Gong Xi Fa Cai!

In 2024, we usher in a particularly auspicious and fortuitous Zodiac Year - The Year of the Dragon (龙 lóng).

In the lead up to the 14 days of festivities, we take a look at the role that Indian sandalwood plays across Chinese ritual and worship, traditional medicine, spiritual wellness, and Zodiac.

Let the woody cloud of sandalwood incense wash over you as you melt into the firm touch of soft hands enveloping your skin and senses. Your breath becomes slower and more deliberate, your face brighter and more lifted as you experience all the joys of a Facial Massage at Heartwood.

Combining all the therapeutic and topical benefits of our Indian sandalwood, with powerful facial massage rituals, our facial therapists will treat you to an experience that’s out of this world.

In this article, Nikki O’Dwyer, Heartwood’s Director of Spa & Wellness and Head Masseuse & Aesthetician describes everything you need to know about our new Facial Massage Space.


“Each Facial Massage treatment is uniquely different, with a specific intention and purpose,” says Nikki.

“As soon as you lay back, we’ll begin lifting, sculpting, and detoxifying your facial muscles and easing all your tension using a combination of ancient and modern techniques.

“When the treatment is complete, the skin will be plump and glowing, and the facial muscles will feel lengthened, toned, and very relaxed. The visual results will speak for themselves,” she says.


Nikki believes that what sets the Heartwood Facial Massage apart from the rest are our multi-faceted techniques and products - a culmination of the expert skills and decades of experience from the Heartwood team, along with potent Indian sandalwood skincare. 

“Heartwood’s expert facial therapist team have tailored three new bespoke facial massages, and an incredible Indian Head Massage, drawing on techniques, styles, and rituals from across cultures and time.

“Ayurvedic, Chinese, Japanese, and modern massage methods are married together to give the best outcomes for skin and mind,” says Nikki.

Heartwood’s hero ingredient, Indian sandalwood, takes a starring role in the new space. Suitable for all skin types, each Facial Massage treatment has the therapists work in this “liquid gold” using a firm pressure to allow for deeper product penetration and absorption.

“Our powerful massage medium of choice is Heartwood’s very own Indian Sandalwood Facial Oil, which has numerous benefits for the skin and therapeutic properties for the mind,” said Nikki.

Sandalwood's ability to safely remedy afflictions of the skin, mind, and senses dates back over millennia to Ayurvedic origins. Modern science has now proven what the ancients knew thousands of years ago.

Indian sandalwood is packed full of alpha and beta santalols which are responsible for delivering unparalleled natural benefits and therapeutic properties for the skin.

  • Anti-inflammatory: Proven to cool, soothe, and soften the skin
  • Anti-oxidative: Proven to out-perform Vitamin-E’s anti-oxidative potency
  • Anti-proliferative: Proven to stimulate cell-cycle arrest
  • Anti-tyrosinase: Proven to lighten and brighten the skin
  • Anti-septic: Proven to defend against bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms

“Indian Sandalwood is suitable for all skin types and can be used on even the most sensitive skin to relieve any irritations or common sub-conditions. It is proven to soothe surface texture, has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and is very calming for the skin. It also has a powerful relaxation effect on the parasympathetic nervous system,” said Nikki.



Our Liquid Lift Facial massage is like Pilates for the face. This deep tissue massage is designed to lift, sculpt, tone, and contour the face from within. This massage will manually work the 40+ muscles of the face to refresh and revitalise the skin.

You’ll leave feeling uplifted and energised.


  • Face structure appears visibly lifted and sculpted
  • Muscles are lengthened and feel tighter and more toned
  • Products are deeply absorbed, providing antioxidant protection, and brighter complexion
  • Muscle tension is released, relaxing wrinkles
  • Circulation is improved bringing erythema (blood flow) to the surface
  • Collagen and elastin production increases due to stimulation of the deeper layers of the skin
  • Skin texture is softer and smoother


Focused on brightening and nourishing dull, lacklustre skin with lymphatic drainage massage techniques and the radiance-boosting Royal Treatment Sheet Mask, this massage is at once brightening, cooling and calming.

You’ll leave feeling and looking brighter and feeling more aligned.


  • The cooling effects of the mask result in a very even skin tone
  • Lymphatic drainage techniques help to remove toxins from deeper layers of the skin, improving the overall complexion
  • Brightening dark circles
  • Improving puffiness
  • The active ingredients within the serum drenched sheet mask e.g. Indian sandalwood, Kakadu Plum (Vitamin C), Licorice Root, Niacinamide (Vitamin B), Desert Lime and Quandong are worked into the deeper layers, brightening, and lightening the skin


This multitasking facial is designed to improve overall skin health and cleanse the skin from within by using detoxifying and purifying techniques, as well as drawing on more ancient methods, working with acupressure points and marma points to increase drainage and flow in our facial energy channels.

You’ll leave feeling calm, peaceful, centred, and cleansed.


  • Helps to stimulate the removal of toxins by bringing erythema to the surface
  • Speeds up the healing process from colds and flu.
  • Helps to improve congested sinuses
  • Detoxifying facial massage techniques help to strengthen and relax facial muscles
  • Helps to re-balance the sebum (oil) flow by getting rid of excess oil and toxins


The Indian Ayurvedic head massage, also known as Champissage, has been practised in India for over 1,000 years.

A firm and gentle rhythm is used to release blockages and relieve tension and pain in the head, neck, and shoulders. This treatment combines physical massage with energy healing to create a deep sense of peace.

You’ll leave with a sense of clarity, feeling deeply relaxed.


  • Helps to alleviate tension headaches, migraines, sinusitis and insomnia
  • Stimulates hair growth and improves scalp health
  • Helps to clear negative energy and locked emotions

Facial massages are a healthy way to look after your skin and can be safely done on the regular. 

Younger looking, firmer skin

The lasting benefits of regular facial massage cannot be underestimated, according to Nikki.

“Over time, with regular facial massages, the connective tissue becomes stronger resulting in tighter, firmer skin and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. Erythema will rise to the surface, increasing circulation to the facial tissue, leaving the skin brighter and more youthful,” said Nikki.

Detoxified and Brighter Complexion

“Regular facial massage also helps with lymphatic drainage that removes waste and toxins from the deeper layers of the skin, reducing swelling and puffiness,” says Nikki.

“The immediate increase of oxygen flow will awaken the skin to respond better to product absorption, to boot,” she says.

Reduced tension

“Firm routine facial massage helps to release some of that built up tension in your face muscles that are caused by daily stresses. The immediate increase of oxygen flow will awaken the skin to respond better to product absorption. Lastly, the skin heals and repairs quicker.

The firm routine facial massages help to release the built-up tension in your face muscles that are caused by daily stresses.

Improved healing

Much like a body massage encourages better performance and agility, massaging the face
will have similar effects, “By stimulating the circulatory and lymphatic systems, facial massage allows cells to repair and heal at a more rapid and efficient rate,” says Nikki.


“Invest in a high quality, natural ingredient based, active facial oil. Facial oils make a perfect massage medium!” Says Nikki.

“To restore elasticity, facial massage for skin tightening is very important, especially with products that contain nourishing natural ingredients such as Indian Sandalwood Oil. Over time, the connective tissue underneath the skin becomes much tighter and stronger, giving the face a more sculpted and contoured appearance,” she says.