Just when I thought I’d tried every kind of treatment that exists, Marie Reynolds walked into my life. Or, rather, I walked into her treatment room on the second floor of Fortnum & Masons, where she is part of their Beauty a la Carte team.
All I knew of Marie Reynolds at that point was courtesy of the rave reviews from beauty editors gushing about her healing hands and mood-enhancing skills. To quote from them: ‘fabulous treatment on every level from the skin to the spirit,’ Newby Hands at Harper’s Bazaar; ‘I’m leaving here with a hundred times more positivity, calm and can-do,’ Jess Lacey at Marie Claire; ‘wonderful intuition that gets to the root of why your skin may be playing up,’ Emine Ali Rushton at Psychologies. You can probably see why I was keen to snare myself an appointment with Marie.
Having spent two hours with her, I now understand why the editors describe what Marie does in this way; her facial uses no machines or scans, instead drawing from the extensive holistic training (in homeopathy, oriental diagnosis, cupping therapy, genetic and noetic science among others) which informs her diagnosis. From there, she decides how to best treat all of you – emotional, physical and mental.
Starting with a good look at the ears and feet (which Marie ‘reads like a map’), my facial started with a cleanse administered along with a firm massage and then light exfoliation. Marie followed with relatively little work on my face, focussing instead on the rest of my body which was, in her opinion, the source of the stress that was making itself known through my skin.
Her understanding of my physical issues that day was illustrated perfectly when at one point while massaging my foot a shoulder pain that had been plaguing me for weeks unblocked and the blood flowed freely up my neck. It felt as if a twisted hosepipe had been unravelled and the sensation of a cool stream rushing into my head that followed was immensely satisfying. I mentioned this to Marie and she reminded me that no one part of the body is divorced from the others and that treating the whole is the only way to restore balance.
I neglected to mention the other string to Marie’s bow, didn’t I? Well, Marie is also a trained counsellor. This was very useful for me: as a nervous patient with a mind that I struggle to control, I often find myself in the irritating situation of being on a massage table unable to switch off and then driven to anger by my inability to relax. I didn’t need to tell Marie this as she’d already seen signs of my overactive, racing mind during her study of my feet and in the torrents of words I that babbled forth as I answered her questions.
While managing to massage some of this nervousness out of my immediate thoughts, she advised me to pay attention to my stomach when I left the session, referring to the theory that it is a second brain, intuiting personal negatives and positives better than the overstimulated brain sometimes does. She also homed in on my confused adrenal glands and fluctuating energy levels, suggesting I make an effort to keep better routines and switch off technology in the evenings.
I now long to return to Marie’s treatment room. Not because my complexion glowed on leaving (it did), but because I felt as if my whole being had been treated and supported. Marie refuses to go down the route of just scrubbing the skin or massaging the muscles. No. She is too wise and too emotionally intelligent to do something that simplistic. What you have in Marie is a rare thing – an aesthetician who is dedicated to helping you feel and look better all in one whammy.