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April 24 2014

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A Facial With Benefits

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ling-spa

Book the Energy Lift Facial, the latest addition to the menu at Ling, and you know immediately upon entering the treatment room that you’re in for an entirely different kind of experience. Clue number one: my aesthetician, Michiko (whom I highly recommend), instructs me to position myself on the treatment bed, facing down (a strange request for a facial), with my back left bare. She says that she is going to work on releasing all the tension in my back before focusing on my face. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. But this is no run-of-the-mill massage; instead, Michiko uses the treatment’s titular Energy Lift contraption, a heated machine embedded with tourmaline, a potent energy-producing crystal with proven detoxifying abilities. It feels like a warm, polished stone being run up and down my spine and around my neck and shoulders. Michiko explains that the heated tourmaline therapy is designed to aid in lymphatic drainage and to help open up your meridian points to allow for proper movement of chi (energy). Terrific, I think momentarily, before returning to my state of drooling bliss.

Once it’s time for me to face forward, I’m basically putty in her very capable hands. She cleanses my extremely dehydrated skin and then layers on a trio of peels—glycolic, then papaya enzyme, then an acid-free rescue variety—to suck up any dirt and impurities. Then—groan, grumble—it’s extraction time; considering the fact that I’d subjected my complexion to a few different climates, a lot of plane travel, and zero exfoliation in the weeks prior, Michiko has her work cut out for her. After a meticulous excavation, she paints on a soothing clay mask, then a ginseng herbal moisturizing mask to placate any inflammation. (A side note: Michiko suggests, wisely, that in the following week I sleep for a few nights with their Replenishing Serum and Ginseng mask layered on to get my skin back into shape. I oblige and am feeling—well, my skin at least—much more balanced.) Next, the same heated-tourmaline therapy used on my back is now applied to my face, to energize and lift my skin, before Michiko launches into a nimble-fingered facial massage. The facial is dubbed Energy Lift, and although your complexion will definitely leave Ling looking glow-y and invigorated, you will likely be in a state of deep relax.

$195 for a 60-minute Energy Lift Facial, available at Ling Skin Care in Union Square, 12 East 16th Street, or Ling Skin Care on the Upper West Side, 105 West 77th Street; lingskincare.com.

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