The Science Behind It
Not all acupuncturists are trained to perform natural facelifts.
Turin, who received her education abroad, is one of the few in
Chicago to be trained in the technique. And while the results can be
astounding, the real beauty behind this new breed of cosmetic
therapy is that it doesn’t just zap wrinkles or tighten sags.
Traditional Chinese medicine holds that all organs are connected by
meridians that evenly distribute blood and energy through our
bodies. Healing occurs by restoring overall balance where there was
once stasis, or inactivity of the life process. It’s said that the
needles activate the flow of blood and energy into the many vessels
and nerves on the face. This creates a circulatory passageway on the
skin’s surface to smooth wrinkles, improve metabolism and provide
nutrition to the muscles.
If you go to Turin for an acupuncture facelift, however, it’s
likely she won’t talk much about your fixing droopy jowls.
“It’s impossible to treat just the face, because it’s just a
symptom, a mirror to what’s going on in the body. You have to work
on the basics,” Turin said. “I’m not against it, but my belief
is plastic surgery is visible. They will pull up the skin, but if
you don’t have normal blood circulation, your face will look dull.
Plastic surgery can never improve your facial appearance, give it a
nice pinkish color. You’ll look lifted and that’s it.”
Many who contemplate plastic surgery are rightfully concerned about
the pain of submitting to a major medical procedure. Schneider, who
had weekly treatments (at $150 each) for about three months, speaks
fondly of her experience with Turin. “That hour felt so
luxurious,” Schneider said. “It was always such a treat because
I really felt like I was taking care of myself. [Turin] talked to me
about menopause and my diet, she did massage with crushed pearls and
she gave me herbs.”
“You’ll start noticing a change after two or three
(treatments),” Turin said. For lasting results she suggests
between 10 to 12 treatments. “After that, it depends. Most of my
patients have maintenance treatments every half-year to every few
The Path Eastward
It’s not just her patients who have undergone a transformation in
the name of acupuncture. Turin and her husband moved to America from
their native Russia in 1997, with two young sons in tow, not in a
calculated career move, but for love. Turin, 50, met her future
husband in 1984, during her final year of medical school at the
world-renowned IM Sechenov Medical Academy. He was a foreign-service
student who hoped to be a diplomat. The rub was that Turin,
originally from the Ukraine, is Jewish and her husband is not. As
citizens of a country cloaked under a veil of anti-Semitism, she
said, no one wanted to let them forget it.
“I didn’t want to marry him because he’s a brilliant man and I
knew what it meant for his future,” Turin said. When he told his
colleagues whom he was marrying, things became more difficult.
“For him to marry a Jewish girl meant my husband’s career came
to a standstill. Russia became a dead-end for us.”
Switching careers wasn’t an option for her husband. “It’s not
like in this country,” Turin said. In Russia, “If you go to
school for one thing, you have no choice but to do it.” So they
packed up and moved to the only place Turin’s husband could find
diplomatic work — the sparsely populated and largely isolated
country of Mongolia.
In an accent bathed in her Slavic roots but precise in its English
delivery, she said, “It was a place for losers.”
Turin continued her medical practice in Mongolia, where the couple
would live for five years. Though she still believed strongly in
Western medicine, what she saw there eventually changed her life’s
work. “First, I was just curious,” she says. But she came to a
realization. “Unfortunately, Western medicine doesn’t know
everything. I got lots of cases where all the tests came out fine,
but the person felt unwell.”
She enrolled in the Mongolian Institute of Traditional Medicine,
where her teacher as well as the students were medical doctors.
“In Europe and even China, you have to be a medical doctor to
practice acupuncture because you have to be able to diagnose,”
Turin said. After her formal training, she was given an
apprenticeship where she learned her cosmetic skills.
After the economic reforms of perestroika were introduced,
the Turins returned to Russia. The country was still in turmoil,
however, and after one of her sons was nearly abducted, they moved
to the U.S. Turin spoke no English at the time. By 2000, her husband
had gotten his law degree and she opened her acupuncture practice,
where she uses her diagnostic skills but treats from an Eastern
point of view. She offers this global perspective acquired from her
travels: “Eastern people take such good care of themselves when it
comes to anti-aging issues. They start to work on prevention many