Hear the words ‘ab sculpting’ and ‘massage’ in the same sentence, and it’s safe to say you’d be hard-pressed to find a girl who doesn’t want to know more.
Admittedly, as a girl who eats clean, teaches 4-5 yoga classes a week, and does Pilates, I’ve still never managed to easily sculpt my stomach…let alone be friends with it.
Aside from that one time in India where I was busting out more asanas than I was probably eating or sleeping, my stomach tends to live life on the ‘soft side’… (read: so not my vibe). So naturally, when I got wind of a new ‘High Definition Bodywork‘ massage already being endorsed by clients like Nicole Kidman and promised to tone my tum, I was quick to sign up!
Walking into Venustus Beauty and Body Lab in Sydney, I had high hopes and dreams. I was a girl who wanted abs and was ready to do just about anything for them. But what I didn’t expect was a magical world away from vanity and aesthetics and deeply entrenched in spirituality, self-love, and care. Stepping into the spa, I was greeted in a warm and loving embrace from owner Jeannie Bourke before sitting down on the ground and engaging in an honest, heart-to-heart chat.
With a lemongrass infusion to sip on, my bare soles surrendering to a white slab of mineral crystal below, Jeannie began to work her magic, whirling Palo Santo and smudge sticks from top to toe around my aura, a pre-ritual for what was to come. After a bit of confession and connection time—through which Jeannie enlightened me that I HAD to up my water intake if I was to want to flush out that fluid around my belly—I chose a crystal I was drawn to from her sparkly museum-worthy collection, and it was time to get sculpting.
Entering the treatment room was like walking into a spiritual oasis, a place of bliss—‘samadhi’ as we yogis call it. Vine leaves and flowers were strewn from floor to ceiling, a buddha perched high up on a shelf as if placed to look over you, all while mellowing in a dim candlelit glow. Lying back into a warm fluffy blanketed bed, I thought, if this is all you need to get abs, I’m so for it. But then the fun began… Admittedly, at this point, it was as if the ‘lymphatic drainage’ part of the ‘High Definition’ treatment had completely slipped my mind. What I thought may be a little gentle belly rub was an incredibly deep tissue massage, activating and awakening all of the lymph nodes. Not one inch of my body was overlooked, from my legs to my inner thighs, stomach, arms, armpits, chest, and cheeks. And this was part one of the surprise. The second surprise came when I realized that the masseur was doing an incredible job of simultaneously massaging my legs and head! I peeked for a moment and woke to discover three women (or six hands as Venustus sell it) sculpting and activating my every lymph node. A first, that’s for sure. And it was all part of the strategic charm. Just as the spiritual, self-love talk mellowed me at the beginning (in prep for the pain to come), as the tools used to press into my inner thighs began to dig deep, a lovely icy cold rose quartz Gua Sha was applied to my cheeks, relaxing the face muscles and distracting me back into a calm state. As the 75 minutes of vigorous contouring and upward pressure continued, I was treated to a sound bath, a crystal chakra cleanse, and then finally anointed with a group blessing to conclude. If I wasn’t spiritually or physically awakened before, I was now.
Floating out of the room, I couldn’t tell if I was drained (I mean, that was partly the purpose, to drain the lymphatic system) or just chilled AF. After a brief follow-up with Jeannie and a motherly prescription to ensure I drink two liters of water immediately (and forever thereafter) and begin a journal (outlining my values and passions), I was gifted crystals, a dry brush, and serum to keep the lymphatic system inflow and a warm hug before being sent back out into the big world. After a quick stock-up on h20, I got home and bolted straight to the mirror. Top up and midriff out, I was ready—show me the abs. And, well, the results surprised me. The bloating was gone; there was some toned, with a sneak preview of abs apparent. While I didn’t feel it was a dramatic difference to the outside eye, I could feel the effect of the treatment, I was spaced out, and the toxins were screaming out at me—taking my throbbing headache as a good indication of this (or well, my lack of water consumption). But the best part? I felt loved, cared for, nurtured, and inspired to use my self-care kit and crystals.
Suddenly the magic of the treatment dawned on me—it’s not really about the ab sculpting (although it’s a bonus!). It’s a fact Jeannie has lovingly crafted and curated an experience that manages to gently convert you from vanity over to self-love. And that is worth more than its weight in gold (or rose quartz crystals!). Self-love aside, here are some more benefits of the high-definition lymphatic drainage massage if you feel cleansing and toning ahead of the change of season.
The benefits of a lymphatic drainage massage:
Stimulates the lymphatic system
Contours and defines the body
Eliminates harmful toxins and pollutants
Reduces fluid retention
Contours the facial muscles
Helps regulates the immune system
Prevents puffiness and fluid retention
Stimulates the lymphatic system if it’s dormant from travel, lack of movement, water, stress, etc.
Helps detox blockages in the body that can lead to fat cell stimulation
Encourages prevention of cellulite, sagging skin, and swelling
Encourages distribution of vitamins and minerals to cells and tissues in the body
Speeds up recovery in the case of some injuries, surgery, illness, water retention
Regulates the lymphatic system to protect against disease and infection
To learn more about the ‘High Definition Bodywork’ treatment or the self-care tools that will increase your self-love and lymphatic system, see Venustus for more.