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Cryofacial at pH Clinic Sydney
Photograh: Supplied/pH Clinic

We tried Sydney's most extreme health and beauty treatments. Here's what happened

From deep freezing your whole body to abs without the exercise and Beyoncé's preferred facial, we road tested them all

Written by
Maxim Boon
Elizabeth McDonald
Alannah Le Cross

The pursuit of obtaining and enhancing beauty is an age-old preoccupation. So it stands to reason that as our civilisations have become more sophisticated, so too have the means by which we give ourselves a glow-up. 

With a deluge of celebrity endorsements making OTT beauty treatments like blood-soaked 'vampire facials' and stem-cell cleansers essentially passé, there’s now a new wave of cutting-edge treatments in the health and beauty space gaining popularity in Australia after getting footholds in Europe and the States. 

From procedures that melt fat and enhance muscles with minimal effort, to deep freezing your body and hydra-boosting your skin, the Time Out Sydney team has visited some of the city's most elite clinics and salons to see what all the fuss is about. You may roll your eyes, but the Goop-ification of the wellness world continues – and the results are, honestly, often impressive.

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The wildest new health and beauty treatments you can try in Sydney

Colonic Hydrotherapy
Photograph: Supplied/pH Clinic

Colonic Hydrotherapy

Did you know that we’re all full of crap? Literally. The human body can hold up to five kilograms of faeces at any given time. In line with the growing awareness about the importance of gut health to our overall wellbeing, the poop-ularity of colonic hydrotherapy, also known as ‘colonic irrigation’ or simply a ‘colonic’, has been flush with interest in recent years.

We went to pH Clinic in the Northern Beaches, where they have two designated treatment rooms with the latest medical grade German technology for this specific offering. The aim of the colonic is to help with digestive health and bloating, which may be due to the consumption of certain medications, processed foods, toxins, alcohol and stress.

If you’ve ever had a pap smear, you’d be familiar with the set-up of laying on an examination bed with your pants off and your knees up. But this is an altogether different experience, plus the room smells like essential oils. The process involves your colon being flushed out with liquid over a handful of cycles, with gentle but effective water pressure rinsing out the build-up inside you. We opted for the standard treatment with alkalised water, but the clinic also offered coffee and probiotic colonics. The friendly registered practitioner will talk you through each step along the way, asking you to roll to one side as a nozzle is fixed into your, erm, back door. The practitioner will then guide you and listen out for discomfort through the whole process, also providing a gentle stomach massage to ease things along. It might be the only time in your life that someone earnestly tells you “Well done!” for passing wind.

If you’re feeling curious, you can peek over to watch the pipe framed in a clear window of the extraction device as all manner of 'stuff' pass through. When the treatment is done, a toilet with a squatty potty is just off your treatment room so you can relieve yourself of anything else still lingering in there. The pain and discomfort level is mild, similar to some period cramps, or the feeling of suddenly really needing to poop. Afterwards, you’ll be feeling lighter than ever (and you might not go number two again for about three days, which we're told is normal).

Cost: $150-$170 per session. It is recommended to do at least three sessions. Some people go monthly.

If you’re the kind of person who constantly blames their spotty gym attendance on being time-poor, we’ve got the workout for you. But it also ain’t for the faint of heart. EMS training (that’s Electro Muscle Stimulation for the newbies) is a cutting-edge shortcut to rock-hard abs and a butt you could bounce a coin off.

We gave it a red hot go at Exolt EMS in Drummoyne. EMS training was developed in Germany, because of course it was, and one session packs a one-hour high-intensity workout into a tight 20 minutes. Essentially, you do a HIIT circuit while wearing a suit that twitches your muscles for you, meaning a significantly greater number of muscle contractions while you squat, lift, and crunch your way to success. So, was it worth it? There’s no denying that this method is efficient. Even during the session you’ll feel the burn, but that’s nothing compared to the days that will follow.

Cost: $40-$120 per week. Different levels of membership have different prices and benefits.

Photograph: pH Clinic/Valtteri Hirvonen


You might not think that stripping down and stepping into a tube that blasts your body with freezing cold liquid nitrogen mist sounds like self care, but this is actually a trending treatment for a range of ailments, and it also promotes better inner health and even outer beauty. pH Clinic has sourced a state-of-the-art Cryobody CTN full body Cabin that can reach temperatures of minus 160 degrees, and a localised XCryo treatment device for spot treatments, both all the way from Finland.

On arrival for your treatment, you’re provided with gloves and booties to protect your extremities, as well as a fluffy gown for modesty – you'll wear your own most comfortable undies into the cabin (underwire bras are prohibited). The treatment lasts two to three minutes and the cold air circulation gradually builds in intensity. Your head stays above the cabin, and a trained technician stays with you throughout the session monitoring your body’s response.

So, why? For starters, it feels better than an ice bath and it's more effective. Cryotherapy stimulates anti-inflammatory proteins, promoting mobility and circulation. The increase in blood flow stimulates and kickstarts muscle cell turnover and hence initiates deep repair. This can be very helpful in treating chronic and complex pain syndromes, relieving sports-related injuries, decreasing joint stiffness and initiating a reduction in arthritis-related suffering. The treatment can also boost collagen production, promoting anti-aging and skin rejuvenation. We tried the localised cryofacial, where three two-minute rounds of ice cold air blast your face through a mask that has blue LED lights inside. You can control the intensity yourself, but we couldn’t make past the second of three settings. You’ll feel like you’ve face-planted into an arctic tundra, but in a refreshing way. A mild ache may spread through any tense muscles, but the feeling is temporary and the payoff is therapeutic, with a similar post-treatment feel to a massage. 

Cost: $79 per session for full-body, $49 for localised treatments. Bulk packs available.

Ever wanted a facelift without the trouble of invasive surgery, or botox without the face-freezing intensity? Step right this way. Skin Boost offers PDO and COG threads at their CBD and Mosman clinics. This is a ‘minimal invasion’, biodegradable treatment used to achieve the technique of ‘thread-lifting’. With either a barbed or smooth design, Bio-Threads are inserted under skin using a cannula or needle – no incisions necessary. They can either be used for a sort of non-surgical facelift, threaded and tightened along one’s jawline to lift sagging skin, or to lift other areas of the face. They can also be applied to various areas of the face to target particular ‘aesthetic concerns’ by promoting collagen production, increasing volume and lift similar to the effect of botox. Once inserted, Bio-Threads are absorbed by the body over six to eight months and will eventually completely dissolve, and the results can last up to 12-24 months, but be warned, side effects that can occur include bruising, swelling, headache, pain, superficial displacement and skin dimpling.

The facelift-like procedure is generally only recommended for older folks without the supple skin of a 30-something, and weight fluctuations are something to be wary of when you’re moving your face about and pinning it up.

Cost: treatments start at $250 for fine areas and $350-$650 for crow’s feet, jaw, cheeks and other areas. Results last for 12-24 months. 


Do you want the smoothest, most supple skin you’ve ever had? The posters claim that this is the very facial that Beyoncé gets to maintain her superstar glow, and honestly, we’re buying it. The HydraFacial is a three-step treatment administered with an electronically powered device that uses patented vortex technology to deliver hydration and to remove dead skin, dirt, debris, and impurities while cleaning and soothing your skin. It penetrates the layers of the face for deep exfoliation, cleansing, extraction, and hydration.

Rigged up to a machine that looks a bit like a mad science experiment with a computer screen and various tubes and apparatus attached, the HydraFacial tool, expertly wielded by your dermal clinician, kind of looks like a chunky vape pen with a suction nozzle. This nozzle is walked along your face, imbuing your skin with serums and exfoliants and the like, while vacuuming up deep blemishes with the glee of a little succer fish giving you lots of enthusiastic kisses.

The results are instant and the signature treatment we tried gives you some of the benefits of a chemical peel with instant results and no downtime to wait out inflammation or flaking. The ingredients used in each stage are a combination of clinical and botanical, with red algae extract calming the skin. Suitable for all skin types, the facial can even assist with acne and reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pores. At the end, your face will be massaged with a Vitamin C serum that smells like a Christmas ham (in a good way).

The treatment takes about 30 minutes and is available at Skin Boost’s CBD and Mosman clinics. (Hot tip: at the end of your facial, make sure your clinician shows you the glass canister filled with all the stuff that came out of your skin. As the milky liquid settles you'll see whiteheads and dead skin flakes float to the bottom, cool!) The signature treatment starts at $200, and you can add on additional treatments like LED therapy if you’re keen. We’re told the results get better each time. If money was no object, this is the monthly facial we’d treat ourselves to. 

Cost: signature HydraFacial treatments start at $200, bulk packs and add-ons available. It is recommended to return for monthly treatments.

All bodies are beautiful, but for those Sydneysiders who prize having a beach bod, a considerable amount of time in the gym can be the tradeoff. So, what if you could shave hours off of your workouts and achieve the physique of your dreams with minimal gym time? That’s the promise of truSculpt, a state-of-the-art duo of treatments that can not only tone your muscles but also zap your fat, available at Skin Boost in Mosman and the CBD.

Using monopolar RF – a system that focuses radio waves to ‘therapeutically heat’ fat cells – truSculpt iD can kill off subcutaneous fat which the body then naturally processes as a waste product. Gone are the physically traumatic days of liposuction in this space-age era of non-surgical fat reduction, and because there are no needles, scaples or even a bandaid required, there’s no downtime whatsoever. Even more remarkably, the treatment lasts just 15 minutes, although it takes several weeks for the body to process the dead fat cells so the results can take up to three months to show.

Once you’ve zapped your excess fat, it’s time to tighten those muscles. That’s where truSculpt Flex comes in. This is the latest generation of muscle electro-stimulation tech, which passes a current through muscle fibres, forcing them to contract. There are three levels – ‘Prep’ for beginners; ‘Tone’ for intermediate users; and ‘Sculpt’ for those ready for maximum intensity. TruSculpt can be used on any part of the body except for the chest or back (it’s not a good idea to electro-shock your heart, apparently), and individual sessions take 15 minutes. We tried the ‘Sculpt’ setting but could only manage 40 per cent of the full charge – muscles are good, but not flexing into the shape of a pretzel is gooder.

Cost: $300-$1800 per session for truSculpt iD; $499-$749 per session for truSculpt Flex. Packages available and all new bookings for either iD or Flex at Skin Boost can enjoy a 50 per cent discount on their first session.


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