It shames me to admit that until today, I had never experienced a Korean facial. I always presumed that a Korean facial, was simply a facial treatment that utilised Korean skin care products, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Korean facials are all about the massage. And I am not referring to one of those gentle, soothing massages, but more like a lymph node unblocking, painful manipulation of your facial muscles, but with an end result well worth the discomfort.

My first Korean facial experience was at Hanbang Skin Solutions at Wheelock Place. After having my face analysed, I was informed that my skin was severely dehydrated and had the elasticity of a person much older than my age (well isn’t that just super).

The therapist recomended that I try their Hydro Boost Luxurious Care treatment which priced at $468 per session for 105 minutes would give my parched skin a much needed boost of hydration.

The treatment claims to retain moisture within the skin, improving its vitality and elasticity as well as eliminating wrinkles and fine lines, leaving skin soft and supple.

Before the treatment commenced, I was asked what level of pressure I would like my massage to be. Like a naive fool, I selected the ‘maximum pressure‘ option. So if you decide to visit Hanbang Skin Solutionswhich I strongly recomend you should, because the treatment was seriously amazing – I would suggest you select the ‘gentle pressure‘ option and work yourself up from there.

Hanbang Skin Solutions’ proprietary Geunmak™ Therapy, a traditional Korean massage technique that concentrates on the deeper layers of the skin by stimulating the fascia, works by relieving the tension between muscles, boosting blood circulation and activating the lymph nodes on the face.

Because I don’t sleep much and mostly exist on a diet of processed junk, my lymph nodes were so blocked that when my facialist began kneading them with my requested ‘maxium pressure‘ I squealed like a man who just had his nuts kicked in by a mule.

The facialist used several products from the SkinCeuticals line together with a sonic probe which was used to improve my skin’s elasticity by tightening and firming up my facial contours. The whole treatment was deeply enjoyable – yes even the painful bits. The pain in my neck and shoulders which I have come to accept as part and parcel of life as a writer was eased to the point of almost being gone and I felt, weightless and loose-limbed, something that I haven’t felt in years.

Don’t let my experience scare you or put you off this amazing treatment Because I loved how I felt (after the painful bits were over of course) so much, that I actually signed up for more treatments. That’s right, I paid them my hard earned money to do this to me every month. This is because, the more often I have the treatment, the more unblocked my lymph nodes are going to get and soon, they won’t even hurt – the fact that I am having my massage pressure adjusted to ‘medium’ obviously helps.

At Hanbang Skin Solutions, depending on the customer’s skin needs, a variant of the Geunmak™ Therapy massage technique is administered. The deep gliding motions physically stimulate the fascia and firms up the contours of the face and improves skin elasticity. My face post-treatment was firmer and less saggy with the results lasting for about a week, so I will honestly say that it works and is totally worth the undignified squealing.

There is a reason – other than for the mandatory plastic surgery – why Korean women look so beautiful. Their facial treatments are not about relaxation. Instead, its all about fixing problems that need to be fixed and unblocking blocked bits. So if you want a poreless, glass-like complexion, get ready to suffer because chances are, your lymph nodes are as sluggish and blocked as mine and boy does it hurt to have them unblocked, but trust me, the discomfort is so worth it.

Although I spent a large part of the treatment trying to wriggle off the bed and escape, much to the amusement of my facialist, the complete relaxation I felt post treatment can’t be described in words. My skin looked fantastic and hydrated and a second scan showed a huge increase in both hydration and elasticity.

The salon uses two brands of skincare: the Japanese label Esthe Twin for anti-ageing concerns and the American skincare range SkinCeuticals, which was what was used on me.

If you would like to find out more about their treatments, you can contact Hanbang Skin Solutions at 6738 8660 or visit them at #03-02 Wheelock Place or at their NEX Singapore outlet, 23 Serangoon Central, #04-30, Singapore 556083Tel: 6909 5383 / 9066 8449 .

Their operating hours are from Monday to Friday: 10am to 10pm / Sat, Sun and Public Holidays: 10am to 7pm.