Change Your Face Shape With A Korean 'Bone-Setting' Massage

Korean Golki therapy — it worked for us, but man, it hurts. V-shaped face, here we come.

It used to be that if you want the slim, doll-like face shape that’s de rigeur for K-pop stars, you have to go for plastic surgery. But no longer — thanks to Korean aesthetic company Yakson House's unique Golki therapy which slims down your body and face without touching a scalpel. Known as ‘bone tonification’ (the Korean term ‘Golki’ translates to ‘bone energy’), the non-invasive manual therapy uses bone massage techniques to reset bone structure to your desired shape. You get a better complexion out of it too, as the massage stimulates blood flow to your skin and muscles to supply nutrients and carry away toxins. There’s also no downtime.

yakson face
A chart on Yakson's website tells you the dimensions of an ideal V-shaped face. What you don't want — old-looking face. What you want — good impression. Yes! 

It all sounded fantastic, so I booked a session for their Sculpture Face Care treatment at Yakson’s new and first Singapore outlet. I did feel a little apprehensive about, um, resetting my bones by sheer force. But the living example that’s our Korean master therapist Jessica — who has that perfect egg-shaped face — dispelled my doubts. Other than the facial massage, the two-hour session also includes your choice of a chest and tummy massage, or a back massage. I opted for the former ’cos hey, I’ve more battles to fight there.

yakson clinic
Yakson's Singapore flagship branch at Wheelock Place.

Jessica, who trained with Yakson in Korea for three years before moving to Singapore, began the session by cleansing my face. She then assessed my face shape and commented that the right hand side of my face was wider than the left, and should be realigned to look more balanced. She also recommended pushing up my cheekbones to get more of a V-shaped face. Before starting, Jessica got me to feel my face with both my hands. “So you can compare the change afterwards,” she explained in her melodious Korean-inflected English. If you commit to more than one session, you even get two plaster cast masks made before and after your treatments to display the contrast.

treatment room
The treatment room, where the bone-setting magic happens. 

Jessica started massaging my face with slow, expert strokes. That was when the pain hit me. Imagine your head being kneaded and compressed like a lump of dough. Jessica was literally moulding my mien into a V shape using the kind of strength that seemed impossible for her petite, K-perfect build. What did this girl eat for lunch? Is she going to break my bones? Argh... I think my bones have been pushed to their breaking point… “Don’t hate me, you’ll be beautiful after this,” Jessica suddenly said laughingly. “No pain no gain!” And that was the mantra that summed up the session. I have a high pain threshold, but I was trembling a little after the face massage. Jessica got me to feel my face again, and I got another shock. There was a hollow space in between my palms and jaw that was previously not there. My face shape had Literally Changed.

Before I could fully absorb this, Jessica got to work applying a relaxing facial mask and skincare on my face. She also massaged my décolletage and tummy with firm, twisting strokes. It was just as painful, even if I felt more refreshed afterwards (one session ain’t gonna give you abs). "Does your face look like the alien emoji now?" My friends asked eagerly afterwards. Not quite, since it has only been one session. But true to Jessica’s skills, there was no bruising at all after the treatment, and the results are still there even after three months.

Here are the burning questions I asked Yakson founder Lee Byung-Chul via e-mail post-treatment. The aesthetic house was found in 1979, and now has over 120 outlets worldwide.

8 DAYS: How did you get the idea to offer Golki therapy?
LEE BYUNG-CHUL: While studying in college, I was dedicated to cultivating the body through mindful breathing. Having a strong belief in natural healing, I began to practise curative qigong and developed it further into what it is now called Golki Therapy.

How are your therapists trained?
New therapists undergo intensive in-house training for at least three months in our training academy in Seoul, Korea. Upon completion of their training course, they have to pass a vigorous theory and practical skills test. At Yakson, only master therapists are allowed to provide facial Golki for clients. The therapists are required to pass an advanced skills test and complete a minimum of three years of full-time experience in providing Golki therapy before they are qualified to be considered for promotion. As for junior therapists, they are only allowed to treat areas of client's body such as shoulders and back, but not the face.

Are all the therapists Korean at your Singapore branch?
For our Singapore flagship store, we have a team consisting of local junior therapists and Korean senior and master therapists. Currently in Singapore, only Korean master therapists are allowed to do facial Golki treatments.

Are the results of the face-slimming treatment permanent?
Yes, the effects of Golki Therapy are lasting. Research has shown that very remarkable differences can be observed once you’ve completed the course of 20 Golki treatments. No significant maintenance is required after completion of the course of treatments. However, we do encourage clients to keep a healthy lifestyle, including keeping a balanced diet and exercising regularly to maintain optimal results. Should you experience a [weight gain] of more than 4kg, you may need to go for an additional course of Golki treatment to restore your desired face shape.

If there’s bruising, is it caused by the force from intense massaging?
Slight bruising is commonly expected as part of Golki therapy, especially during the first three to five sessions as the body does its own readjustments to achieve balance. This is also partly due to the removal of toxins from the body, and will gradually subside after three to five sessions of continuous therapy as the bones align themselves gradually to the correct balanced positions.

Yakson Singapore, #05-12A Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Rd, S238880. Tel: 6734-8777. The Sculpture Face Care treatment is priced at $4,560 for 20 sessions, $2,400 for 10 sessions and $288 for a single two-hour session. More info here.


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