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 day-to-day has a tendency 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 that was already being endorsed by the likes of 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 though, 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 to ground and engage in an honest, heart-to-heart chat first. 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 mellowed in a dim candlelit glow. Lying back into a warm fluffy blanketed bed I thought to myself, 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 just be a little gentle belly rub was an incredibly deep tissue massage, activating and awakening all of the lymph nodes. From my legs, to inner thighs, to stomach, to arms, arm pits, chest and cheeks, not one inch of my body was overlooked. And this was part one of the surprise. The second surprise came when I realised that the masseur was doing an incredible job of massaging both my legs and head at the same time! I peeked for a moment and woke to discover three women (or six hands as it’s sold by Venustus) 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 on out of the room, I couldn’t tell if I was drained (I mean really that was in part 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 litres 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 in flow 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, tum was definitely some kind of toned, 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 so 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 the 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.