Notice anything different about me?" I ask a friend I bump into at St Lukes, drawing close so she can see my face and all its pores. "Oh, I don't know," she says in disgust. "Where have you been now?" She's still recovering from my trip to the Langham.

I've had a Facial Radiance natural face lift, I inform her at re:ab on Selbourne, in Grey Lynn. I thought it was going to be a lotions and potions type of facelift but to my joy it's not. I've never recovered from having an enormous zit on my chin for my wedding day thanks to a facial a couple of days before it.

Lynda Davenport, my therapist, massages every conceivable part of my head, face and neck, releasing the stress caught up in there.

She says 80 per cent of stress is held in the face and neck adding to the ageing process and interrupting the other processes in my body.

Lines, furrows and sagging happens thanks to muscles retaining accumulated stress from things that happen to you and strong emotions you feel.

It's not a sensual delight like a back massage but the head stuff is great. It's amazing how tight the muscles are around my jaw too, and they become much more relaxed.

The jaw holds a lot of old traumas, Lynda tells me. She says she works with the meridians and muscles of the face and neck to release the tension.

Lynda does plenty of work around my sinus area on my face which I'm hoping will get rid of my sniffles. She shows me the side of the face she has worked on half way through, pointing out how much healthier and youthful that side of the face looks.

It does look different. It puts me in mind of Jane Austen heroines, who would pinch their cheeks as a natural blusher before they went down and confronted Mr Darcy or whoever.

By the time she's done the other half, I probably wouldn't be allowed in a pub without ID. All right, wishful thinking, but I look pretty darn healthy and positively dewy.

Even Lynda's surprised. She says this look will remain for two or three days. Most of her devotees book in for a group of four or five treatments over five weeks and there is a cumulative effect, she says.

A teeny, apologetic pimple emerges by the following morning. But I soon send this on its way with a dollop of Clearasil. Lynda says the massage can work either way; sometimes it will clear up pimples.

And my sinuses are definitely clearer.

Next week:

I think my allergy to dust mites is giving me the sniffles and a scratchy throat at the moment so I've decided to consult with allergies and asthma expert at the Auckland School of Medicine, Professor Innes Asher.