The wrinkle-busting 'Pranic' facial
'I'm a healer and my gift includes facial rejuvenation,’ said the email. That got my attention.
'I have removed fine lines and wrinkles, deeper set lines on the decolletage, firmed jawlines, enlarged lips on people from 21 to 76,’ it continued, ‘All of whom state that comments have bounced back involving suggestions of lip filler or botox etc. from their photographers or colleagues/family and friends.’
This was something new
I get a lot of emails about exciting new ways to smooth wrinkles, plump lips and freshen the complexion but this one, from energy healer Toby Aspin, was in a league of its own.
'Would I like to try his work?' he asked? You bet! I didn’t for a moment think that he could seriously reduce wrinkles etc. Because I spend my working life looking at all the high-tech ways of making these improvements to the face, I know how much, say, laser energy, or wrinkle-relaxing toxins, or aggressive skincare it takes to make these things happen. But I was hugely intrigued. His website has glowing testimonials from many of my beauty-editor colleagues, too.
Also, I’m a big fan of energy healing. Way back, before I began writing about beauty, I used to write a lot about alternative and complementary therapies — reiki, magnetic therapy, kinesiology, foot-baths that drew ’toxins’ from the body, you name it — and energy healing, from the right pair of hands, was always one of my top favourites.
What does an energy healer do?
Energy healing is the age-old technique often referred to as 'hands-on healing’, or hands-off healing in Toby’s case, as he works with his hands hovering about 18 inches above the face and body, working on the invisible energy field that surrounds the body. So, yes, this is as ‘woo-woo’ as it gets. But as I say, I was curious. Toby says he is hoovering up the negative feelings which he can sense in various spots in the body, so that the body can heal itself. ‘It’s like opening a cage door so it can fly away,’ he says.
Toby is friendly, engaging and direct - and no nonsense about what he does. He’s also run-off-his-feet busy, which is a testament to just how good he is, with a client-base that ranges from older, suited CEOs who make no bones about the fact that they don’t understand what he does, but they love the results, to young models who visit before a shoot because the look in their eyes after treatment is something that really wows their photographers. What all his female patients report is a glow to the skin and a shine behind the eyes that cosmetics can’t deliver.
What is an energy healing facial like?
Unexpectedly fabulous. Toby works from a peaceful clinic in a mews just off Notting Hill. There are no crystals, no incense, just a room with a desk, a chair and a basic treatment couch. He explains to that he will do a face treatment first, then a body treatment, which will each take around 30 minutes. I lie down carefully on the treatment couch. It’s not particularly wide or comfortable and the room is brightly lit, so I’m not expecting a relaxing experience and yet within a few minutes of Toby beginning his work, bouncing his hands about a foot away from my head, as if patting an invisible force-field into shape, I feel myself dropping down into an incredibly deep state of relaxation. I’m not asleep, but my limbs become so heavy I don’t think I could lift them if I tried. The couch becomes magnificently comfortable, I stay utterly still, and the hour flies by. At some points I feel a huge pressure building up and then releasing - in my head, or in my chest — which leads me to take great heaving breaths (no idea what that was all about), though mostly, my breathing has slowed right down to the extent that it seems an effort to remember to breathe at all.
And then it’s all done, and I say thank you, and blunder off into the sunny afternoon, wondering what has just happened and feeling so out of it that I push my bike along until I’m halfway home and feeling a bit steadier.
Can this Pranic Facial seriously make you look younger?
Clearly, anything that leaves you feeling profoundly rested and relaxed can smooth away tension from facial muscles and that will make you look miles better. After each session (I did a course of five), I looked as if I’d had a week’s sleep
I still find it hard to believe that Toby’s techniques could actually result in plumper lips or better-refined jawlines, but if patients have seen this, then I respect their testimonies. And that first evening, as I sat down to supper with my husband, he looked at me suspiciously and said, ‘You look different, have you just had something done?’
‘Why?’ I asked, all innocence.
‘Because… you look a bit different. Lovely, but different,’ he said.
I’d say that was a very positive result.
Where to find Toby Aspin
Toby Aspin practices at 5a Lucerne Mews, London W8. His website is www.healerhealer.org.uk
Face and body treatments, £100 each.