JANUARY 15, 2005

Going under the pin

Could acupuncture overtake Botox as the
wrinkle-buster of choice?

Botulism-phobic youth chasers try 5,000-year-old therapy
to hold back the sands of time

At a time when everyone and their Chakra therapist is experimenting with alternative medicine, business couldn't be better for Toronto acupuncturist Daniel Kanner.

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 injection.

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 healing.

"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."



back to top of page




© Parkhurst Publishing Privacy Statement
Legal Terms of Use
Site created by Spin Design T.