The new alternatives

The new alternatives

The frontiers of beauty are forever shifting on the tide of trends. In the 60s being beautiful was about peace, love and Hair, we sold our hedonistic souls to buy better images in the 80s and, now that the naughties are tiring us out, we want them back. As long as they don’t stop us looking hot.

As we seek beauty that satisfies both superficial and spiritual yearnings, philosophies that used to be considered ‘alternative’ are filtering into facials and massages. And to capture the masses looking for better ways to wind down and glam up, beauty treatments are becoming ever more creative.

Check out some beauty treatments you probably haven’t tried…

The crystal method

The idea
“Crystals can help bridge the gap between inner and outer beauty,” explains Samantha Langley, a Sydney beauty therapist who practises crystal balance facials. The gist is that the body has a system of chakras (spinning wheels of energy) tuned into different vibration and colour frequencies. When these chakras become unaligned or ‘blocked’ from spinning properly, the spiritual, emotional and physical body suffers. Crystals emit vibrations that, when placed in relation to the chakra points on the body, can help correct the flow of energy through your chakras and, thus, promote holistic wellbeing.

How does that translate to skincare? “Placing a crystal on your forehead isn’t going to get rid of wrinkles or acne, but…if they can help you understand and reduce the imbalances in your life, the results can show on the outer body too. That makes sense,” reasons Langley.

It’s not hippie hocus pocus agrees crystal therapy practitioner and teacher Janet Newton. The energy vibrations from crystals can be scientifically measured, she says, and “you don’t necessarily need to believe to benefit.”

The experience
You might not feel any ‘zaps’ or energy surges, but don’t be surprised if you leave a crystal treatment feeling like you’ve just had the most intense body massage of your life.

Try it
The Crystal Balance Facial at Stone Soul in Balmain, NSW (02 9555 1102) blends a more traditional facial with Phyt’s products with crystal therapy.

Jade Essence Crystal Therapy at Face Body Wellness in Epping, NSW (02 9869 2111) complements body exfoliation with crystal wand massage and chakra placement.

La Stone Therapy

The idea
Harnessing the physiological effects of temperature, La Stone involves hot and cold stones being alternately placed and massaged upon the body. The heat relaxes muscles and causes blood vessels to dilate, the cool stones reduce inflammation, ease pain, stimulate lymphatic drainage and cause the vessels to constrict, and then the body sends a fresh surge of blood to resupply the narrowed vessels. The effect is a three-stage release, drainage and replenishment and, while the waves of stimulation and sedation lull the mind, the ‘circulatory gymnastics’ work to flush out toxins. Placement of the stones along your back is said to stimulate the vagus nerve (a cranial nerve that extends down the spine and influences hormones, heart rate and emotional stress) to promote deep relaxation. Due to both temperature and the energy vibrations of the basalt and marble stones, La Stone can also be used to help realign and recharge the chakras.

The experience
Bliss. The gentle oscillation between temperatures is hypnotically calming though your insides get a thorough workout. And even if you’re not into chakras, the hot and cold treatment works wonders on kinks, leaving you reenergised and relaxed all at once.

Try it
We recommend Stone Soul in Balmain (02 9555 1102). Call  08 9537 2430 for your local therapist.

The Ilcsi Yoga Facial

The idea
Infusing the skincare factor of a facial with the meditative elements of yoga, this treatment is as much about your body and soul as your face. Over an hour and a quarter, therapists coach you through classic yoga postures and breathing techniques to balance your mind and body as they cleanse, tone, moisturise, and mask your face. The yoga includes pranic acupressure and massage to release tension and calm a buzzing brain and the organic Ilcsi products from Hungary burst with natural goodness to get you glowing on the outside too.

The experience
Meditative calm as your being is plumbed along with your pores.

Try it
The Ilcsi Yoga Facial is exclusive to Spa Universe salons. Call 1800 808 993 for one near you.

Bizarre spa

There’s creative. There’s alternative. Then there’s just weird…

Karaoke beauty at Jade Pool Health and Spa Club in London – Spa treatments and steam plus the feelgood factor of a power ballad.

The Corona beer facial at the Esperanza Resort Spa in Mexico – We’ve heard ofs clarifying beer rinses for your hair but brews to firm your face?

Live snake massage in Talmey El’Azar in northern Israel – We don’t care how amazing writhing reptiles are at kneading and pummelling, nothing could convince us.

Bird poo facials at Diamond Hawaii Resort & Spa in Hawaii– Apparently it’s a Japanese tradition, but no amount of glowing skin could inspire us to put Nightingale excrement on our faces.

Spa below sea level in the luxury underwater treatment rooms at Huvafen Fushi resort in the Maldives – Watching tropical fish floating by sure sounds relaxing, but don’t you usually have your eyes closed?

Cryotherapy at the Aquacity complex in Slovakia – Slovaks stand in a chamber freezing at -120 degrees then have a workout to melt off cellulite. We’d rather hit the gym then have a nice cup of green tea.

– Tracey Withers

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