April 25, 2016
Sometimes, old is gold. We like our facial treatments to come with lasers and LED lights to give us young and glowing skin the high-tech way, but we’ve also learnt that the traditional methods can work just as well – it also helps that these often come with a nice, soothing massage that drains all the nasty stuff out of our facial lymph nodes.
We’ve rounded up a range of facial treatments based on traditional techniques and ingredients to try, when you decide the meridian points on your face (more on that later) need some tender loving care.
Body Contour Premier 3D Gua Sha Facelift
In the olden times, people didn’t have the fancy antioxidant products we have at our disposal now, so keeping the skin young had to be done using more manual techniques. The Chinese turned to gua sha (刮痧), which literally translates into “scraping bruises”, referring to bruises with a sand-like texture that appear on the skin as a result of the said scraping. Sounds scary as hell? Maybe, but we take some comfort in the knowledge that gua sha for the body is different from what’s done on the face – the therapist won’t be scraping your face till it bruises, very thankfully.
A small medicinal tool resembling a board is used to gently (important emphasis here) massage and stimulate the face, with the aim of promoting qi energy flow, thus detoxifying the skin. It also helps lift and define facial contours, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and brighten the skin, among other anti-aging benefits, as the therapist uses the gua sha tool to target 18 acupressure points on your face. No bruising, promise.
Korea Beauty Centre Lymphatic Korean Kyung-rak Facial
This is how the Korean ladies drain the toxins from their lymph nodes: with a Kyung-rak deep tissue massage, targeting the parts of the face known as the meridian points where energy is believed to flow. Korea Beauty Centre’s spa director Sira Nam explains this: “Meridians are energy streams that control our every function. When these are blocked, our mental and physical health will be affected. Kyung-rak addresses energy imbalances and releases tension while enhancing circulation, detoxification and tonification.”
The 80-minute session includes a neck, shoulders and chest massage as well, and follows the sequence of cleanse-mask-massage-mask. Kyung-rak is said to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, and the spa also offers a Kyung-rak body massage, which we can imagine must be a real treat for tired and tense muscles.
Lymphatic Korean Kyung-rak Facial, $130 for a 80-minute treatment. Available at Korea Beauty Centre, #05-05 Cuppage Plaza. koreabeauty.com.sg
Skinperfect Phototherapy Cupping Facial
The cupping here isn’t the terrifying kind you usually find in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinics, where they light a flame in a glass cup and press it into your skin, creating a suction effect meant to heal muscles – but also leaving you with huge, unsightly round marks in the process. Rest assured you won’t be walking out with ring-shaped bruises on your face after this treatment; Skinperfect uses a specialised machine with mini cups and a very gentle suctioning force, to boost circulation in the skin and firm up facial contours by targeting the face’s meridian points (yup, these traditional therapies seem to be all about the meridian points).
The cool thing about this treatment is that is combines the traditional with the high-tech, also using phototherapy in the form of red, blue and amber LED light to target aging skin.
Ikeda Spa Geisha Organic Facial
So how do geishas maintain their legendary fair beauty? The answer might turn your stomach a bit – it’s all thanks to uguisu no fun, or in English, nightingale droppings. The idea of putting what is essentially bird sh*t on our face made us recoil at first, but hey, this is a facial that Victoria Beckham and Oprah swear by; and if it’s Hollywood-approved, we’re willing to try it.
Ikeda Spa’s version also includes very Japanese natural active ingredients like rice bran, camellia oil and azuki red beans, and applied onto the skin using a Japanese-style meridian massage technique, to leave you with fair and smooth skin worthy of a geisha.
Ikeda Spa Geisha Organic Facial, $240++ for 90 mins. Available at Ikeda Spa, at 787 Bukit Timah Road and Ikeda Spa Prestige, #05-22 The Central. ikedaspa.com