Yin Tang, also known as Hall of Seal or Impressions, is an acupuncture point located between the inner edges of the eyebrows, also known as the 'third eye' area of the forehead in some cultures. Yin Tang is a frequently used acupuncture point for calming the spirit, treating insomnia, anxiety, and stress, easing frontal headaches, and sinus issues like congestion.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we look to this point for clues to clinical implications. Certain colors and textures give a unique window into the state of the Heart Qi or Heart Yang Qi in TCM perspective.
In cosmetic acupuncture applications, tiny needles inserted here and at a another set of points known as Bladder Two to help prevent or treat your 'elevens', the lines you develop between your eyes from repeated facial expressions and the loss of elasticity with aging. With most patients, these lines will begin to lessen with one acupuncture session, and significantly so with ongoing treatment.
One reason this point also works on the lines we tend to develop here is that acupuncture is so good at relieving stress, one of the main promoters of developing the creases in the first place. We're often completely unaware we're making the expression that creates this wrinkle. Hereditary factors can contribute, along with sun damage and smoking. They can also come from other facial expressions, like laughing, but we wouldn't give that up. I also find those in the business of listening (psychologist, etc), often scrunch their eyebrows together in concentration mode.
Acupuncture is a great way to re-invigorate the skin and the mind, and Yin Tang is just one of many points that serve more than one purpose in looking and feeling your best.
Patients often report feeling calm or having a sense of clarity when this point is needled, and it has been referred to as the 'valium point' for its ability to put the mind at ease.
Read on for a few tips on how to prevent your 'elevens' in the first place!
An ounce of prevention...
One. Wear sunglasses (polarized) when in the sun! Prevent squinting/scowling from sun glare to eliminate this as a cause. I purposely choose sunglasses with wider 'arms' on the side so I'm not inclined to squint in bright sun. Wear a wide brim hat if there is a lot of glare.
Two. Awareness. It's so hard to know when we're making this expression, we can't feel it when it's an ingrained habit. A DIY trick is to take a small piece of tape and place it over the area - I choose to do this at home as opposed to public, but you could try it at your desk if work is your big source of stress, causing you to scowl. What happens is you feel the tape crinkle when you make this face. Awareness of when you're making the expression is a good step in lessoning the habit.
Three. Stress reduction. If you make the expression creating your elevens as a response to stress, acupuncture, breath work, yoga, meditation, prayer, and just taking a moment for yourself can help create calm. Yoga is known for helping you reframe your responses to triggers to stress - if you can hold a pose for a few minutes, before you know it, you can stay calm in traffic. Acupuncture works by relieving overall stress responses as well, with long lasting effects. There are also well known herbal formulas for relieving stress and its effects, depending on the affected system in Chinese medicine terms.
Four. Good skincare, good lifestyle habits. Wearing SPF will help overall with less formation of wrinkles. Cleansing your skin at night and following with a good moisturizer. A gentle exfoliation on a regular basis will prevent build-up and lessen the appearance of fine lines, while increasing circulation. Eat foods that support your skin and its integrity, especially foods of many colors, like red, green, and orange. What we internalize shows up in our skin, so make sure you're taking good care both inside and out. I'm also happy to customize an easy skincare routine for your your skin type and challenges if you're not sure about a regimen.
Five. Sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to a lessened ability to cope with day to day stressors, and this usually shows in your skin and even your 'shen' in your eyes (see the blog post on 'Thomas' for an example of revived shen in the eyes). You find yourself less likely to exercise and eat right. Create good sleep hygiene habits and do what it takes to get at least 8 hours of quality sleep. If you're in bed but still not sleeping, find out how acupuncture and herbs can help.
Six. Exercise. Even face yoga has been shown to improve the appearance of the complexion and lessen lines and wrinkles. So take a walk, and get the blood flow and oxygenation going. If you're at your desk, check out a video on YouTube for face exercises that you can do throughout the day. When people ask which ones, I usually recommend the ones that you know you will actually do consistently. So find one you enjoy.
Seven. Combine body mind efforts for wellbeing. The lovely thing about acupuncture for facial benefits is the entire body will feel the effects. A couple of wrinkles are not treated in a vacuum, we work with the entire constitution to encourage healing. So if your elevens are your biggest complaint, your treatment might be acupuncture locally for the lines, and herbs and treatment for stress or insomnia, and a little qigong exercise to reduce stress as well. See previous comments on yoga or meditation as well.
Eight. Massage. Just like exercising the face, gentle massage will work wonders. You can receive a gentle facial gua sha treatment with rose quartz, or come learn how to do this for yourself ongoing. Facial cupping is another treatment offered to increase blood flow and prevent wrinkles. You can also gently massage the points yourself, including Yin Tang.
Nine. There are other more invasive or upping the ante options everyone is curious about. Retinols are probably one of the best topicals for reducing wrinkles. Always use with SPF. Some laser treatments will lessen lines, as will fillers and botox. BUT, what I'm offering is a natural alternative to these options. Even with botox, you will freeze the muscle making this expression, but that energy has to go somewhere, it can just transitions to another area of your face. And if you gained no new tools for lessening the effects of stress or sun, it will continue to show up in other ways, like your digestion or overall wellbeing. You'll always be chasing the next fix instead of treating the root cause.
By exploring acupuncture and all it offers first, you will find that you can reverse many signs of aging while still looking like your best self. A consultation is recommended to see if it's for you. In the meantime, massage your Yin Tang for a few minutes and enjoy the clarity!