Crystals are a mainstay in the toolkit of any spiritually woke millennial. You’ll find them littered across work desks, upon bedside tables and nestled in cross-shoulder-worn bumbags. Victoria Beckham’s AW18 wide-leg trousers even included a secret pocket designed to carry the trusty stones. And now their healing properties are being put to work during beauty treatments, where they’re smoothed across skin for supposed energetic benefits.
Eager to explore the trend firsthand, I seek out the man that A-listers trust for a crystal boost to their complexion. Reflexologist Paolo Lai greets me with an open smile that swiftly transforms to a look of concern, as he notes my tense shoulders and tired eyes. Breastfeeding a six-month old with zero interest in sleeping will do that to you, I tell him. There’s work to be done.
Reaching new levels of relaxation
The ritualistic scent of frankincense oil greets my nostrils and Lai begins gently kneading precise points on my face. Anxiety and stress dissolve as deft, circular movements iron out the furrow between my brows and reconnect me with my heart zone, promoting a sense of openness and clarity.
Drifting in and out of consciousness, I reach levels of relaxation that I haven't enjoyed in, well, at least six months. Tingles spread across my face and scalp with each magical press. It's sheer bliss and we’ve yet to get started with the crystal tools.
Cool yet firm, the pressure of a Rose Quartz gua sha vaguely rouses me from my zen-like trance. When scraped across the face, the heart-shaped tool is allegedly breaking down stagnant energy, and massages muscles and skin for more sculpted jowls and cheeks.
Lai then uses a slender reflexology stick and rounded mushroom-like tool – both also made of Rose Quartz – to poke and smooth various points on my face, activating my nervous system and reducing puffiness. A subtle sucking sensation follows. It’s the result of facial cupping, in which soft suction cups stimulate blood flow, increase circulation, drain the lymphatic system to promote cellular repair and regenerate tissue.
The reverberating tones of a singing bowl coax me back to earth, where I find an amethyst in each palm and resting on my forehead – there to purify my aura from negative energy and calm and relax the spirit, Lai says.
A final spritzing of Moon Mist harmonises my chakras and I’m good to go. The divinely scented spray is Lai’s own creation of essential oils mixed with crystal-steeped water and bathed in the light of the full moon. Though that might sound a bit woo woo for some, it’s constantly sold out and Fearne Cotton and Victoria Beckham are among its many celebrity fans.
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The holistic treatment
Afterwards, I try get to the bottom of the blissed-out state of consciousness I find myself in. “Reflexology is a holistic treatment, meaning that it works on physical and emotional aspects. Using acupressure points and gentle massage techniques helps rebalance the whole system,” Lai explains. “The crystal tools used help me go a little deeper, gently balancing the different energy points with the healing power of crystals – especially nurturing the heart centre with Rose Quartz, which represents unconditional love and kindness,” he says.
Lai started using crystals fifteen years ago, during stressful times and a period of self-discovery. He realised they possessed a power beyond just feeling amazing on the skin and saw their potential in taking his facial reflexology treatments to the next level.
It seems he was ahead of the times, as demand for gem-inspired wellness is booming. There’s been a 40% increase in Google searches for “crystal healing” in the past four years.
While, scientifically speaking, there isn’t evidence to prove the efficacy of crystal healing, a study from London University showed people may feel better after a treatment with the stones. Whether a powerful placebo effect or not, there’s no doubt I feel more relaxed and revitalised after our session.
Ultimately, the combination of targeting body and spirit makes sense. Beauty nowadays is more than being pretty. Rather, we need to find health and wellbeing within our daily beauty regime for maximum impact. As Lai puts it, “lifting the soul and nurturing your inner self can make a great difference in how you look.”
Words: Kate Johnson