Getting Cosmetic Acupuncture for the First Time… Did it Hurt?

You may be familiar with the ancient practice of acupuncture and all of the goodness it has to offer, but have you heard of or experienced Cosmetic Acupuncture? As the holistic alternative to BOTOX, I jumped at the chance to try it when Modern Acupuncture opened its doors and invited me in.

Modern Acupuncture Reception Area

Modern Acupuncture’s newest location is conveniently located in the hip Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco. Street parking is limited, but there is an Impark Garage right around the corner. For my first visit, I was lucky enough to snag a parking spot right in front of Modern Acupuncture and head straight into its reception area. This area is open and full of light. It offers a place to sit down and relax, a restroom, and complimentary water and tea.

First things first, I checked in at the desk with the Zen Advisor. Since this was my first time visiting Modern Acupuncture, and TBH my first time ever receiving acupuncture, I was directed to one of the computers at the bar height desk to my right. Here I put on some headphones, signed in, and watched a brief video explaining what Modern Acupuncture is all about and exactly what to expect during and after my session. I loved the transparency and the ease of knowing what would happen upon entering the Zen Den.

Modern Acupuncture Sign In Desk

Once forms were filled out and the video was complete, my Zen Advisor parted two large, carved wooden doors and escorted me into the Zen Den. This is an area of pure relaxation. There were white noise machines and ambient music playing, as well as soothing images playing on large flat-screen TVs suspended from the ceiling. After sitting in my assigned chair I took a moment to soak in my surroundings, it was wonderful. For my convenience, there was a basket to my right to store my shoes, socks, bag, and glasses in during my treatment.

A few moments later, my Acupuncturist greeted me and immediately put me at ease. While the Zen Den provides a calm environment, I was still nervous about my first time being poked with tons of tiny needles. We discussed the treatment I was receiving and any areas of concern that I’d like to address. He also showed me that the recliner I was lounging in was zero gravity, could be heated and had a soothing massage setting. We set the chair to my liking and moved on with the treatment.

Modern Acupuncture Zen Den Doors

I’ve been having a lot of tension in my shoulders lately causing tension headaches, so along with my Cosmetic Acupuncture, my Acupuncturist treated these issues as well. Receiving a regular acupuncture treatment along with Cosmetic Acupuncture is standard and expected. If someone tries to give you Cosmetic Acupuncture without body acupuncture, run and come here.

After placing just a few needles in my face and around my wrists, my acupuncturist asked me to roll my shoulders a few times to see how they felt. I was skeptical that the needles would have any effect so quickly, but to my surprise, my shoulders felt relaxed and instead of feeling a whole mess of crunchiness when I rolled them, they rolled smoothly. I was shocked and my Acupuncturist was excited to hear I was feeling better already.

Modern Acupuncture Zen Den Entrance

Since I had just had a severe headache a few days before my session, I agreed to only placing about half as many needles in my face as would normally be placed during a full Cosmetic Acupuncture session. Once the needles were in place, I was left to relax for around 20 minutes. I closed my eyes and nearly fell asleep. When my session was complete, my Acupuncturist returned to remove the needles. He was thrilled to hear I was feeling better and to hear that I was feeling so relaxed.

Once the needles were removed, he provided me with my Cosmetic Acupuncture plan. He explained that phase 1 of my treatment would be the Regenerate Phase. This phase restores the body and stimulates collagen production in your face. For this, he recommended treatments every 3 days for 12 treatments. This is a large time commitment, but I’m going to try my best to stick to it. After this, I’ll enter the Radiate Phase keeping me balanced and glowing. As I continue with my treatments I should see a transformation in my skin. Regular treatments are promised to improve my overall complexion and diminish fine lines and wrinkles.

Modern Acupuncture 2nd Session

One week after my first session, right before my second session!

It’s been one week since my first session, and I’ve had no headaches since visiting Modern Acupuncture. Normally, I get at least one severe tension headache a week. So far, so good. I can’t wait to see how my skin looks after completing my first phase of treatments. Stay tuned, because I will be sharing my experiences with you as my treatments progress.

Now, to address what you’re most likely here for… did it hurt?

Upon the insertion of some needles, I did feel a little pinprick, this was more pronounced in sensitive areas around my lips and above my eyebrows. Any discomfort melted away in seconds and was replaced by a pleasant feeling of warmth. After the needles were inserted, I didn’t feel them at all. After they were removed, I felt a tingling sensation. Considering I have a history of a paralyzing fear of needles, which with self-care and exposure I’ve clearly overcome, being able to not only complete this treatment but enjoy it too is pretty remarkable.


Modern Acupuncture will assuage any trepidations towards acupuncture that you may have, it’s welcoming, comfortable, and relaxing. Give it a try for yourself, and let me know how your experience goes in the comments below. Modern Acupuncture’s Cow Hollow location is currently running a limited time promotion, by claiming the offer on their site you’ll receive your first session free. Take advantage of this incredible offer ASAP, and as they say, let’s tingle!

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