An intriguing afternoon up on Harrods' fifth floor on Wednesday, at the launch of their new MediSpa in the gloriously over-the-top Urban Retreat. The MediSpa offers a "pioneering concept, bridging the gap between conventional beauty treatments and invasive surgery."
I'll be honest; I'm a natural sort of girl. I very rarely wear make up. I shy away from products which contain any kind of harmful chemicals. Even the merest hint of Botox on an actress on TV has me frittering with horror like a damp chip in hot oil. So I felt a little out of my depth amongst the cosmeceuticals and whizzy machines. But I put aside my doubts and have to confess to being fascinated by what was on offer.
And what is on offer? The science of beauty, essentially. Some of the tech that I saw was mind bogglingly impressive. Take the Accent: a sonic cellulite-buster which works by using Ultratone radio frequency technology to zap heat through your body to "damage collagen". Collagen damaged, you produce more, which in turn makes your skin younger-looking and firmer to the touch. Or what about painless hair removal thanks to the latest high-tech Soprano XL System? Traditionally, laser hair removal zaps a single beam at hair follicles. This can hurt. The Soprano breaks that single light into tiny pinpricks of light, so it doesn't hurt. At least, that is the theory.
Amongst the medical practitioners dispensing Botox and facial fillers was, for me, a fascinating practice. The Kite Clinic offers a form of acupuncture which focuses on healing by "achieving wellbeing on the inside to feel good on the outside". I was charmed by acupuncture master, Gerard Kite, who wants to educate prospective patients by getting them to think differently about their health. He wants you to come and see him when you're feeling well, so he can bring about the change that's needed to bring you into balance, rather than treating symptoms when you're ill.
There's no doubt; MediSpas are becoming increasingly popular. With the advances in science and technology, lunchtime facial rejuvenation and body contouring is on the rise. Urban Retreat's MediSpa has an interesting take on showcasing their treatments. Posters of a svelte woman's body taken from front and back, from neck to knee, shows you just what's on offer for any area that you may think you need work on.
The "posterior", as they so politely call it, can be addressed with Accent, Indiba, Soulmatefood, Microdermabrasion or The Body Clinic. The back, legs and thighs, arms and breasts can enjoy similar solutions, too. Pick your problem, then try a specialist treatment to suit!
It was rather lovely to have the option of trying to achieve harmony from within rather than just focusing on outer beauty. So whether you think beauty is skin deep or not, Urban Retreat seem to have it covered.