You might think applying leeches to a person’s skin has long been consigned to the days of plague, pestilence and people slopping their waste out the window onto rat infested streets.
However, the ‘thousand year old’ therapy has just been used to help cure a woman’s facial acne. Well, they do say vintage beauty treatments are in vogue right now…
Squeamish footage has appeared which shows four slimy, green leeches squirming around on the woman’s forehead, cheeks and chin. Not exactly a relaxing day at the beauty parlour.
The woman, who is from China, looks remarkably calm as the wriggly creatures slurp on her skin, apparently hungrily sucking away her pimples.
The footage – which was uploaded to Chinese website qq.com on September 18 – shows the unusual beautician applying and positioning the moist leeches using a cotton bud.
Cheerfully discussing the slippery procedure, the beautician explains to her patient how the leeches could well improve the smoothness of her skin.
She also claims they are capable of removing age spots, all with the power of their tiny yet mighty mouths.
According to Healthline:
Medicinal leeches have three jaws with tiny rows of teeth.
They pierce a person’s skin with their teeth and insert anticoagulants through their saliva.
The leeches are then allowed to extract blood, for 20 to 45 minutes at a time, from the person undergoing treatment.
This equates to a relatively small amount of blood, up to 15 millilitres per leech.
You can watch the slimy spa day for yourself below:
The beautician can be heard to claim, ‘There’s no side effects or complications, it’s all natural.’
However, those considering having any sort of leech therapy need to be aware of potential side effects such as infections and bleeding, and should consult with a GP beforehand.
Remember, just because a treatment is natural doesn’t mean it won’t have unwanted complications.
According to Healthline:
People with anemia, blood clotting conditions, or compromised arteries are not candidates for leech therapy.
Children under the age of 18 years old and women who are pregnant are also usually advised to avoid it.
Up until around the 20th century, leeches were used regularly to help with a number of ailments, from tonsillitis to piles.
According to Healthline, leech therapy is currently undergoing a revival:
Since the time of ancient Egypt, leeches have been used in medicine to treat nervous system abnormalities, dental problems, skin diseases, and infections.
Today, they’re mostly used in plastic surgery and other microsurgery. This is because leeches secrete peptides and proteins that work to prevent blood clots.
These secretions are also known as anticoagulants. This keeps blood flowing to wounds to help them heal.
According to the NHS, leeches can be used in some cases of reconstructive surgery and can help improve blood flow in a tissue area or skin flap with poor blood circulation.
However, the NHS has not advised whether or not leeches should be used in beauty treatments such as acne removal.
Leech therapy has been used for centuries. Would you try it? pic.twitter.com/tmDmqFcbP3
— INSIDER (@thisisinsider) October 7, 2017
Acne can be a pain, but there are much safer and less icky ways to treat it, which you can check out here.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.