therapy: Facial Rejuvenation With Light and Microcurrent
By Darren Starwynn, OMD, LAc
Facial rejuvenation is a highly profitable cash service that has become very popular among American acupuncturists in recent years. This article offers an overview of how low-level electrical stimulation (microcurrent) and customized color light can provide a facial rejuvenation treatment that not only significantly improves the appearance of the face, but promotes good health and vibrant energy as well.
This new system is called vibrational beauty therapy (VBT).
Our faces reveal the health and balance of our internal organs, energy and blood. A person with a healthy, glowing face has good internal energy balance. Conversely, organic weaknesses and dysfunctions show in the face through dark circles, pale or lusterless skin, blemishes, acne, excessive wrinkling, and other signs. This connection between our skin and internal organs has been referred to as the "viscerocutaneous reflex" by acupuncture researcher Felix Mann.1 He also describes the "cutaneoviscero reflex" through which appropriate stimulation of acupuncture points on the skin surface can produce beneficial effects on the internal organs, glands, qi and blood.
Many systems of facial rejuvenation have been devised, all of which involve direct stimulation of the face with electrical stimulation, acupuncture needles, heat, massage, herbs, or light. These systems work with various levels of effectiveness. The lifting and rejuvenating effects on the face take place through adjustment of muscle tone, detoxification and cleansing of the skin, stimulation of collagen production, and adjustment of the energy meridian circuits that connect the face with the viscera. Most of these systems only stimulate the face, and usually apply electrical currents or light that is excessively intense for optimal results in balancing and enhancing subtle energy communication between the face and body.
VBT is unique in many ways, including the following:
Lines and points on the face and other body regions are stimulated with a combination of low-frequency microcurrent electrical stimulation and color light. Microcurrent works directly on the nerves, muscle fibers and blood circulation, and promotes collagen and elastin production. Color light works by enhancing subtle regulatory and cellular communication systems throughout the body. Clinical trials have demonstrated that this combination therapy can provide a superior, longer-lasting facial than needling or microcurrent stimulation alone.
Each VBT subject receives application of a series of different colors of light during a session, including a customized color selected for her skin and body type.
Many manufacturers produce "photo-facial" units for the purpose of rejuvenating the face with light. In many cases these units do produce positive results, such as improved blood circulation, lymphatic drainage and wrinkle reduction. There is one serious drawback to these devices, however. Most of them only produce red or infrared light. Red or infrared can be highly beneficial for some skin types, and can produce rapid symptomatic changes. It is not for everyone, however. Clients have markedly different skin types and bodily constitutions. Just as red light can rejuvenate some skin types, it can prematurely age others. This "one-size-fits-all" approach to facial rejuvenation is very limited, and can be dangerous.
Application Through Acupuncture Points
While any form of generalized stimulation can help rejuvenate the face, results are usually better when treatment is directed through acupuncture points, which are bioelectric communication gateways. Acupuncture points have the remarkable ability to energize and activate not only the local region, but to also promote balance and health through whole-body effects. VBT utilizes a non-needle approach to acupoint stimulation using microcurrent and color light. Acupuncturists can combine VBT with scalp-needle acupuncture to increase the "lifting" effect.
Acupuncture points exist along energetic pathways called meridians. The meridians are a subtle energy communication system that interconnects all parts of our bodies through the connective tissue network (fascia). It is an energetic gridwork that corresponds to the ley lines of the Earth and the cosmos. This is based on the "as above, so below" principle, as our individual meridian system is in relation to the macrocosm (universal energy grid) and microcosm (atomic and subatomic levels).
The commonly known meridians of the body are named after our internal organs, as each one connects an organ to specific pathways in the muscles, connective tissues and, of course, the skin. The face has direct meridian connections to eight of the major meridians of the body: the Stomach, Urinary Bladder, Large Intestine, Small Intestine, Triple Warmer, Gall Bladder, Du (Governing Vessel), and Ren (Conception Vessel). The face also has indirect connections to all of the other meridians through microsystem connections and the Du and Ren vessels. According to Chinese medicine, the Du vessel is the "sea of all yang meridians" and the Ren the "sea of all yin meridians." These two channels terminate on the face, in the mouth region.
Isn't it interesting that, even on a very cold day, people bundled up in heavy coats can be comfortable with their faces exposed? This is due to the fact that so much of the body's vital energy is projected onto the face through meridian system connections. This connection works both ways: not only does the face reflect the energy of the body, but stimulation of the face can also affect the whole body through the meridian system.
Microcurrent electrostimulation at low frequency is an ideal stimulus for facial rejuvenation for the following reasons:
All body functions are governed by electrical systems. This includes muscle contractions and relaxations, nerve function, glandular secretions, brain activity, healing and regeneration, pain perception, and much more.
Because the body's electrical control systems are based on very subtle electrical signals in the nano- and microamp levels (billionths and millionths of amp ranges, respectively), it is true that vastly overpowering currents in the milliamp (thousandths of amp) range can be counterproductive to the aim of restoring internal balance. Yet this is the type of current used in most facial rejuvenation devices. While these "overkill" currents can make the face look temporarily better by artificially relaxing tense muscles, such treatment will rarely provide satisfactory long-term effects, and may be counterproductive.
Our research has shown that the acupuncture meridian system is balanced rapidly when stimulated with microcurrents in the 1-10 Hz frequency range. VBT primarily utilizes such currents for facial stimulation.
How Light Affects the Body
There is a large and growing body of research that reveals that the cells and molecules that make up our bodies respond directly to both electrical and light energy. Here is a quote from the article "Exploring the Biology of Phototherapy," by James Oschman, PhD2:
"From the biology of the situation, I suggest that the immediate effect of light is on the communications pathways. Specifically, it is proposed that light stimulates the flow of solitons, which are waves of energy and information that travel rapidly through the protein fabric of the body. The flow of solitons opens gates and switches and organizes dynamic living matrix pathways. Cells can then 'whisper' to each other using their own languages. These whisperings orchestrate the repair of traumas of all kinds."
Some Russian researchers have proposed that the protein fabric of the body acts as a fiber-optic system. Pankratov projected light on acupuncture points and measured light output from other points along the same meridian, and found that this caused these other points to emit light. He concluded that the meridians are preferential pathways for the transmission of light in the body.3
It is fascinating that other researchers have determined that protein molecules also transmit subtle electrical signals throughout the body, an activity called semi-conduction. The eastern European researcher Albert Szent-Gyorgyi was the first to point out that the molecular structures of the human body are organized enough to support semi-conduction through passing information along chains of what have been called "liquid crystals."4
Therefore, both light energy and subtle electrical energy are transported throughout the body via chains of protein molecules. Our clinical experience confirms that that these two forms of energy stimulation may be administered together, and significantly enhance each other's effects.
The specific effects of each color of light on the body have been documented by researchers such as Dinshah Ghadiali and Peter Mandel. Mandel uses the word "information" to describe the input of light on the body. In his view, external trauma, toxicity and psychological stresses of the past and present create "incoherent" information in our bodies. Giving appropriate colored light stimulation is a way to introduce pure information to restore coherence.
We may call the call of the body/mind complex for needed colors "color hunger". Many people have expressed a strong desire for a specific one of the 12 colors offered by the VBT system. As light of that color was applied to points on their body, they have often experienced immediate or delayed beneficial reactions, such as deep relaxation, mental clarity, increased energy, or relief of various somatic symptoms.
For example, orange-colored light brings the information of activation, joy and a release of fresh, new energy to meridians and body areas it is applied to, and possesses many specific benefits for relieving spasm and congestion and aiding calcium metabolism. When applied to appropriate acupoints, orange light can act as a natural antidepressant. Blue light, the complementary color to orange, has anti-inflammatory effects on arthritis and burns, and is effective for calming nervous tension and overly charged emotional states. Red light activates blood and energy circulation, and is appropriate for clients with sluggish or cold constitution. Red is usually contraindicated, however, for clients with a ruddy complexion, heat signs on the face or rosacea.
The light spectrum moves from the most warming and activating colors (infrared and red) to the most cool and relaxing colors (violet and ultraviolet). Green is the fulcrum or balance point of the spectrum, and is extensively used for balancing brain and body function and detoxification.
Facial rejuvenation may be enhanced through use of color as follows:
Red light for promoting circulation and energizing the face through increasing metabolism
Green for enhancing facial muscle tone and fullness
Yellow for clients with markedly sagging facial muscles
Purple for clients in pain at the time of treatment
Other colors may be used according to individual conditions.
Administration of VBT
A VBT session consists of up to seven phases of treatment, administered to a patient relaxing in a recliner chair or treatment table. Treatment is administered with a microcurrent device and light generator. The VB1000 device is designed to deliver this dual stimulation.5 The phases include various techniques using probes, pad and bar electrodes, electromassage and mud masks. The practitioner simply follows diagrams provided that show exactly where to move or place the treatment electrodes in each phase. A typical session, including all phases, lasts about an hour.
In each phase of treatment, microcurrent and light are applied to different points and lines on the face, in conjunction with VBT skin care products designed especially for use with vibrational electrical and light therapies. Skin care products include a bio-electric gel, moisturizer, healing mist, healing cream, cleanser, and mud mask. They contain blends of ionized water, pure aloe vera, virgin oils, gem essences, antioxidants, and other all-natural ingredients that nurture and help restore the health and tone of the face. Gem essences are made of pure water that has been vibrationally charged with the energetic qualities of precious and semi-precious gemstones. Through the process of making gem essences, the healing and energy balancing frequencies contained in each gem are released and amplified into the water, then stabilized for ongoing usage. Between six and 20 gem essences are contained in each product. The beneficial properties of each essence are further released into the body when colored light and microcurrent are passed through them on the skin surface.
There have been many systems designed to serve the rapidly growing and highly profitable market for facial services. Most of them are cosmetic; that is, the effects are largely local and temporary. The electric currents and light stimulation used in most devices are strong enough to overpower the subtle bioelectricity of the face and its energy channels. This can have a negative long-term effect and may actually accelerate the aging process.
VBT has been developed in response to the growing demand for de-aging beauty and healthcare services that work in harmony with the subtle energy systems of the body. The VBT system applies gentle microcurrents and a spectrum of beneficial colors of light to clients in a customized manner. Stimulation is applied through acupuncture points that communicate with the entire body. Treatment is given in conjunction with skin products that work synergistically.
Mann, Felix. Acupuncture: The Ancient Chinese Healing Art and How it Works Scientifically. Vintage Books, 1973.
Published in the Journal of Optometric Phototherapy, April 2001.