If you think a procedure that involves applying open flames to the skin would scare off women then you underestimate their desire to look youthful and beautiful. The fire facial or Huo Liao
treatment has gained popularity in China in spite of the apparent risks.
In the scary procedure that claims to stimulate cell regeneration, the therapist applies a towel soaked in alcohol and a special "elixir" to the skin and then sets fire to the area. The fire spreads and burns for a few seconds before the therapist extinguishes it.
The Huffington Post
reports that therapists claim the treatment "stimulates the skin and addresses dullness, sagging and wrinkles." Some therapists make expansive "cure-all" claims. The say the procedure also cures obesity, common colds and a number of other common but troublesome ailments.
A photo of the treatment procedure posted to the Chinese message board tt.mop
shows a woman's face wrapped in towel, an unguent applied and and a flame burning over a very delicate area of the face, the eyes.
The caption reads
: "My mum went to get her face done at the beauty salon so I went with her. What I saw … instantly shocked me … I couldn't look."
notes, although the daughter claimed she couldn't look she got a pretty close up photo of the procedure.
The Daily Mail
reports that Chinese salon operators say the procedure is safe when applied properly by a trained therapists. According to therapists, the elixir ensures that the area of the skin is only warmed and not burned.
comments that "fire treatment" procedures are a common practice in traditional Chinese therapy.
One could be right to suspect a psychological no-pain-no-gain ploy here. We tend to think unconsciously that the more dramatic or extreme a procedure the more effective. It brings to mind the psychological placebo ploy involving extremely bitter pills and painful glucose-water injections quacks use effectively worldwide. The logic equation is flawless: It takes a bitter pill to cure a bitter illness and a painful injection to cure a painful condition.
reports Jacob Teitelbaum, author of Real Cause, Real Cure
, commenting on the procedure, said: "If you're asking whether I would try this myself, the answer is no. While alcohol will help carry whatever is in the elixir into the body, it's not really necessary to light it on fire. However, one explanation is that extreme heat triggers an adrenaline response which can shift your body's chemistry, improving some symptoms like indigestion and slow metabolism."