I’m pretty shallow, but as a nutrition consultant, I would rather skip injecting toxin on my face if I could help it.


I researched and found Cosmetic Acupuncture to be the most natural alternative to Botox, I was skeptical if it actually worked—if it did, why aren’t more people doing it? But I was desperate to undo the signs of aging on my face so I searched for the authority in facial acupuncture in Manila, and found out it’s actually Centro Holistico, the go-to medical wellness center my friend, model and TV personality, Patti Grandidge-Herrera swears by.


I’m not big on celebrities, but I trust Patti because she’s authentic (and honest (#goals) so I bugged her to refer me and thats how I got my first appointment with Dr. Candy Drilon-Dalman, Medical Director and Co-founder of Centro Holistico.

Dr. Candy Drilon-Dalman performing acupuncture


If the people I trust already go here, that’s all the assurance I need that whatever I’m going to do is going to work.

Facial Acupuncture: How does it work?

Aging in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is caused by a lowering of the Chi, which prevents optimal blood flow to the face.

In facial acupuncture, very thin needles are used to target specific meridians, (called Ashi points) to regulate blood flow, stimulate collagen production and direct more nutrients to the face.

Dr. Candy recommends around 10 sessions of cosmetic acupuncture to really see a difference but in just three, I saw that my fine lines were already less noticeable, but the puffiness around my eyes likewise disappeared (no need for derma fillers), and my skin is now more moist.

I was mentally computing the cost of doing facial acupuncture regularly and felt myself squinting and pouting when I realized it was going to be much more expensive than Botox. If I have to frequent the clinic 1-2 times a week, versus just every six months with Botox, is it really worth it?

Thankfully, Dr Candy explained that the 1-2 x a week visits is just in the beginning and that after 10 sessions or less, you can reduce treatments to twice a month or even just once a month.


Still, thats more demanding than just freezing my face with none-lethal poison, (the price of beauty) but if you factor in that Facial Acupuncture also addresses other imbalances in the body—in my case it was leaky gut and imbalanced hormones, then it becomes a holistic treatment thats definitely worth the trip.


“Cosmetic acupuncture is best for preventive-maintenance because aside from the beauty benefit, it is a holistic treatment. It will help with your general well-being especially with stress management, sleep disorders, bloating, weight-management among others,” explained Dr. Drilon-Dalman.


Acupuncture in general is an essential aspect of TCM which is used as a complimentary therapy to just about anything. It is a go-to treatment for pain management, does wonders for fertility as well as IVF support, is known to curb addiction, be it smoking or food cravings, and can even regulate blood pressure as well as balance sugar levels.

On my eight session, I whined that my period was eight days late, and it was definitely annoying as I was breaking out, bloating and cranky as hell for no reason. It was like some pre-PMS syndrome. Dr. Candy said she would address the issue with my cosmetic acupuncture procedure, and just an hour after, I got my period. I was so happy I posted my experience all over my Instagram stories much to the horror of my titas because, apparently, it’s embarrassing to talk about menstruation in public.


As with Functional Medicine, every Acupuncture session is specialised. We can have the same symptoms but the causes can be different, so the approach also varies. Aside from symptom-evaluation, a tongue diagnosis is also conducted, (another TCM practice) which helps determine diagnosis.

Acupuncture can work stand-alone but if we don’t look into bettering our diet and lifestyle, any benefit will be short-lived. We just experienced one of the hottest summers in history and this really took a toll on me and it showed through breakouts and fine lines (environmental factors). So I had to do another set of sessions with cosmetic acupuncture to undo the dehydration and inflammation that I suffered during El Nino, on top of making sure I drank more mineralised water and kept cool of course.


Facial Acupuncture is best to soften signs of aging between ages 30-40 and can complement other cosmetic treatments as well. I asked Dr. Candy if she believed in defying aging and she heartily disagreed. Getting older is inevitable. The best we can hope for is to mature kindly—and now, you have one new way of making this a reality.

Photography by Ronan Capili. Centro Holistico is located at 2/F Commercenter Alabang and 2/F The Grove by Rockwell. For more information, log on to centroholisticoph.com

Weizel Gulfan (www.weizelgulfan.com) is a Lifestyle Nutrition Coach that specializes in Beauty Detox and holistic weight loss. She is a macrobiotic chef, plant-based nutritionist and has recently completed her raw food certification training. Follow her recipes and wellness advice on Instagram @weizelgulfan