If you are looking for a anti-aging facial treatment, but want a more natural alternative than Botox or fillers, then the “Small Face” treatment at Mima Medical Esthe might be just what you are looking for.
A fusion of east and west, this treatment uses oriental acupuncture to create the much coveted western aesthetic of a small face (kogao), and Mima’s loyal clientele love the immediate results.
So what is small face?
So, before we go any further, let’s get to the bottom of what “small face” actually is. Small face means a narrow oval face, that tapers down to a v-shape jaw line. This is a much desired face shape for woman in Japan, as both women and men believe that it looks infinitely more delicate, pretty and feminine than a wide, round face.
The desire to slim the face is so common among Japanese women, that if you visit any Tokyo Hands or Loft store in Tokyo you will see a number of face rollers, shaping masks and other weird gadgets all claiming to reshape the face to a smaller, more delicate size.
Of course, there are also many Tokyo beauty salons that offer treatments to slim the face, but as a foreigner I never really though of trying these myself. The promise of simply slimming the face isn’t something that appeals to me, but if there is a possibility of natural anti-aging, now that’s a different story…
Trying the small face treatment at Mima Medical Esthe.
I’m not going to lie. When I arrive at Mima Medial Esthe, in the business district of Akasaka, I’ feeling a little anxious.
I have never tried acupuncture before, and I am starting to question my decision to try it for the first time on my face. Somewhat nervously, I enter the small reception area and I am greeted warmly by the staff who are waiting for me (I am the first client of the day). My therapist speaks English very well , and tells me a little about herself, including her certified qualifications and that she has over seven years experience in practicing acupuncture, both in Japan and overseas.
I complete a short registration questionnaire, before being shown through to one of the three simple treatment rooms. I lay down on the bed for a consultation, where we identify my skin issues, and discuss the results I would like to see from the treatment. Feeling a little more relaxed, the treatment starts with a strong massage over the neck, shoulders and head, identifying any areas of concern. After finding a few large, painful knots in my neck a few acupuncture needles are placed to help relieve the tension. I barely have time to register what the therapist was telling me, and the first needles are applied, with no pain! As this is my first experience with acupuncture, this was one of my biggest concerns. So many people I had spoken to had told me that acupuncture does not hurt, but for some reason I couldn’t quite believe them until I experienced it for myself.
The painful part- jaw adjustment.
With my fear of the acupuncture needle now out-of-the-way, it’s time to start the facial treatment with a jaw adjustment, to realign to its correct position. My therapist explains that it is extremely common for the muscles in our face and jaw to hold a lot of tension, resulting in our jaws being misaligned, therefore affecting the shape of our jaw and face.
My head is turned slightly to the left and my therapist presses down, with that feels like most of her strength, onto the corner of my jaw. I’m not going to sugar coat it, this was painful. Luckily, it’s over very quickly! Immediately after finishing the jaw adjustment on one side, I am asked to place the palm of my had over my jaw and cheekbone, and compare to the other (unadjusted side). The difference is astonishing, the adjusted side feels a good inch or two higher. I am totally shocked, and now can’t wait to have the other side adjusted too. The bad news is it hurt just as much on the other side, but this time I know what to expect.
Now it’s time to start the main event, the facial acupuncture.
Needles are placed at strategic places around my face, to improve my areas of concern which were wrinkles and lifting up the face (particularly around the nose and jaw). This does not hurt at all. If anything there is a slight sting, and some positions are more stingy than others (for example around the nose and eyes). Funnily enough, the acupuncture needles that are placed in my hair-line are the most noticeable, but even these I couldn’t say hurt.
After a few minutes the acupuncture needles are removed, and I am given a relaxing neck and shoulder massage to relieve any anxiety. My therapist hands me a mirror, so that I can see for myself the results of the treatment. I have to agree that they are definitely noticeable. My jaw line appears much firmer and higher, as do my cheeks which appear much fuller and more youthful. It doesn’t look extreme, and I’m not sure anyone will notice the difference but me, but I can personally see a big difference.
Wrinkles in my forehead however, appear a little harder to tackle. There doesn’t appear to be much improvement in that area from the acupuncture, my therapist explains that with more treatments the results will improve. Honestly, I am so impressed by the improvement in the “lift up” of my face that I am quickly scanning my calendar to schedule my next appointment.
It seems like I am not the only one impressed by the results of Mima’s treatments. Appointment times are hard to come by, with the next available appointment at Mima is in three weeks (it is recommended that treatments are two weeks apart). Make sure you book ahead!
Mima Medial Esthe- Small Face Facial Acupuncture Treatment
Small Face Trial (20 minutes) ¥5,000
Short Course (40 minutes) ¥12,420
Alaska Five Building 3F
5-5-8 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Closest station: Tokyo Metro. Akasaka (exit 7), Chiyoda Line.
Ph: 03 5544 8016