Looking better through electricity

Microcurrent treatments can yield results

“Your skin is dehydrated,” says Maxine Warsh, carefully examining Ruth’s face. “It needs water, but it doesn’t need oil.

“Dry skin needs oil.”

It’s a neat distinction. Composed of cells, skin needs water to plump it up. Drinking lots of water is the remedy Warsh recommends. I make a mental note for myself, too. I’m impressed she isn’t suggesting expensive creams or lotions.

Despite her 62 years, Ruth has few wrinkles. But the inevitable effects of gravity are beginning to show. Warsh is going to try to tighten these up using a new microcurrent therapy.

She settles Ruth on the bed and puts cool water on her face before moving the electric wands over the cheeks and under the eyes. The first stage is the preparation of the face. After a few minutes of this, she moves to toning and firming.

“The first stage drains the lymph nodes under the eyes and prepares the skin,” Warsh explains. “The second stage stimulates collagen and elastin production.”

There is plenty of evidence for this. In one study, patients with Bells Palsy whose facial muscles had been paralyzed were treated with microcurrent. The treatment seemed to “lift” the muscles and help them to look more normal.

Microcurrent systems are also used to treat muscular injuries (especially in athletes) and by physiotherapists for pain relief. One report described the accelerated healing of ligament injuries in members of a Canadian Olympic team whose team physician routinely used microcurrent therapy.

Warsh moves the wands slowly along the cheekbones, lifting and gently easing the skin along natural lines. Ruth feels a slight tingling, she reports.

“It’s very soothing,” she coos, her eyes shut and her muscles obviously relaxed. “It feels like I’m not really sleeping, but just a deep relaxation.”

Microcurrent is considered completely safe. There are no contra-indications except for those who have pacemakers, with which the current could conceivably interfere. There are no side effects and microcurrent complements other therapies like Botox or fillers.

“You need less of these when you use microcurrent, because you’re building collagen and tightening the skin naturally,” Warsh says. “I don’t like to call things what they aren’t. This isn’t a face lift, it’s youth retention.”

The last step is feathering, followed by exfoliation and a gorgeous-smelling vitamin C cream made with natural rosehips.

“The feathering addresses fine lines on the skin’s surface and the cream adds health and nutrients to your skin at the cellular level,” Warsh says.

Finished with Ruth’s face, she moves to her hands, explaining that here she can show us the difference most dramatically.

She carefully does her work on one hand and we hold them up to compare. The difference is striking. Fine wrinkles are smoothed away and the one hand does indeed look younger.

Ruth’s face, too, looks firmer. Fine lines appear to have been smoothed out.

“This is nothing compared to what she will look like tomorrow,” Warsh points out, adding that the process is cumulative.

After the first seven sessions, the neck is included in the therapy, which then takes a full hour. After the first 12 sessions, one need come only monthly in order to maintain the effect.

“Even if this did nothing for my face, it’s done a lot for my stress level,” she comments. “Being touched in such a relaxing way is wonderful.”

The cost for the process is $1,750 for the full 12 sessions, but Warsh will do a single session for $175 and apply it to the series if the client goes ahead.

“Not everyone responds the same way,” Warsh says. “But everyone responds.”

Warsh also sells a line of her own natural skin care products, which she has used on Ruth. She doesn’t push them, simply explains what she’s using.

“I found her very professional,” Ruth says. “She explained everything she did very clearly.”

Here’s the best part: When she got home, Ruth’s husband remarked: “What have you been doing? You’re glowing!”

Now that’s affirmation.

There are two locations: Maxine Warsh, 305 Sheppard Ave. East, 416-221-0568; and The House of Vitality, 7787 Yonge St., Suite 205 in Thornhill, 416-554-4474; www.maxinewarsh.com.

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Posted: Mar 15 2011 1:07 pm
Filed in: Health & Wellness
Edition: Toronto