There are treatments that change your day, and there are treatments that change your outlook.
“You are dehydrated, congested and have burnt your face in the last year, haven’t you?” says head therapist Zoe as I walk into the “Heaven” treatment room at the Chuan Spa. How did she know I had a cold and, earlier this year, had fallen asleep on a sun lounger in Marbella, Estrella in hand, only to wake up with third-degree burns? Well, through my face, apparently.
Chuan, in the basement of London’s luxe Langham Hotel, takes its inspiration from Chinese medicine. Stepping in for its signature 75-minute Chuan facial detoxifies your face using minerals, taking inspiration from Hippocrates notion of keeping the “four humours” – blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile – in harmony by physically “pushing” the toxins from your face. She did this by using a jade pen – jade having connotations of richness and wealth in China, apparently – massaging the “congestion” off my forehead and down my “meridian lines” to my neck. After a nourishing mask and a massage using a jade stone, my skin was lighter, brighter and smoother. Auricular therapy, an important component of Chinese medicine, ended the facial: four small magnets stuck inside my ear designed to ease digestion and calm my hunger pangs, apparently.
Scientists will definitely want to check their disbelief at the door but I can’t deny that my eyes were wider and skin clearer. I made a mental pact with myself to drink less alcohol, get more sleep and wear suncream at all times. And if that is Chuan’s legacy, I think it can be counted as a success.