Masseurs find narcissists easy prey

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Masseurs find narcissists easy prey

Beauty shops are deceiving gullible consumers by claiming they can make their faces smaller or help them grow taller without providing any evidence, the FTC said yesterday.

Korea is famous as a country where people of both sexes and various ages enjoy going under the knife, with double-eyelid operations, silicone implants in the breasts and nose and jawbone-shaving operations all unlikely to cause raised eyebrows among friends or colleagues.

One of the hottest new trends among local beauticians is more controversial, however, if only by sheer virtue of its audacity. Masseurs claim they can sculpt facial muscles and compress the bone structure to make people’s faces look smaller and cuter by a technique that literally translates as “high-vessel massage” - and, bizarrely, people are buying it.

A total of 13 shops that put up bogus advertisements online or by distributing leaflets about their massage services were ordered to correct their wrongdoings, the FTC said. Four of them were slapped with a combined fine of 30 million won ($27,860).

Beauty Made, which was given the largest fine of 11 million won, said its massage stimulates pressure points so people can grow taller. Beau People, which merited the second-highest penalty of 10 million won, promised customers would watch the pounds drop off after spending a session with its masseurs’ healing hands. Unlike with diets, their weight would not balloon up and down, it vowed.

One customer had a tooth broken by an overly enthusiastic masseur, while another reported having problems with her jaw after spending 1.25 million won on facial treatments. Other beauty shops guaranteed they could reduce the contours of customers’ faces by 15 percent, preying on many Korean women’s fear of having an overly square-shaped jaw line.


By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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