I am sat in a rather fancy-pants treatment suite in the Urban Retreat luxury hair and beauty salon in Harrods whilst my facialist is lying star-fished, flat on her back on the floor with a box of tissues on her stomach.
"You just plonk the box on your abdomen (just below your belly button) and breathe out until it rises," instructs Emma Hardie, facialist extraordinaire and said woman sprawled on the treatment room floor. "You’ll know you’re using the right muscles when you see the box move," she continues.
Oddly, I am not finding this as bizarre as I should be — firstly because I’ve met Emma before and know she’s a genius, and secondly because of the theory she’s explaining to me.
"When you engage your lower abdomen to expand like a balloon by breathing in and out (lying on your back with an object on the point draws your attention there, so you know what area you need to work) it resonates with your skin," Hardie explains. Tell me more, I’m thinking! "The breathing action means the muscles expanding and contracting massage your gut (which sits just below) and stimulates the liver — so instead of someone else massaging you, you’re using your own muscles to do the job."
What this means is that when you’ve got a stagnant gut, toxins build up and you end up seeing the result on your skin (hello, spots and dullness). By encouraging regular number twos, your skin will look glowing and clearer as a result.
Just when you think you’ve tried every anti-blemish and brightening product out there, we’re telling you to just breathe and poo. Super.
"Breathing also stimulates hydration levels in the body by increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin so that water can be more effectively absorbed," Emma continues. "When you have the box in position (or any other household object – a can of beans works just as well), breathe in through your nose, hold it in your lungs, then pulse the air out as if you are repeatedly blowing out birthday candles in quick succession."
She then ushers me onto the treatment bed and whilst she conducts the facial, puts a box of tissues on my stomach so I breathe whilst she works her magic.
"If you did that every day (although it does depend on your lifestyle, so try to be as healthy and active as possible) you’ll definitely notice a slimmer face as you stimulate lymphatic drainage. Your skin will also look brighter and clearer because of the inner detox," Emma explains. Instead of leaving the treatment room with a handful of products, I am clutching a box of tissues.
Hands up — who’s going to try this later?