Just recently, I came across a social media post by a day spa that shared this link:
Botox tested to help treat depression and social anxiety
The gist of the day spa’s post was that they didn’t want you to suffer. Because botox “helps” with depression. And they want you to be happy and healthy. So make your appointment today!
(Yes, I’m paraphrasing their post because I’d rather not incite a flame war by someone Googling their direct quote. My intention here is not to besmirch this day spa. I don’t roll like that. My intention is to simply stand in honor and integrity for the highest good of the women I serve. The intention is of this post is educate my tribe.)
To be frank, I’m skeptical about their post. And here’s why.
This is a quote from the article:
“We don’t believe it has anything to do with looks,” says researcher Dr. Eric Finzi of Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center.
Rather, he says it’s because facial expressions are part of the circuit of the brain related to mood.
“Fear, anger and sadness — all go through this muscle,” Finzi told CBS News, pointing out the area between the eyebrows where frown lines appear. “So Botox basically inhibits the muscle and calms it down, so it becomes more difficult to feel those negative emotions.”
What wasn’t said in this article is that Botox can also inhibit muscles associated with positive emotions. Or simply dampen one’s emotional experience in general. And there’s plenty of articles out there that can be found on that. These are just a few:
This is why I don’t recommend Botox. We still don’t fully know the ramifications of it’s use. We don’t know exactly how much it negatively affects our communication, and thus, our relationships. Is that something you want to put at risk?
During a public speaking training I attended recently, I was chatting with a well-known international speaker and community building expert out of the San Francisco Bay area. This beautiful woman told me a story about how she lost a friendship because her friend, who kept getting more and more Botox, couldn’t seem to relate, communicate, or empathize with her. This is a prime example of why I tell my patients “Friends don’t let friends do Botox.”
Botox “helps” with depression by dampening how much you feel it. To quote Pink Floyd, you become comfortably numb. It doesn’t treat the root cause. It doesn’t change the circumstances in your life that got you feeling depressed. It doesn’t address an imbalanced diet that may be causing deficiencies in certain brain chemicals that help you feel good. And it doesn’t stimulate production of any of those feel good chemicals either.
Botox is a toxin. It’s not healthy. It’s the opposite of healthy – it’s a poison. And, is true happiness being numbed out to your own negative emotions? Or is happiness part of the ability to engage in the whole spectrum of your emotional being – actually feeling the entirety of your emotions?
So, is it somewhat disingenuous for a business to say come get Botox from us because we want you to be healthy and happy? Perhaps. But, looking from a modern medicine standpoint, if you don’t feel depression, then it can only mean you’re left with happiness. That’s reductionistic, linear, and logical reasoning. And that’s the framework of thought for many modern allopathic medicine paradigms.
Now, I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention that Cosmetic Facial Acupuncture can help someone look younger and also support them in improving their general health and overall happiness. And that’s because it’s holistic medicine – treating the whole person, taking into account physical, mental and emotional factors, not just the symptoms of a problem.
With Cosmetic Acupuncture, we make sure to look at the root of the issue as well as the symptoms. So, if someone were to come into my office for a treatment, and they remarked they felt depressed, first off, I’d be referring them to a Mental Health Care professional. That way, they’d have an expert resource in their corner to help them process and address their feelings, thought processes, and life circumstances that lead to the depression. Cosmetic Acupuncture isn’t effective in that regard. That’s not where this medicine’s strength lies.
That being said, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, feelings of depression often stem from a stagnation of Qi flow. Qi being the energy that makes us animated, living, human beings. Acupuncture helps rebalance and improve circulation of Qi. Thus, Acupuncture can support someone as they move through and out of their depression. But let’s be clear, it’s not the primary modality to serve someone who is depressed, nor is it a singular cure for depression.
And on the modern medicine side of things, Acupuncture has been shown to help a body stimulate production and uptake of lovely chemicals like endorphins and ocytocin that reduce pain and produce good feelings.
Additionally, Traditional Chinese Medicine Dietetics (also known as using your food as your daily medicine) can be useful in helping someone create a balanced, nourishing, healthy diet, so that their body can have all the raw materials needed to produce all those beautiful, feel-good brain chemicals.
So, give the Botox a try if you must. But, if we’re talking about which modality will assist you in getting “healthy and happy” while still helping you look young, vibrant, and vital, you may want to give Cosmetic Facial Acupuncture a try. If you’re struggling with Depression, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can give you some support, but you’ll want to connect with your trained local Mental Health Care professional.