I am a big fan of acupuncture and have been lucky in the past to have body treatments with John Tsagaris and Emma Cannon, both of whom I found quite inspirational but when I was offered to have a facial acupuncture treatment with lovely Laura Jones BSc MBAcC who specialises in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Facial Acupuncture and Reiki ( and with whom I recently had a wonderful Pai facial ), I was intrigued and jumped at the chance !
This time, when I entered the salon, a tiny bit out of breath as I was running late, Laura gave me a detailed health questionnaire to fill in, covering my general health and any issues/health conditions. I have had acupuncture before, but as the needle work is involved and the effect can be quite powerful, both of us preferred being confidently informed. After I filled in the questionnaire, Laura took me downstairs, to the already familiar treatment room. We sat down and Laura went through my answers, also asking me about any health concerns that I possibly had wanted to address. I told her that I had body acupuncture before, but never a full acupuncture facial and was surprised to see how tiny and almost cute the facial needles looked. Laura explained the whole process to me, examined my tongue and took my pulse on both of my hands, according to Chinese principles, which are quite different to the one your GP might take. After that Laura slipped out, allowing me to get undressed and make myself comfortable on the treatment bed.
When I was ready, she returned and almost instantly, with a few movements on some points on my head she put me into relaxed, almost slumber like state. She then inserted a few needles in my lower legs and as the treatment progressed my legs felt heavier somewhat, in a very comforting way.
Laura uses an organic brand of products, called Amala during this facial and on this occasion she chose to use Amala rejuvenate products, which include Rejuvenating cleansing milk ( with cocoa bean, brazil nut & andiroba seed oil ) and Rejuvenating face cream ( which contains acai and cupuacu butter both of which provide your skin with anti-oxidant and moisturising benefits ) -the range not only feels very nourishing, but smells chocolatey-add to that Laura’s firm, but gentle strokes and I dare you not to be lulled to sleep, like a baby.
After calming my mind and cleansing my face, Laura proceeded to the next stage, which was pleasantly surprising. Normally, no matter how skilled the facialist is, extraction is uncomfortable at best-well, one has to suffer a little to be beautiful, yet Laura did something that blew me away-she used Manuka honey as a mask and then she applied a thicker layer of Manuka honey all over my face, apart from my eyes and mouth and then she started doing what seemed to be a rolling action-imagine that you have put a sticky tape on the palm of your hand and are trying to get the bubbles of your cashmere sweater? OK, that’s the closest association I could think of-it felt so great and it wasn’t uncomfortable-rather the opposite of it. Laura told me about the benefits of honey ( nourishing, drawing the impurities to the surface, anti-bacterial to name a few ), particularly Manuka, both for your face and for your body-for example in New Zealand there is a University that is dedicated to honey studies and all the goodness it can do to your face, body and mind.
After that Laura told me to breath and started inserting needles into my face-I imagined myself looking like a hedgehog and tried not to giggle. Even though Laura used a few needles all over my face, I hardly felt any pricks and on one or two occasions when I did, they were hardly noticeable. With needles in place, Laura proceeded to do some Reiki work on my body which I can only describe as blissful-first I felt like I was lying in the boat, that was gently rocking and then things settled, my mind stopped whirring with thoughts. As I settled into a perfectly blissful and content state, Laura quietly exited for a few minutes but for the first time ( generally I get bored or irritated if a therapist leaves and goes to do their own thing ) I felt like the time slowed down and I enjoyed just being in the moment. I had thoughts floating to the front of my mind, some of which I have been pondering for weeks, without finding an answer to-somehow they came into focus and everything became clearer.
By the time Laura reentered the room my mind has become completely and peacefully blank. Laura took each needle out, stroking the place where it was gently afterwards. She then sprayed an aromatherapy mist on my face and gently brought me back into the present moment.
Laura also uses lymphatic massage and never before my face felt so soft and so much plumper after the treatment-and not just after I left the treatment room, but for a good few days afterwards. As the facial was finished Laura told me to try to take it easy for the rest of the day, if I could, because she worked on some points on my head, neck and chest that would help with flushing of the toxins, warned me to drink lots of water for the rest of the day and to stay away from raw food and try to add warming foods instead. She also warned me that I might feel quite tired later in the day and with that she slipped out to allow me to fully come back into reality and get dressed. I briefly glanced in the mirror and was amazed to see that there was no redness or any sign of the needles having been used on my face-the skin just looked even and plump. I got dressed, drank the glass of water that Laura thoughtfully left for me and started gathering pace, as I was due to meet friends in China Town for lunch, celebrating the start of Chinese New Year.
As the day progressed I noticed that I felt very calm and quite reflective, almost willing myself to utter one word late in the afternoon- I felt at peace, as if I was on one of the islands in the Maldives, serene and unburdened, pattering about and thinking about various issues that were springing to my mind. I haven’t felt so peaceful for a very long time, the quite deep contentment enveloping me in a deep, comforting hug.
As a week went by, I noticed that some of the lines on my forehead-what can I say, I was born frowning- became softer and my face looked plump and well-hydrated, even though it was cold outside. Laura did tell me that generally it’s a good idea to have a course of this treatment in order to see a more pronounced effect-how intensive and how often to have this facial depends on the individual, the age, the skin etc. Having experienced Laura’s skill, I would highly recommend this treatment if you have an open mind and want to age gracefully. Laura is a quietly confident therapist, who might not chit chat, instead concentrating on making the treatment address the issues that you have at the time. She is also quite skilled in picking up certain health issue, like blockages or digestive upsets and she also e-mails you a very detailed dietary advice-mine was typed on eight pages, which made for quite interesting bed-time reading.
Facial Acupuncture facial including initial consultation, 90 mins, £110
Laura works on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, to book an appointment call 0203 0751006 or go to www.beingcontent.com for more information