At a time when everyone and
their Chakra therapist is experimenting with alternative
medicine, business couldn't be better for Toronto acupuncturist
North America's undiminished obsession
with looking a decade younger on every birthday after
thirty hasn't hurt either, as a growing clientele now
besieges Mr Kanner's waiting room, consisting of baby
boomer women including his very own mother, and an increasing
number of so-called 'metrosexual' men all in
search of that mythical fountain of eternally dazzling
skin. "I guess people are always looking at ways to
prolong their youth," says Mr Kanner, 29.
Facial acupuncture is the latest
beauty trend to be embraced by those who feel victimized
by Mother Nature's indifference to their aesthetic fantasies.
Complaints include wrinkles, bags under the eyes, droopy
eyelids, double chins and acne scarring, all of which
Mr Kanner says he can help rectify within reason.
While he hasn't encountered anyone with severely delusional
expectations, he's careful to explain that he's no miracle
worker, cautioning: "If you're in your late 50s, you're
not going to look like you're 20 again. On average,
it takes five to 15 years off your face."
He says facial acupuncture can
tighten pores, improve facial colour, increase collagen
production and enhance muscle tone. Retrieving your
youthful glow takes 10 to 12 weekly visits at $120 a
pop or the package price of $950 a bargain considering
the $300-500 generally forked out for a single Botox
Mr Kanner, who practices at The
BodyClinic in Yorkville and the Total Health Chiropractic
Centre in North Toronto, seems somewhat surprised to
be addressing beauty as well as health woes since his
focus has always been alternative healing. But after
completing acupuncture studies at The Michener Institute
and starting to practise, he realized many clients were
equally motivated by image concerns. These youth cravings
have certainly added a prosperous dimension to his business,
but he always makes sure to also inform clients of acupuncture's
benefits as an alleviator of headaches, depression,
digestive issues, TMJ, menopause, fatigue and stress.
Dr Mark Baily, director of the Headache Treatments Clinic
in Brampton, ON and a certified Botox instructor, is
not quite as keen on the idea of a pinprick solution
to wrinkles. He says that what makes Botox a more attractive
option than facial acupuncture is the years of hard
science backing up its safety and effectiveness.
But with recent reports of four
Americans contracting botulism poisoning after receiving
knockoff doses of Botox, Mr Kanner's natural solutions
may enjoy yet another surge.
Dr Baily defends his neurotoxin,
insisting that when used correctly, legitimate, government-approved
Botox is completely safe. "Since emerging as an anti-aging
agent 15 years ago, we've used it to treat millions
of people for a variety of conditions with no allergic
reactions," he says.
"Numerous clinical studies since
1989 clearly demonstrate its efficacy for the reduction
of fine lines," he says. "Botox is the Mercedes Benz
of wrinkle removal and has passed the test of time."
But Mr Kanner would argue that
5,000 years as a fundamental of Chinese medicine would
qualify acupuncture as a tried-and-true therapy. What
seals the case for him is that it relies on the body's
own resources rather than external agents to promote
"With procedures such as cosmetic
skin grafts, Botox and facelifts, people are realizing
the possible side effects, both internal and external,"
says Mr Kanner. "Cosmetic acupuncture is a safe, more
affordable and healthy alternative."