The results were unexpected.

By Daley Quinn
Photo courtesy of Daley Quinn

Had you asked me 10 years ago if I would let someone else stick tiny needles into my body “for better health,” I’d laugh in your face and then probably pop an aspirin, anti-acid, or whatever else was keeping me going that day. I think my reliance on medication came from my Texan mother, whose own mother never allowed her six children to take drugs for their discomfort or pain. My mom never wanted me to suffer through a headache like she had to as a child, so I grew up with bathroom cabinets full of pills for every ailment.

It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I quit dairy for clearer skin, that I started looking more into the “holistic health” world. Up until that point, my various dermatologists had prescribed everything except Accutane for my cystic acne, and I reached a point where I just didn’t want to be on medications everyday. I read an article in Marie Claire magazine about an editor going cold turkey on all things milk, and I decided to try it out as a last resort in fighting acne naturally. It worked, and I’ve been open and willing to try more natural remedies ever since.

When I was offered an opportunity to try acupuncture with Dr. Shari Auth at Modrn Sanctuary in NYC, I couldn’t wait to continue my journey down the path of holistic health. I went into my session hoping that the acupuncture could help clear up my skin a bit more, but left with something even better.

Upon entering Dr. Auth’s beautiful, spacious NoMad office, we sat down at her crystal-filled desk and discussed why I wanted to try acupuncture and what I should expect after the first session. I told her about my long-time struggle with hormonal acne since middle school, and hoped that this session would help clear my skin. “Since acne is often related to hormonal levels, and acupuncture is frequently used to balance hormone levels, it can be a healing treatment option for acne and breakouts,” said Dr. Auth. Unfortunately, though, she told me that in order for my hormone levels to be balanced through this practice, I’d have to incorporate it into my lifestyle regularly, and that it wouldn’t just clear my skin magically after the first appointment.

Photo courtesy of Daley Quinn

With regular treatment, acupuncture can not only assist in clearing breakouts, but it also has a few other skincare benefits, too. “Acupuncture can prevent aging by increasing circulation, which boosts collagen and elastin levels,” explained Dr. Auth. “Collagen plumps skin to reduce wrinkles and elastin tightens skin to minimize sagging.”

Since I only had one session with Dr. Auth, I wasn’t able to see the benefits of what acupuncture could do for my skin. I did, however, see its benefits for my stress levels immediately afterwards. Dr. Auth describes acupuncture as “a medical appointment that feels more like a spa appointment, one that is so relaxing that some clients fall asleep on the table.”

I did end up falling asleep on the table while face down, which was basically a miracle because I can’t sleep anywhere other than my own bed. I was wide awake ten minutes later when face up, mainly because of a needle that was placed on the right side of my chest (around my lung), which became a bit painful and uncomfortable during the second half of my session. I told Dr. Auth about the pain in that area, and she immediately knew that it was from high stress levels, and informed me that according to Chinese medicine, that part of the body is associated with stress.

After my session, my stress levels were essentially in the negative, and I felt a strange sensation of floating or being high. I was so relaxed, in fact, that I almost fell down the stairs on my way to the subway. Dr. Auth told me that this wasn’t normal, and that perhaps I was very hungry, but I’m convinced that it was the acupuncture that had me trippin’ (literally).

Since this ancient Chinese treatment has become more accessible and affordable, I’m definitely interested in going back for my second session (for clearer skin, but mainly for that incredible acupuncture high). As Dr. Auth says, “the great thing about an acupuncture ‘high’ is that there is no ‘low’ that follows it.” Plus, no pills needed, either.