Thai-born masseuse brings the ancient art of face slapping to Western countries.

How far would you go to have wrinkle-free skin? Would you get slapped in your face? No, it's not a dare game where you can win a beauty treatment if you get whacked: the treatment it's actually called “The ancient Thai art of face slapping” and it comes at a price of $350.

It all sounds a bit S&M if you ask me, but Tata Sombuntham, the Bangkok-born masseuse who practices it, swear it is one of the most effective non-surgical and non-invasive treatments you can get. She and her husband, Mawin, moved to San Francisco to open the first face-slapping beauty salon and spread the ancient art to the West.

So how does it work? Tata starts with scrutinising the patient's face, she looks for wrinkles, lines, saggy skin and all signs of ageing. Then she assesses which areas need to be treated and finally she takes a picture, which serves to evaluate results at the end of each session. After that she puts some traditional Thai music on and while moving her body to the beat she starts.

Tata pinches the skin, pulling it upward, she works rhythmically on it with her fists as she's kneading a dough and finally she slaps and slaps and slaps. Ouch! After the painful session, the practitioner holds a mirror and the picture taken before next to her unfortunate client, proudly showing the amazing results achieved.

The treatment lasts 15 minutes and although there are no medical evidence to show that the slapping really works on turning back the clock, it could improve circulation and benefit those areas affected by lack of blood flow. The massage might seem quite bizarre or even ridiculous to Western onlookers, but as Mawan pointed out “This is definitely not rubbish, this is very serious”, well if he says so.

In Thailand for years natural health practitioners have been slapping faces to reverse time and have also been punching other parts of the body to shape and enlarge them. Bottom punching is another method used by Thai-masseurs to lift a shapeless bum and also make it larger and firmer.

As much as we find it interesting, we really don't want to venture ourselves in any other extreme and even more particular slapping and punching technique. We're sure Thai face-slapping and Tata will have their number of followers, as any other anti-ageing craze, but for $350 we'd rather get a more traditional session at our local salon - or maybe wait until her DIY DVD comes out!

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