Cosmetic Acupuncture

Hello Dear Ones,

A few months ago I had a new client visit me and we began to talk about her career as an acupuncturist. My eyes lit up, because I had a feeling she knew the ancient techniques of facial rejuvenation judging from the health of her own skin. I asked her if she was trained in facial acupuncture and she said “Yes!” After getting to know each other we realized that it would be wonderful to combine our specialties to offer an exclusive skincare package for our beloved clients. Working together would strengthen and complement our gifts, so It was an instant match!

Allow me to introduce you to Dr. Stephanie McGuirk!
Stephanie holds a Master’s of Science in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology from the Southwest Acupuncture College in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In 2005, Stephanie traveled to China to study the roots of Chinese Medicine and specialized in the art of facial rejuvenation. In 2008, Stephanie began working along with the KU Med Integrative Medicine center helping to branch the worlds of Eastern and Western medicine for patients. Prior to her Chinese Medicine training and successfully operating her own clinic in Overland Park, Kansas for the past 12 years, she worked as a massage therapist and yoga instructor for 10 years. Stephanie is nationally certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists.
Cosmetic Acupuncture of Mei Rong Zen has been around for thousands of years in China. In fact, it was the secret beauty technique used by the Empress and the female members of her court since 969 A.D! The treatment consists of painlessly inserting thin filament needles in primarily the face and a few on the body. Using the principles of Chinese Medicine, cosmetic acupuncture has the ability to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, it smooths and plumps the skin with increased collagen production and improves the elasticity and moisture levels for a dewy youthful look. Me Rong Zen treats, maintains and increases the ” Jing Chi” or Vital Essence of the body. Therefore, the patient is able to address the root cause of the aging process while experiencing the benefits of a youthful glowing appearance.
Please call to schedule your appointment. 785-393-3185

 

The Goddess calls me to India!

                                                            
Hello friends!
I’m so excited to share with you a journey of a lifetime! Last September I began a spiritual quest to discover my relationship with the world more deeply by honoring the practice of YOGA. I signed up for the 200 hour yoga teacher training class with Gopi Sandal at Westside Yoga. Since then I have been preparing the knowledge and wisdom of the practice, but before I can create new offerings for you I must first go on a vision quest. Which was introduced to me when Gopi asked me in January if I wanted to journey to India to visit a 5,000 year old city jeweled with temples and to seek solace in the mountains of the Himalayas.

I had only a weekend to decide. I have never had the intent to go to India but I knew there was one thing that drives my purpose and that is my connection to the Goddess and She summoned me with many synchronicities that affirmed the trip. It seemed as though I was seeing images of India everywhere and hearing people talk about India every where I went. It was stalking me! So, I knew it was my soul’s contract to go. Now, I don’t take vacations often and my favorite place to go is the beach, for which I haven’t seen in 11 years!!! I could easily go to an island and prop myself up on a mound of sand and talk to the Goddess there but it didn’t freak me out as much….I had to follow the fear. The fear that I feel, is knowing that this journey will be an expansion of my soul! Leaving the comfort zone takes a little bit of courage and the ability to surrender to fear.

In essence of the Goddess, we desire a connection to Her that has been quieted for thousands of years under the patriarchy. She speaks to us from the image of The Madonna, Mary Magdalene, Gaia, Lakshmi, Durga, Radha, Isis…all of these Goddesses serve as an archetype embedded deep within our psyche. She represents protection, provision, safety, care, love, receptivity, forgiveness, beauty, softness and SHAKTI (the power of the divine feminine creatrix). In my work, I hope to be a catalyst to help awaken the Goddess within, so I must go to the most ancient and historically rich city in the world to bring Her back to YOU! This is my mission. This is my passion. This is an awakening.

There are many Goddesses of Yoga and they all have unique characteristics that we can channel in order to align ourselves with the highest good. One of my favorite books by Sally Kempton titled…

Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga asks…

How do you live a life of spiritual awakening, abundance, inner freedom and deep intimacy?

Sally answers…
The sages of Tantra have known for centuries that when you follow the path of Shakti – the sacred feminine principle personified by the goddesses of yoga – these gifts can manifest spontaneously. Yet most of us, women as well as men, have yet to experience the full potential of our inner feminine energies. When you know these powers for what they are, they heighten your capacity to open spiritually, love more deeply and fearlessly, create with greater mastery, and move through the world with skill and delight. 

I look forward to sharing all my adventures with you in person,
on instagram at pur_aesthetics
and Facebook.

In Bhakti of Shakti,

Liz Black

 

Connect your cycle with Mama Luna for an abundance of Wellness + Wonder!

(In Mayan mythology, the jaguar is a symbol of the night sun, lunar energy and darkness.)

Photo Credit: Peter Carrington

Welcome to my Wild Wellness Warrior Spirit! The experience of illumination from having a Super Full Moon Eclipse brings in the light and the darkness to show our shadow self (the parts of ourselves that we hide) and our illuminated self (the parts that make us shine.)The energy of the lunar cycle is expanded when the pull of the moon is in it’s fullness. Honoring the lunar cycle honors our circadian rhythm of life’s process. We are wildly connected to nature and by recognizing the energy of the moon and how it works in our life, wakes up the hidden magic and mystical parts of ourselves that yearn to create a world that is in alignment with our highest and deepest intentions.

Creating your life’s purpose becomes easier when you connect to the energy of the Earth’s seasons and lunar cycles. The Farmer’s Almanac is a perfect example of creating a bountiful harvest with the seasons, cycles and rhythms of the Earth’s purpose in mind. We dare not plant seeds in the dead of winter because they simply would not grow! Right?!

At the time of a full moon all that you have planted such as ideas, dreams, actions are magnified and illuminated to expand your growth and consciousness. The pull on the Earth from the Moon’s energy is almost like pulling those ideas and dreams out of you to be honored and brought into the light to be seen by yourself and others. In order to purposely create an abundant harvest of your deepest desires, it is best to begin on the new moon!

Here is ONE simple truth to live by when creating an abundance of Wellness in harmony with your Wild Self and Mother Nature…

All women, especially those that experience menstruation should sync their period with the energies of the new moon. Even if you no longer have your periods this is still the best time for you to go within and listen. The new moon energy and your womb space is a container of fertilization to sow the seeds of new thoughts, ideas, dreams and intentions.

The womb is also known as the “second brain,” so allow this time to listen to your womb by honoring your self through more self care. Take a nap, relax, enjoy writing in a journal, eat well, bath in salts for purification, anoint your body with essential oils, get a facial, enjoy a massage, read a juicy book, etc. This is a sacred time for a woman to listen to her deepest intuition and hear her heart’s desires. You must honor it and give thanks because it will not lead you astray! Our society has not illuminated the gifts of our womb space. We are taught to despise our periods and our bodies because the information we receive at this time can be very powerful. So take your power back and listen to your body! Just like Mother Earth on a new moon, she too is planting new seeds and renews herself for growth and expansion.

Here are some answers to some questions you may have…

Q: How do you do align your periods with the new moon?

A: It’s pretty simple! Just by being aware of the lunar cycle and when the new moon arrives your body will shift and begin to orchestrate the meeting place. You can also ask your womb to renew on the new moon. She will listen and it will become a part of your synchronization for co-creation with the energies of the Earth. Because you are Nature, it is an intuitive process that will unfold naturally. Trust in the process!

Q: How does this have any reference to better skin?

A: Wowzers! That is a loaded question, but I’m eager to answer. 🙂 Your hormones are receiving messages from the external world through all your senses. Hormones regulate the functions of all your internal organs and when you are stressed and not living in balance  with nature’s rhythms, many of your organs, the skin included, because it’s an organ will show signs of oxidative damage aka AGING!!!! It can manifest as acne, rosacea, dermatitis, wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes, etc.

Here is an excerpt from Medscape.com titled Metabolism and Cancer: The Circadian Clock Connection

(The Earth’s rotation around its axis leads to day–night cycles, which affects the physiology of most living organisms. Circadian (from the Latin circa diem meaning ‘about a day’) clocks are intrinsic, time-tracking systems that enable organisms to anticipate environmental changes (such as food availability and predatory pressure) and allow them to adapt their behaviour and physiology to the appropriate time of day.[7] Rhythms that occur with a periodicity of 24 hours are considered circadian. Feeding behaviour, sleep–wake cycles, hormone levels and body temperature are just a few examples of physiological circadian rhythms, with light being the principal regulator or zeitgeber.  A major consequence of a modern lifestyle is the disruption of circadian rhythms. This leads to several pathological conditions, including sleep disturbances and depression. Importantly, accumulating evidence shows that the alteration of circadian rhythms might lead to increased susceptibility to cancer in humans. Epidemiological studies have revealed that the risk for breast cancer is significantly higher in industrialized societies, and that the risk increases as developing countries become more westernized)

If you have any other questions about living in tune with the lunar cycle, please don’t hesitate to send me an email and share your thoughts with me! I’m happy to help!

In honor of the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse,
Be courageous enough to live from your Wildest Self that is in alignment with Mother Earth! 

Please share this with those who are ready to hear the wild wake up call!

Insight + Light!  Earth = Heart!

Your Wild Wellness Warrior,

Liz Black

5 FRESH FACE FIXES

HERE IS YOUR QUICK GUIDE FOR 5 FRESH FIXES THAT ARE CHEAP + EASY + HEALING FOR YOUR SKIN THIS SUMMER!
1. LEMONS
WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU A LEMON, MAKE LEMON WATER! EVERY DAY I USE ONE LEMON THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO SQUEEZE INTO MY DRINKING WATER FOR PURIFICATION OF THE LIVER AND SKIN. YOU WILL DRINK MORE WATER THIS WAY AND YOUR SKIN WILL THANK YOU! IF YOU HAVE ACNE YOU DON’T WANT TO SKIP THIS.
2. GREEN TEA 
GREEN TEA IS MY FAVORITE FOR IRRITATED + AGING SKIN! IT’S ANTIOXIDANT POWER WILL FIGHT UV RADIATION AND INFLAMMATION. BREW ONE BAG OF GREEN TEA TO 8 OZ. OF WATER. POUR YOUR TEA IN A SPRAY BOTTLE AND KEEP IN THE FRIDGE FOR PRESERVING AND TO KEEP COOL. SPRAY ON YOUR SKIN THROUGHOUT THE DAY FOR A REFRESHING DRINK OF MOISTURE AND ANTIOXIDANTS! YOU MAY ALSO ADD UP TO 20 DROPS OF ESSENTIAL OILS PER 8 OUNCES OF H20. NEROLI, LAVENDER, + FRANKINCENSE ARE MY FAVORITES FOR ANTI-AGING AND CALMING IRRITATED SUNBURNS.
3. GREEN TEA BAGS
KEEP YOUR BREWED TEA BAGS IN A CONTAINER IN THE FRIDGE. PLACE OVER YOUR EYES TO REDUCE PUFFINESS, DEHYDRATION AND WRINKLES FOR 5-10 MINUTES. YOUR EYES WILL BRIGHTEN UP AND YOU WILL FEEL MORE ALERT!
4. ALOE VERA GEL
ALOE IS A VASODILATOR, STIMULATING BLOOD FLOW TO THE SKIN FOR INCREASED OXYGEN AND NOURISHMENT. I BUY LILY OF THE DESERT ORGANIC GEL AND KEEP IN THE FRIDGE FOR WHEN I’M READY TO USE. TAKE A TABLESPOON OF GEL AND RUB INTO THE SKIN FOR A MASK. YOUR SKIN MAY BECOME WARM AND PINK, DON’T BE ALARMED, IT IS NORMAL. LEAVE ON THE SKIN FOR 10 MINUTES AND RINSE OFF. YOUR SKIN WILL FEEL TIGHT + PLUMP FROM THE ADDED HYDRATION AND ANTIOXIDANTS.***YOU CAN ALSO MIX 40Z. OF ALOE WITH 4OZ. OF GREEN TEA AND POUR INTO A SPRAY BOTTLE FOR A REFRESHING SPLASH OF NUTRIENTS AND HYDRATION. THIS IS ALSO GREAT FOR SUNBURNS!!!!
5. EGG YOLKS
YOLKS ARE RICH IN VITAMINS THAT REPLENISH THE SKIN WITH IT’S OWN NATURAL COMPONENTS SUCH AS PHOSPHOLIPIDS THAT HELP REGENERATE THE SKIN, HEALING SCARS AND SKIN DISORDERS. CERAMIDES REPLENISH THE SKIN’S NATURAL OILS AND ACT AS A SIGNALING CELL TO PROLIFERATE NEW HEALTHY CELLS. VITAMIN B3 KNOWN AS NIACINAMIDE, HELPS TO REGULATE NORMAL OIL PRODUCTION AND CIRCULATION OF NUTRIENTS. TAKE ONE ORGANIC YOLK WITHOUT THE WHITE AND WHISK TILL IT’S LOOSE. APPLY ON THE SKIN AND LEAVE ON FOR 10 MINUTES THEN RINSE. THIS MASK IS NUTRIENT DENSE, SUPPLYING THE SKIN WITH MAJOR ANTI-AGING BENEFITS!

ILLUMIN8 SKIN SERIES WITH LED

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Have you experienced LED in my facial but you don’t understand the benefits completely? Well this will shed light on the subject! 😉 I like to include LED into all my facials because it is extremely rejuvenating, healing and illuminating! I have 8 facials on my treatment menu and all of them incorporate LED. I apply the light after I have treated the skin with corrective serums and a customized mask so that the light will help penetrate enhancing and performing products on the skin for at least 10 minutes while you relax. 100% holistic, organic, painless and results delivered!

Schedule Here and Illumin8 Your Skin today!

THE ILLUMIN8 SKIN SERIES
ORGANIC SKIN FITNESS FACIALS ARE CUSTOMIZED TO TREAT YOUR UNIQUE SKIN $85
1. PUR + HEALTHY (NORMAL)
2. CLARIFY + DETOXIFY (ACNE)
3. CALM + SOOTHE (ROSACEA)
4. LIGHTEN + BRIGHTEN (HYPERPIGMENTATION)

ADVANCED REJUVENATION ANTI-AGING FACIALS $120
5. REFRESHED + RADIANT (OXYGEN LIFT)
6. HYDRATE + GLO (HYDRADERMABRASION)
7. EMPOWER + PEEL (CHEMICAL PEEL)
8. SCULPT + LIFT (MICROCURRENT)

What are LED Facials?

One of the more recent, proven technologies for skin care is LED (light emitting diode) machines. Since the NASA studies in the 1990s, the therapeutic effect of LEDs has gained mainstream attention. NASA scientists determined that the exposure of human tissue to LEDs could stimulate collagen production and accelerate wound healing. The visible and invisible rays of LEDs have since, after years of investigation, proven to be safe and effective in treatments for acne, anti-aging and hyperpigmentation.

LED’s have been proven to safely and effectively penetrate the skin to stimulate a variety of responses.  The wavelength of the light influences the response.

Blue light therapy, a wavelength of 430nm, penetrates only to the sebaceous glands, producing singlet oxygen, a deadly bactericide that kills the P. acnes bacteria. It is effective in treating acne vulgaris, showing reductions in both comedones and inflammatory acne lesions. Remarkable results are noted for rosacea, also and for telangiectasia (broken capillaries).

Red and near infrared LEDs, with wavelengths of 660nm (red light) and 950 (near infrared), use photostimulation to trigger the fibroblasts to increase collagen and elastin in the dermis and bring rejuvenation to the skin. Light energy is converted into cell energy, using the cell’s own energy to produce this rejuvenation. Traditional, histological evaluations of skin biopsy specimens have demonstrated that anti-aging treatments with LEDs increased collagen deposition—the true basis for all of the anti-aging claims.

Further, post-treatment results show continued improvements for months. Additional benefits with red and near infrared LEDs include dramatic increases in microcirculation, reduction of erythema (redness) and increased lymphatic drainage.

source: led-facial.com/

 

My dirty little secret revealed!

I have a dirty little secret that I can’t wait to share with you! Are you tired of trying to be healthy and good all the time? Do you feel overwhelmed when you try to practice a healthy lifestyle? Are you feeling unsupported in your mission?

If you said yes, then know that there is one thing that you can do that will replace ALL your doubts and it’s about getting dirty! That’s right! YOU need “Dirt Time.” Let Mother Nature show you her wisdom, ease and grace. You will feel grounded, refreshed and will be able to see the world differently…from a place of truth, love and wisdom. So get excited because the moment has arrived for you to be transformed without feeling overwhelmed, burdened or addicted to sugar, caffeine, alcohol, facebook, tv and more!

You are cordially invited to a…
comeforthintothelight

 

::WELLNESS WARRIOR WEEKEND::
Spring Equinox
MARCH 20, 21 + 22
FRIDAY 6PM-SUNDAY 11AM
  • Join us, Kathy Daugherty and Liz Black in the Celestial Forest of Bhaktivana (close to Baldwin City, Kansas) to reconnect with your sacred center.
  • Learn the stellar secrets of Arrow Alchemy from StarMaiden, Liz Astara Black.
  • Create space to source your body appropriately with healthy organic food, fresh water, and plenty of “dirt time.” Vegan meals are prepared for you, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Transmute the past and create a new future for yourself, your body, and the planet.
  • Enjoy Yoga, meditation and writing time for reflection. Bring a journal to record your new wisdom.
  • Learn how cleansing your body from the inside out empowers your intentions.
  • Put the wisdom of the bow and arrow in your body and wake it up!
I will teach you a STELLAR meditation in transmuting negative karma the Warrior’s Way, with the Sacred Bow. Arrow Alchemy is the art of transformation by setting intentions and dissolving illusions. I will teach you how to shoot your sacred bow and make your mark!

We will cover the Seven Sacred Arrows of the Dark, Light + Rainbow. We are the Bow. The Quiver of Arrows is our resource circle of choice in self-expression. The Target is our dreams, desires and intentions. What arrows we shoot is determined by our attitude and approach to life.

Investment: $249 paid in full or
2 payments of $127 each

Space is limited so contact us today!
RSVP by March 15!!!

***THIS IS A WOMEN IN THE WOODS CAMP OUT!
WE WILL CAMP RAIN OR SHINE!  A HEATED CABIN IS AVAILABLE. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN CAMPING GEAR AND A FOOD CONTRIBUTION.  BOWS AND ARROWS ARE PROVIDED! PLAN TO REST, JOURNAL, MEDITATE, DO YOGA, ENJOY THE COMPANY OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN, AND EAT AMAZING VEGAN MEALS PREPARED FOR YOU! WHEN YOU CONFIRM YOUR SPOT WILL GIVE YOU DETAILED DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO GET THERE AND WHAT TO BRING. THIS IS YOUR TIME TO BE A STELLAR WELLNESS WARRIOR GODDESS!***

Your face is telling a story!

facemap 2

What goes on internally manifests on your skin. You’ve probably heard that many times before. Well, there’s a lot of truth to that. Did you know your skin tells a story; ancestry, life events, genetics and more? Centuries ago, Eastern cultures mapped and documented the intricate and deep relationship between the skin and the body’s organs and systems, noting that the skin displays clues as to what types of stresses or malfunctions may exist and persist internally.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind..

1. Reproductive System – consistent focus is the hormonal, or reproductive, system. Hormones are chemical messengers that have a potent effect on the body and are released into the bloodstream at fluctuating levels.

Skin Manifestations – High testosterone levels can cause or exacerbate acne lesions. This is especially true above, along, and under the jawline. Estrogen dominance often causes pigmentation in the upper lip, cheeks, and sometimes the lower forehead. Declining estrogen causes under-activity of the sebaceous glands, leading to dryness.

2. Digestive System – The digestive system performs the function of nutritional uptake and absorption, and waste elimination. When this process slows, a backup occurs, which can stress all of the digestive organs.

Skin Manifestations – Externally, we may notice bloating in the stomach or abdominal region. But less obvious are signs on the chin that may show up as inflamed lesions and abnormal capillary activity.

3. Excretory System – In this system, the kidneys, bladder, colon, veins, and skin do most of the work. They help remove bacteria, waste product, and toxic materials in an effort to protect the health and lives of our cells.
Skin Manifestations – Kidney stress may lead to hot, red, or pigmented upper ears. Bladder stress can deepen lines across the center of the forehead. And colon stress can contribute to cracked, pigmented, or dehydrated lips. The upper chin area can see an increase in comedones and irritation.
4. Nervous System – No system will suffer more from disharmony than our central nervous system. The vast array of nerve fibers, residing mostly along our spinal column, sends and receives signals to and from the brain. Many organs and glands are affected by stress, but the adrenals are often the first to respond.

Skin Manifestations – increased oil production over the brows and along the top bridge of the nose, with blotchy red patterns and heat on the lower neck and center of the decollete regions. Eczema is heightened around the base of the neck and may leave a long-term mask of hyper-pigmentation.

At some point, your body is going to change, affecting your skin’s health and you will want to take better care of it. You’re going to need information on how to manage your skin. If you’re like me, the last thing you want is another “miracle solution”. Take the time to understand why your skin acts in a certain way. Why am I getting acne at 36?” or “How do I take care of my dry skin?” Don’t just cover them up. Find solutions to treat them from the root cause. Understanding this has helped my skin tremendously and it is one of the reasons why I am a true believer in the holistic approach.

Source: Celia Wong  Press Feature on msn.com

Celebrity facials for the stay-at-home mom, working mom and the girl next door!

 

Here is an example of a celebrity facial that you can score at Pur Aesthetics! Our Triple Gem ($199 for 90 minutes) is very similar to Rachel’s Triple Crown facial ($250 for 60 minutes) with Joanna Vargas. We use the lastest microcurrent to sculpt the muscles in the face, hydradermabrasion to soften and exfoliate, Osmosis Facial Infusion to replenish + restore + revitalize, last but not least, LED light to stimulate collagen and elastin for the ultimate glow! Even BIG things can happen in small cities!

Source: Examiner.com

Rachel Weisz looked positively radiant at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards. That’s because she knows the importance of a good facial. She made an appointment with Celebrity Facialist Joanna Vargas before the show.

Turns out Rachel treated herself to a Triple Crown Facial ($250 for 60 minutes), which uses a mild electric current to drain puffiness, tone muscle, tighten skin and reshape the face. By the end of the first treatment, the jawline is more defined, the cheekbones are more pronounced and eyes look refreshed.

But perhaps the real reason the 42-year-old actress is able to look like she’s 30 is VitaLight. This treatment is performed over the span of six weeks, and at $150 for 30 minutes, it costs a pretty penny. VitaLight uses LED light therapy to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s-feet and age spot because it increases cell regeneration, up to five times faster than normal. Joanna boosted the effects of the treatment by adding two necessary steps: microdermabrasion and 98% pure oxygen, infused with a lifting serum to encourage healthy cell turnover.

 

Acne treatment inside-out

As of late, I have been restless because there are skincare issues that need to be dealt with from a holistic perspective…which is taking into consideration the WHOLE BODY, NOT JUST THE SKIN AND WHAT WE PUT ON IT. This is why I work with Dr. Maggie Hunsicker, at Rodrock Chiropractic. She can help you find the source of the problem. Many times it is what we put in our bodies, breathe into our bodies and how we react to stress. Dr. Maggie can test hormones, stress/cortisol/adrenal burnout and for food allergies. You may be asking yourself…why does that matter, why can’t I get a facial or buy a serum and call it good?I support you and your journey and that is why I was up late reading, researching and networking with other healers last night! I happened to find this amazing woman online when I was looking up dates for acupuncture classes this fall. She is a celebrated acupuncturist and has a clinic in Golden, CO.  Please read below to see how this woman treats ACNE and other skin disorders. She is RIGHT ON! You may be surprised by what you didn’t know.

EFFECTIVE AND LASTING TREATMENTS FOR ACNE

by 

Karen Kurtak L.Ac. Dipl. Ac.

Unlike conventional dermatology, which has only a few tools and typically uses the same treatments on everyone, Chinese Medicine, which uses herbs and acupuncture, provides a system of diagnosis to identify and treat the root of the problem specific to the individual patient.  For those who have ever wondered why some people get only small pimples on their chin while others get deep, painful lesions on their neck and jaw line and still others have large red lesions all over, Chinese Medicine provides an explanation.  There are at least five separate root causes of acne in Chinese Medicine.  Each one can combine with any of the others to create an elaborate web of imbalances that are complicated by hormone fluctuations, stress, improper diet, and poor lifestyle choices.  The limited repertoire of available treatments typically used in conventional dermatology is often only effective only as long as the medication is used. Potentially curative conventional treatments, like Accutane (which was originally used as a chemotherapy drug to kill brain cancer cells) can be quite toxic, don’t always work and can lead to severe side effects.  Using herbs, acupuncture and nutrition, Chinese Medicine treats the root cause of acne along with any other imbalances, so the body becomes healthier and more resilient.  With time, little or no further treatment is necessary.  Treatment is very individualized and requires a lot of effort and participation from the patient.  However, the rewards of clear skin and renewed health are worth it.

Acne is very treatable condition using a combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine, German Biologic Drainage Remedies, nutritional therapy and dietary changes. Despite the fact that acne manifests on the skin, it is a condition that originates within the body.  It is not a superficial problem at all.  In fact, over the years I have observed several similarities between the root causes of acne and many autoimmune disorders.  There is an undeniable relationship between digestive health and skin health but there are numerous factors that can conspire to cause acne.  Below are the fundamental causes of acne that I have identified over the past decade and have translated into modern medicine concepts.

Debunking the Inflammation Myth

If there is inflammation, there is something causing it.  It’s time to let go of the myth that the immune system creates inflammation for no reason.  It is not the result of a “misguided” or “weakened” immune system.  These are Santa-Claus-like explanations that have no basis in logic or science.  Diseases of inflammation, including most autoimmune disease, always have a root cause that triggers the immune system to act.  Suppressing inflammation with herbal or conventional medicine without treating the cause is like clipping the wires to the “Check Engine” Light on your car’s dashboard.

Lymphatic Stagnation

Have you ever wondered why acne lesions tend to occur again and again the in same area?  It’s not a coincidence or a phenomenon.  It’s simply a problem with clearance in the lymphatic circulatory system.

As children, we have all experienced the mysterious, clear fluid that oozes from a skinned knee or elbow.  This is lymph fluid.  It moves through its own circulatory system that is separate from the blood.  As our blood is filtered through our capillaries, red blood cells are retained.  Almost everything else in the blood moves into the lymphatic system where nutrients are delivered to cells, old debris and cellular waste products are broken down, and bacteria and viruses are battled.  This is the major site in the body for immune function.  If it becomes stagnant or overwhelmed, the immune system can’t function properly.  Unlike our circulatory system, the lymphatic system lacks a pump.  It only moves when we move.  Think about it.  Do you feel better and more rested if you lie around all day or if you exercise?  Letting the lymphatic system stagnate is like not changing the water in a vase of flowers.  In skin disorders immune activity in the lymphatic vessels causes them become stagnate or blocked.  If the body is unable to resolve this, the inflammation from the immune activity backs up into the tissues surrounding the lymph vessels.   Sometimes it is so severe that the lymph nodes at the end of that vessel are swollen.  Lymphatic stagnation provides one piece of the puzzle for the causes of acne but it is rarely the only factor.

Digestive Imbalances and Damage

The complexity of the digestive system is truly mind-boggling.  It contains its own nervous system, its own immune system, its own microbiome and an array of glands and organs.  It is the primary site for production and storage of neurotransmitters and is our first line of defense against a constant influx of bacteria, viruses and things that simply don’t belong in a human being.  Cumulatively it is referred to as the gut.  It allows the Earth to become our body.  If the gut isn’t happy and thriving then the body isn’t happy and thriving.

Most skin disorders, including acne, appear when there is a fairly significant breach of the gut’s immune system.  This can happen for two reasons.  First, the amount of inflammation generated by the immune system of the gut can begin to spill over into other systems that cannot eliminate it.  As a result, inflammatory chemicals overload the lymph system and deposit in the skin.  This is common in cases where hormonal fluctuations make acne worse.  When hormone levels rise they compete with our body’s detoxification pathways especially the liver.  Interestingly, “bad” bacteria in the gut can reverse the detoxification processes of the liver leading to an overload of the entire system.

Another common breach occurs in the immune system of the gut known as the gut associated lymphoid tissue or GALT.  The GALT is a part of a larger system that is interconnected through the lymphatic system called the mucosa associated lymphoid tissue (MALT).  It is responsible for protecting the body from the enormous amount of antigens that we are constantly being exposed to.  The GALT initiates immune responses and inflammation by anything that the body deems an invader.  Undesirable bacteria, yeast, viruses and many food proteins like lectins from lentils and gliadin from wheat can all act as immune targets that can eventually overwhelm the GALT. As this happens, the inflammatory chemicals and sometimes the antigens themselves begin to overflow or “leak” into other parts of the body.  Once there is an overload of inflammation, it often causes more and more inflammation and damage to create a vicious cycle.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

The basic theory of Leaky Gut Syndrome is that damage occurs to the tight junctions between the cells that line the small and/or large intestines.  Normally, these cells act as a filter so that only fully digested nutrients can fit through these junctions.  If the tight junctions sustain damage, they can leak fragments of undigested proteins into the blood and lymph where the immune system recognizes them as invaders and then launches an immune attack.  In most cases, the immune system attacks these proteins the same way it attacks bacteria.  As a result, symptoms can be similar to bacterial infection.  For years, this theory was discounted by conventional medicine as quackery.  However, in 2008 a gastroenterologist named Dr. Alessio Fasano was studying the undeniable connection between autoimmune disease and Celiac disease.  His research confirmed the existence of “Leaky Gut Syndrome” and demonstrated the penetration of incompletely digested protein fragments into the body’s tissues.

Previous studies dating back over three decades demonstrated that radiolabeled protein fragments from foods like wheat could escape from the gut lumen and be deposited throughout the tissues of the body and even penetrate into the brain.

From over a decade of experience in treating acne, I estimate that Leaky Gut Syndrome causes 60-70% of severe acne cases.  This is especially true for people who have tried Accutane with disappointing results.  Truly healing this condition is complicated and can require several months for complete resolution.  However, once the key causes are identified most skin symptoms begin to resolve within weeks.  The key factors for treating this condition include the following steps:  Identifying and eliminating the original cause of the leakiness, clearing the inflammatory chemicals, repairing the leakiness and clearing any proteins that are still causing immune reactions in the skin.

Hormone Imbalances

While acne sufferers often experience a worsening of symptoms with hormone fluctuations, this is rarely the root of the problem.  However, it can provide wonderful clues of underlying causes.  One common scenario is a backup of the detoxification pathways of the liver.  The liver is responsible for clearing all organic-based substances from the blood.  This includes gasoline fumes, medications, solvents, alcohol and even our own hormones.  If acne symptoms are worse when hormone levels change or rise, it is likely that the problem is coming from an overwhelmed liver.  Interestingly, fructose, the sugar predominant in fruits, has been shown to create inflammation in the liver.  As a result, there is an increase in levels of inflammation throughout the body.  Here is a link to a previous article in my “What Matters” blog discussing the effects of fructose on the liver.

Hormone Therapy and Birth Control Pills

One of the most common conventional treatments for acne is the use of birth control pills.  Although it does not address the underlying cause of the inflammation, in many cases this can be an incredibly effective treatment.  Acne therapies that include Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutrition can be safely integrated to produce excellent results for patients who prefer to remain on hormone therapies.

Latent and Chronic Low-Grade Infections Elsewhere in the Body

In a previous section I discussed the possibility of the digestive system’s immune ability to be become overwhelmed. As this happens, inflammatory chemicals or triggers can begin to “overflow” and become a burden for other parts of the immune system.  This scenario can also happen when there are low-grade infections present in other tissues like the bladder, prostate, uterus, or even gums.

Cigarette Smokers

A few years ago some compelling studies demonstrated that the same immune system cells that attack bacteria (neutrophils) also attack pollutants from air.  Frequent exposure to smoke or air pollution causes ongoing inflammation in the lungs and skin as well as the artery walls.  In my experience, it is very difficult to treat acne in individuals who smoke more than one or two cigarettes per day.  We all have addictions.  Some are simply more socially acceptable than others.  There is no shame in having fallen victim to nicotine addiction.  Overcoming any addiction can be one of the greatest achievements of one’s life.  I offer effective, compassionate treatment, resources and support for acne suffers who wish to overcome this frustrating addiction.

Dietary Considerations

Diet plays a crucial factor in the resolution of acne.  If you are used to the “Standard American Diet” with lots of sodas, fruit, processed food, excessive grains, acidifying vegetables then be ready for some big changes.  Until there is a replacement for this magic pill, successful treatment of acne requires stringent but healthy dietary changes.   The rewards are worth it!!  Many of the dietary recommendations for treating acne parallel longevity nutrition strategies.  Seeing first hand the profound changes that come about from a truly healthy, anti-inflammatory diet provides a lifelong tool for creating health and longevity.  If you are not willing to make serious changes with the foods that you put into your body, then this treatment strategy is not for you.

CHINESE HERBS

Traditional Chinese herbal formulas are one of the most powerful tools for treating acne.  Unlike modern herbology, which relies on conventional diagnosis, Chinese herbal formulas are based on a sophisticated and complex system of diagnosis that treats the interconnection of the body’s systems.  It is not uncommon for a Traditional Chinese herbal prescription to contain 12 or more herbs.  These are usually mixed into a concentrated powder and prepared as a tea.

Safety of Chinese Herbs 

Most Chinese herbs are imported from China, which raises concerns about contaminants. All practitioners of Traditional Chinese Herbology receive extensive training in obtaining contaminant-free, high potency herbs.  All herbs used in my clinic (and by most Chinese herbalists) are obtained from companies with extremely high quality control standards.  Every batch of herbs is screened for over 100 different chemical contaminants and heavy metals.

A significant part of the four years of required training also involves extensive study of side effects and herb-drug interactions.   Conventional physicians receive no training in this field so it is up to us to make use of the constant influx of published studies to ensure safe use of our apothecary.  The general philosophy is “just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it is safe”.  This extensive education has resulted in Chinese Herbal Presciptionology having very few reports of side effects nationwide.  When used appropriately, Chinese herbs are extremely safe and effective.

Additional Benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

One of greatest strengths of Chinese Medicine is its inherent understanding of the body as a whole.  It is very rare to have only one symptom or manifestation for any problem.  There are usually several signs and symptoms that are connected to the main complaint.  In many cases, the patient isn’t even aware of these symptoms or doesn’t realize that these symptoms are not normal. When someone undergoes treatment for one condition in Chinese Medicine, all the other problems that are connected to that main condition will also resolve.  The benefits often include:

  • Clearer thinking
  • Improved energy
  • Enhanced sense of well being
  • More even emotions
  • Resolution of digestive disturbances
  • Improved sleep
  • Resolution of gynecological problems

What To Expect

Some acne conditions resolve much faster than others.  For this reason, the number of treatment steps and follow up varies extensively.  Acne that appears mostly on the surface of the skin without extensive redness can resolve in as little as three weeks.  Cystic acne or acne that accompanies PCOS can require 6-12 weeks for significant improvement and up to six months for lasting results.  Acne that worsens around the menstrual cycle can take as little as two weeks or as long as a couple of cycles to see marked improvement.  Acne that results in dark scarring often takes 4-6 weeks to see marked improvement of both the acne and the scarring.  Of course these are only generalizations.  I have seen patients with severe cystic acne have 90% resolution in four weeks.  Within the first three weeks, most people experience a reduction of inflammation, swelling, new lesions and reduced oiliness.  As a general rule, the longer the condition has been present, the longer it takes to resolve.  This is especially true when the inflammation has caused extensive scarring or damage to the capillary beds.

Things you can start doing today to improve your acne

Quit all processed foods and all foods that contain sugar, fructose, glucose, etc.

Quit coffee and black tea and replace it with green tea and herbal tea

Avoid artificial sweeteners

Avoid foods that contain hydrogenated oils (read labels)

Avoid alcohol

EPA/DHA fish oil capsules (take at least 6/day) – flax oil doesn’t work as well

Top 4 Reasons to get a Facial

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Top 4 Reasons to get a Facial…

1. It’s an immediate GLOW!
2. Circulation is increased drastically to move nutrients and oxygen to feed the skin.
3. Your cells speed up it’s metabolism and renews itself 28-48 days after a facial. 
4. Removal of dead skin cells, debris, impurities and toxins will eliminate the “barnacles” from building up, you know those old lady bumps! (skin tags, pigmentation, sebaceous hyperplasia, milia, blackheads,etc.)

It’s not about pampering or being vain! It’s about taking care of yourself for preventive, corrective and long term care with maximum benefits. Pur Aesthetics is an Organic Skin Fitness + Wellness Retreat Suite! We specialize in organic skincare that is medically effective and organically safe for acne, aging, hyperpigmented, rosacea and oncology skin. I don’t consider it being a spa, although I want you to feel relaxed and rejuvenated, I am mostly concerned with seeing results! So here’s the Skinny….

If you scheduled a monthly skin fitness facial many of you would not contemplate visiting the plastic surgeon for drastic measures. Too many people wait till it’s too late! Don’t let that be you! If I could go back to my early 20’s when I lived in St. Thomas I would have never let myself absorb the UV’s like I did or see the dermatologist for acne treatments. I would have told myself, “Girl! This is all you got so listen up! Eat clean, fresh organic foods, juice daily and get a facial!”