If the words ‘shockwave puncture’ and ‘carboxy injections’ get you excited, we’ll assume you are already au fait with the newest in-demand high-tech spa treatments. If not, read on and discover exactly what the buzz is about
It’s been about 20 years since Botox became the lunchtime beauty fix du jour, and how things have moved on (well except foreheads obviously, which thanks to Botox, hardly move at all.) High-tech healing is one of the spa world’s hottest trends with new options coming into the market every day. Expect to find a full range of LED-light treatments, needle-free injections and pulsing electronic currents to treat every beauty concern, from redness and pigmentation, to cellulite, wrinkles and sagging skin. At Singapore’s Qi Spa, even massage gets aggressive, with a gun-like device that bombards skin to blast away stress.
Spas like Sense of Touch offer a mix of traditional treatments and aesthetic beauty technology. Clients like the “mix ‘n match” approach, says founder Anna Treier, so that they might opt first for a therapist-based facial followed by a machine assisted slimming treatment. “Others will have a traditional massage and a high-tech Hydra Facial,” she says.
Hotel spas are turning up the dials on high-tech treatments too. There are plenty popping up globally at The Peninsula’s spas. Both the Hong Kong and Tokyo locations offer the intensive but non-invasive Ultimate Aesthetic Facial Treatment – a 100-minute session during which an Exilis Elite machine directs ultrasonic waves and heats the skin to 40 degrees Celsius to tighten and redefine the skin’s texture. And in April, the Beverly Hills property launched a new non-invasive lifting treatment, the Bio-Ultimate Lifting Facial. It uses microcurrent technology to increase elasticity using tiny electronic currents that pass through the skin to reactivate and repair at cellular level.
Spas, but not as we know It…
While spas might have once been viewed as havens of peace and tranquillity, in many today a mood mix CD competes with the beep and whir of gadgets. Treatments can sound terrifying – from Carboxy Therapy, where minute needles administer carbon dioxide below the skin, to Coolscupting, where flesh is rolled, gathered and then almost frozen. Yet many high-tech treatments promise an instantly visible result, with effects lasting from at least a month to a couple of years. And while some might be pricey, they are a snip compared to most invasive cosmetic surgeries, and offer little- to-no downtime. “Our guests are looking for quick results without having to resort to anything as drastic as surgery or injections,” says Amber Loose, The Peninsula’s Director of Spas at Beverly Hills.
From heady highs in the 1990s, Botox, Juvéderm and the rest also appear to have had a two-way effect on spa trends, encouraging us to trust in quick, easy fixes on one hand while simultaneously scaring us away to new technological possibilities on the other. At the Karma Kandera resort in Bali, spa manager Dewi Jackson says the safety element plays a big part in which treatments her clients choose. For each new technology introduced, detailed explanations are often requested, but Jackson is seeing a real adoption to them in recent years. Many choose newer, less invasive options, she says, because they feel safer around them.
But even injected fillers are much safer to administer now thanks to technology, says Dr Wally Chen. At the WorldMed Medical Center in Central, where he presides and prescribes a whole range of non-surgical cosmetic treatments and injectable fillers, walls are hospital white, surfaces sheeny and machines cutting-edge.
“The increase in technology has been exponential,” he says. “There are so many more choices today in terms of products, techniques and safety profile.” This includes a switch to blunt-edge cannula needles for fillers that push blood vessels aside to avoid injecting in them – an issue with the first generations of fillers – and reduces bruising and swelling by up to 80 per cent. Today, Chen says, there’s no need to feel squeamish around needles.
Ease and the choice of faster fixes are changing the way we view them. Chen’s client base might look younger after their treatments, but increasingly they are actually younger in the first place. Some come in their late teens and early 20s requesting fillers as a preventative measure rather than a cure. The thinking goes that if a frown line is filled early on, it will not develop into a deep, and therefore harder to fix (and fill) problem area later.
Pulling the plug
This is not to say that we are all turning our back on traditional wellness. Switzerland’s Clinique La Prairie has been running an innovative medically guided week-long revitalising programme that slows the signs of ageing for more than 70 years and regularly updates its services. (Current new offerings include Oxymegastration, where skin is infused with oxygen, and Maximus, a radiofrequency treatment that tightens and re-contours). Icoone, a multi-micro stimulation device that uses rollers to break down cellulite and iron out wrinkles, and is said to be much loved by Gwyneth Paltrow, is one of the most requested treatments at the clinic. But, surprisingly, so too is the therapeutic Thai massage.
If this all sounds like we are going around in LED light circles, think again. A modern kind of harmony is to be expected as spa-goers weigh and measure an increasing amount of options that not only draw on ancient wisdom but also the tech of tomorrow.
“Our guests are looking for quick results without having to resort to anything as drastic as surgery or injections” ~ Amber Loose