Heavenly HemaHome » Blog » Annabel McAleer » Heavenly Hema
Massage isn't just for your back—offer your face up to some nimble fingers and you'll be in for a treat.
In Good #14 we showed how you can massage your face to give yourself a nice healthy glow, but for the most relaxing experience ever, you've really got to go pro. You might not think much about the tension you hold in your face—mercifully, faces don't get sore like backs do—but once someone massages your frown or tight jaw away, it's obvious that those face muscles are doing a heck of a lot of work every day.
And if there's one New Zealander to go to for a facial massage treatment, it's Margaret Hema. Based in Wellington but known around the world for her magic fingers, most famously as the facialist responsible for Liv Tyler's luminous glow in Lord of the Rings, it took Hema six years of searching to finally find the perfect protege in Seonaid Lyons.
Seonaid now provides Hema facials to Aucklanders, from rooms in both Titirangi and Grey Lynn. A visit to Seonaid is quite a different experience to visiting a beauty therapist. For a start, the Titirangi room is located at the Soul Centre, a holistic health centre nestled into native forest that offers workshops in art, dance and yoga. It's the perfect match for the Hema philosophy that facial treatments are about healing, not beauty.
Seonaid says her treatments are mainly about connecting with people, and it shows in the way she listens intently and compassionately to my story of how stress has been playing havoc with my skin. I'm still not much of a believer in many alternative health theories, but there's something about the radiant Seonaid that makes me feel that if it's possible to tap into a 'healing energy', she's got direct access to the mainline.
So what's the Hema treatment like? Seonaid's hands swoop and glide over my face, neck and arms. The technique is a mixture of acupressure, lymphatic drainage and the occasional drumbeat of taps so gentle it feels like rain. It's unbelieveably relaxing—and the products themselves are divine.
The Hema range of seven products are hand-blended from a base of oils, including sandalwood and rose oils, and certified organic Totara wood, which helps suck the nourishing oils into the skin. No chemical ingredients or exfoliants are used. "A lot of love goes into the making of the products, and the facials," says Seonaid, and cheesy as it might sound, I reckon she's right.
Afterwards, my skin looks plumper, fresher and glows a healthy pink—without a hint of the over-stimulated redness I'm usually confronted with after a facial treatment. My hair is an oily mess sticking up at right angles from my head, the result of an absolutely divine scalp massage to top off the treatment (swallow your vanity and bring a scarf or hat with you; trust me, it's worth it). But it's how I feel on the inside that really counts, and after an hour with Seonaid's healing hands, I'm so relaxed that I feel five years younger—and I don't much care if I look it or not.