Since I can never get enough CEU's, this past weekend I attended the Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture for the Face and I wanted to share a breakdown of the 2-day seminar.
The System: As I had to sign a releases that I cannot talk about specifics of treatment, I will leave the description general. As in other systems, Mei Zen includes a total body acupuncture treatment, uses the eight extraordinary point combinations, and is affiliated with a product line. What makes this system unique is that the same facial protocol is used on every patient and that it makes use of crossing and apex groups as described in the Huang Di Nei Jing. While I cannot disclose the points, I can tell you there are nearly 85 specialty needles in the face, all of which are inserted without a guide tube.
After watching the demo, I was surprised at the lack of "facial" as I typically incorporate masks and massage in my treatments, but the instructor states that is the practitioner's preference how much of this they want to incorporate in addition to the protocol. A wealth of nutritional, herbal, and marketing materials are provided which would be useful even if you did not want to practice cosmetic acupuncture.
Aside from cosmetic acupuncture, Mei Zen is about branding. At the seminar, T-shirts, hats, logo CDs, and cards were for sale, and Martha sponsors a Google group so the Mei Zen community has an open discussion forum. In order to be "certified" and listed on the main website, you must present cases and have your needling technique observed at a special certification seminar. This ensures standards of practice and is a good device for building further branding and loyalty. Above everything else, this is a well conceived business plan!
The Instructor: Martha Lucas is all knowledge and no fluff - her matter-of-fact method really gibes with my learning style. She had a strong foundation in her particular style of acupuncture and is an enthusiastic, articulate presenter. Her supervised practice was invaluable, she was open to knowledge offered by seminar participants, and she was humble enough to only answer questions she knew the answer to. She kept good control over the seminar in terms of ensuring everyone stayed on task, was able to give detailed, individualized feedback of needling technique, and demonstrated great respect and deference to her own teachers.
My only criticism is that she did make some disparaging and somewhat uninformed comments about "rival" facial acupuncture instructors and their techniques. I have never taken Virgina Doran's seminar, but I did participate in Mary Elizabeth Wakefield's and there are many similarities between the two systems. That being said, I am would love to attend her Pulse Seminar and Mei Zen system for weight loss, infertility and health issues should they ever be located nearby.
The Product: Lili Flora is the affiliated skin care line that uses all natural western herbal ingredients. I was able to pick the founder's brain about the products, but I would have liked for her to have had some presentation time during the seminar. There was no sales pressure to buy these products and in fact, if you are at all crafty and like to experiment, it would be easy to make most of them in your kitchen. I have been using some of the products at home and feel they are of good quality and smell wonderful.
I am glad I attended this seminar if only for the great nutritional/herbal information and marketing ideas presented. I think Mei Zen is a solid system, and while the apex and crossing points are a good theory, but honestly, threading works and is no more uncomfortable that the Mei Zen way if performed properly. Ultimately, it is my patients who decide what method they prefer. I hope to continue to study with Martha in the future as she is a dynamic, innovative, and practical instructor who provides good value and knowledge for your CEU dollar.