Why you should care

Because growing old gracefully is sooooo Shang Dynasty.

For those among us whose first response to Kim Kardashian’s vampire face-lift was “That’s nice, but can I do more?” there’s a new thing that’s all the rage in China: fire facials. The huǒ liáo technique, which promises to reduce wrinkles and sagging, not to mention combat colds and obesity, is not just at the cutting edge of beauty treatments, it’s the therapeutic equivalent of Bruce Lee’s Game of Death. And what better way to try to defy age and cheat death than by taking them on at the beauty parlor?

How does it work? First, the practitioner covers your face — or whatever part of your body you’ve looking to slim and rejuvenate — with a towel soaked in alcohol and a secret beauty elixir. Then she sets the towel on fire…while it’s on you. Finally, after less than a minute, she extinguishes the towel, hopefully before her phone rings and the flames reach your skin.

Adherents claim fire facials create a more youthful complexion by stimulating skin cell regeneration.

Here at OZY we find out what our readers really want to know, so naturally we asked the burning question on everyone’s mind: Will setting my face ablaze really make me look younger? Adherents claim that the fire facial contributes to a more youthful complexion by stimulating the regeneration of skin cells — and it may also help you lose weight. According to Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of Real Cause, Real Cure, “One explanation is that extreme heat triggers an adrenaline response, which can shift your body’s chemistry, improving some symptoms like indigestion and slow metabolism.”

OK, sounds promising, but just one brief follow-up: What exactly are the chances that I could burn my face right off? Huǒ liáo therapist Suzie Lyng insists that the treatment is perfectly safe: “When administered by a trained therapist, the skin does not get burned but is warmed.”

But Dr. Teitelbaum is not convinced. “If you’re asking whether I would try this myself, the answer is no,” he says. “You don’t want to be anyone’s first client, or you might be their last.”

So what does OZY recommend? Wait for a Kardashian to try it first.

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