If you want the kind of doll-like face K-stars all seem to have, you have two options: plastic surgery or Korean face-shaping treatments. One is expensive, with downtime. The other hurts a hella lot.

Now there’s a third option – Japanese Small Face Therapy. It sounds like an upgrade: You get a slimmer face, in a painless, nearly permanent manner. The only thing: It costs $3,000 a session, or $6,000 for three sessions, if your face is particularly bloated.

Small Face Therapy was created by a Japanese chiropractor. According to the original schedule, one of his team of five chiropractors from his salons in Japan visits Singapore for a week once a month, operating from Kogao Seisakusho salon in Cantonment Road. Clients make an appointment through IG (@small_face_therapy).  

I managed to try it before the circuit breaker set in, with Master Shibagaki, a 10-year veteran whose clients include Japanese celebrities such as comedian Naomi Watanabe and model Anne Nakamura. He says: “Small Face Therapy is a healthcare approach with beauty benefits.” 

How it works: The gaps between the facial bones are pushed together, so the width of your temples, cheeks, ears and chin, is reduced; he measures these areas before and after the session.

Somehow, the words “pushing”, “bones” and “no pain” don’t go together. But Dr Chia Hui Ling, a consultant plastic surgeon from SW1 Clinic, says you’re unlikely to come to harm: “It would take a high impact to break the facial bones, so fractures are unlikely.”

During the hour-long session, all I feel is a gentle pushing on the temples, cheekbones, cheek hollows, jawline and behind my ears, mostly in an upward direction. It’s relaxing and I fall asleep twice.

Do I now look different? Slightly. My jaw is more pulled back and lifted, and my chin is narrower. I’m not imagining it: There’s a 3.5cm decrease in the four areas measured – but friends can only say that I look “better”.

Dr Chua thinks the changes are not permanent. “Forcefully compressing the face will not contour any tissues to give a smaller face. It may push away fluid to give a temporary ‘deflated’ smaller face.”

Three weeks on, my face hasn’t “bounced back”. It may well do so in time, but for now, seeing my “new” face in the mirror makes me feel that little bit chirpier.

This article was first published in Her World’s June 2020 issue.