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Face to Face With Michelle Smith, Image Acupuncture & Skin Care, Denver

By: Elizabeth Ulrich
Posted: June 9, 2008

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For Smith’s clients, that credo can be a refreshing one. According to her, the overwhelming number of product options available at mass-market venues often are not tailored to women’s distinct needs. In Smith’s facial treatments, Chinese herbs are combined with various essential oils to create custom blends and formulas. This is Chinese medicine at work. When clients come to her with complaints about blemishes, she delves to the root of the problem by figuring out whether the condition is due to hormones or stress. Based on this information, Smith creates a course of treatments unique to that individual’s needs. “Everything is completely tailored every time,” she says. “I don’t use one line of products for all my clients. It’s absolutely necessary to consider the whole person: mind, body and spirit.”

Smith has aspirations to take that philosophy on the road one day, sharing her blend of Chinese medicine and skin care with practitioners worldwide. She hopes to follow in the footsteps of Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, a woman who changed Smith’s life when she trained her in Berkeley, California, in constitutional facial acupuncture—a technique that consists of renewing the mind, body and spirit. Nationally, Smith says that there are very few schools that offer extra training in acupuncture—especially that which goes beyond traditional needle therapy. She hopes to let fellow practitioners in on her secrets someday. “It’s not just the needles,” Smith says. “It’s not just the skin care. It’s the combination of both that is crucial.”

Although her acupuncture approach is nothing new, she maintains that the harmony she has struck between needles and skin care is unique. As a teen whose skin troubles led to questions about self-image, and now as a woman facing the changes that trickle across her face in her 40s, Smith keeps one purpose close to her heart: helping women to feel better about themselves. “Self-esteem is a huge issue when your skin doesn’t look good,” she says. “Whether it’s blemishes or wrinkles, I want to make a difference.”