Insider Interviews: Sarah Bradden: Facialist & Cosmetic Acupuncturist
Cosmetic acupuncturist Sarah Bradden has merged a range of disciplines and technologies, from traditional holistic practices to the high-tech, to create her signature Bradden Method.by Tess de Vivie de Régie
Devotees swear by her facial treatments for their ability to lift and refresh the complexion while simultaneously addressing a host of issues throughout the body, including energy, digestion and sleep. Here, Sarah reveals how her personal health struggles led to her career, as well as sharing her rules for better skin from the inside out and the tool she dubs a ‘human iPhone charger’.
Job Title: Founder of The Bradden Method
Location: Hershesons Belgravia, London
Famous For: Creating her signature cosmetic acupuncture treatment
Clients/Fans Include: Poppy Delevingne, Lisa Snowdon, Rachel Stevens
Years in the Industry: 20
In my early thirties, I became really ill which seriously affected my immune system and the condition of my skin. I was advised to try acupuncture and very quickly, it became the root to my recovery – inside and out. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to treat a variety of different symptoms to help reverse the damage, and inspire the confidence and strength to help my clients look and feel their very best again – after all, I know first-hand what they’re experiencing. Having found my own personal healing through acupuncture, I’m proof that the right treatment makes you physically and mentally stronger on the inside and brighter, happier and more youthful on the outside.
At the beginning, my business was born from my personal journey and back then it was simply a case of wanting to use my experience to heal others – I never intended for it to have the impact it does today. From that point of view, I didn’t really see the challenges as hurdles and looking back I think that my naivety meant I didn’t ever feel like a failure. That said, today clients definitely want much more from a treatment and are looking for therapies with benefits on multiple levels including aesthetics, so I’m constantly looking at ways of evolving and improving.
In terms of my big break, I was lucky that when I started, word of mouth spread quickly and organically. The lovely Lisa Snowdon was my first celebrity client. She loved how powerful the treatment was and shared her experience on Instagram which resulted in a flurry of press enquiries and people wanting to book. Lisa has remained a good friend and I still treat all of those early clients today.
I vividly remember that from around the age of eight, I would get a sense of smell about someone which would reveal if they were feeling poorly. I thought this was a really normal thing to do at the time and now I know that diagnosing by scent isn’t the norm. As I got older, I learnt how to use these skills in different ways, and now have the ability to read a person’s energy via colour while also picking up on the way someone moves, talks, the lines on their face, their ears – it’s quite remarkable what I can find out without having to get the client to say a word.
Some clients assume that cosmetic acupuncture is going to be painful, however that’s not the case. I believe in gentle needling to get incredible results and use specialist needles to softly apply acupuncture techniques that help relax facial tissue, define, sculpt and encourage renewed circulation. Sometimes you may feel a tiny pinch or prick at first and these sensations may feel more sensitive in some places and not others which is normal. I always tell clients to let me know if they ever feel discomfort, so that I stop and continue only when they feel comfortable.
While The Bradden Method is often described as a ‘spiritual reset and facelift’ because of the unique combination of holistic and tech therapies involved, I specifically designed both the original 90-minute treatment and the 45-minute Bradden Boost as a targeted 360-degree health and anti-ageing therapy. Incorporating new biohacking technologies with cosmetic acupuncture and TCM healing practices, every treatment is a personalised therapy that helps to reset and recalibrate your parasympathetic nervous system, boost immunity, increase energy levels and give skin a renewed glow. It includes cosmetic acupuncture and acupressure massage to sculpt, LED light therapy to stimulate collagen and elastin production, activated oxygen to enhance the body’s repair mechanisms, the Infrared HigherDose PEMF Mat to ease pain and stress and ear seeds for continuous acupressure benefits, during and after your treatment. Ultimately, by creating homeostasis within the system, this intense approach restores balance, leading to improved health, a more youthful appearance and a positive, calm state of mind and wellbeing.
Post-Covid, we’re now more aware that we need to look after ourselves from a 360-degree perspective, hence the growing trend for adopting specific body-hacking applications in pursuit of physical and emotional enhancement. I’m looking forward to exploring new ways to improve my clients’ cellular health by combining high-tech wellness, including infrared PEMF therapy (standing for Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field, these mats employ electromagnetic waves to accelerate recovery on a cellular level), with traditional practises such as acupuncture, yoga and meditation to have a greater impact in terms of slowing down the ageing process and promoting better health inside and out. Essentially, it’s not about how long we live, but how well we live.
My tips for a lifted complexion and improving wellbeing:
Daily facial exercises and facial massage really help to tone and lift the skin. You can do this at home during and after cleansing. To start, give yourself enough time to thoroughly cleanse your face and follow with a firm facial massage. Never drag the skin so use a balm-based cleanser or serum to ensure that your hands and fingertips move easily across your face and neck using upward movements. This instantly stimulates blood flow and oxygen which helps plump up skin to give you the glow you want and create a healthy and hydrated base ready for your makeup.
Remember that there’s no such thing as a ‘quick-fix’, especially if you are trying to reverse years of sun damage or want to address pigmentation. Achieving and maintaining good skin while improving your skin’s health is an investment in terms of time and routine.
I usually recommend regular treatments over a minimum of 12 weeks which is the time it takes for our cellular cycle to repair, meaning you’ll see a vast improvement and achieve that magic glow inside and out! To me, good, happy skin should look and feel hydrated, firm and plump.
Use acupressure to calm and clear the mind. One of my favourite points to help you relax is the Yin Tang. You can do this anywhere but ideally try to find somewhere quiet to sit, away from screens, your phone and interruptions. Firstly, take your index finger and place it in-between your eyebrows. Next, relax the face, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths while you apply light pressure in a circular, rotating motion. Do this on repeat for a few seconds throughout the day or whenever you need a mindfulness boost.
Drink homemade bone broth. This is my absolute go-to remedy. I drink between three to four cups every day – even during the summer. Packed full of nutrients, it’s healing medicine for the body and the best collagen-boosting drink I can recommend.
HigherDOSE Red Light Face Mask: I’m a huge fan of light therapy and this at-home mask combines both red and near-infrared LED technologies in a really innovative design. Light therapy is a gentle, non-invasive treatment that mimics low-level rejuvenating wavelengths found in natural sunlight, and this mask warms the skin, boosts your mood, improves brain function and enhances your natural glow. I use it at home and take it with me when I travel.
Fascia Massage tool: Fascia massage tools are the absolute best for face sculpting, draining lymphatic fluid and helping to relax and encourage plump, healthy and vibrant skin. They also help to relieve tension around the jawline which can be really ageing if ignored.
MZ Skin Cleanse & Clarity Cleanser: I use this as a multi-functional cleanser and mask. Carefully formulated with a blend of alpha hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes, it gently exfoliates without stripping the skin, helping to even out my complexion and give me an incredible glow!
HigherDOSE Infrared PEMF Mat: Put simply this mat combines three amazing therapies in one and I use this at home and in my treatments to help ease and repair a multitude of lifestyle stresses. You can feel it working almost instantly and I often refer to it as my human iPhone charger.
Hairdresser: Conor McLaughlin at Hershesons Belgravia – he’s an absolute hair wizard and brilliant stylist. I’ve been going to see Conor for nearly a year and his ability to cut and style means I never have a bad hair day.
Dermatologist/Skin Doctor: Dr Maryam Zamani is a ‘woman on a mission’ spinning multiple plates to make the world better. I really admire the fact that she’s grown her business MZ Skin with 100% integrity and purpose, and balances her medical training with a holistic approach to ensure her treatments complement her clients and their overall wellbeing, as opposed to just delivering dramatic changes. She makes sure that you only have the treatment you need, not want. She’s the real deal.
Wellness: I always invest in a good vitamin drip and visit Dr Tamsin Lewis once a month for a Wellgevity IV drip, a unique combination of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes or whatever my body needs at the time. I emerge feeling like a totally new person.
Eyelashes: I don’t like a heavy lash and can always rely on Asma Docrat of Boudoir Lashes to apply really lovely, natural lashes that suit me and my eye shape.
Brows: Suman Jalaf. What can I say? She’s the queen of brows.
Favourite Spa Destination: Six Senses Ibiza. From the moment you arrive, it feels like stepping into another world. The team greet you with the most calming welcome ceremony which makes you feel instantly relaxed. The rest of the experience is pure bliss. They make you never want to leave but when you do, you’re ready to face life again.
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