An Interview with Marieliz Unwin for Wowowow.com by Joan Juliet Buck 7/14/2010
JOAN: This is Joan Juliet Buck for Wowowow and I’m talking to Marieliz Unwin, who is the secret weapon of the most beautiful women in New York. Your company is called MU. What do I call what you do?
MARIELIZ: I work with health, beauty and spirit, and I am a holistic healer and a teacher, and what I do is to regenerate the body, the face and the spirit.
JOAN: Your facials are like non-invasive facelifts. Where does that come from? You were born in Chile, and you were part of Arica. Can you tell us a bit about Arica?
MARIELIZ: Arica is a mystical school; I learned group therapy, meditation, yoga. Arica really gave me the foundation to all the practices I use today. I learned about how the psyche and the body interact with one another. I learned, most importantly, how everything is energy and how to bring energetic harmony to the body. So it was a very important part of my training. It made a lot of sense to me to study Oriental medicine. It’s all energy.
JOAN: You were first known in New York as a remarkable acupuncturist.
MARIELIZ: I started to practice it in New York in 1994. I started studying acupuncture with a Japanese master when I was very young, in my teens.
JOAN: How did you move into working on women’s beauty?
MARIELIZ: It happened organically. I was starting to age, like all of us, and I thought I don’t want to go down the route of cutting my face and doing things that are in contradiction with what I believe. So I did a lot of research for a year and a half, in Europe, Asia and here. I discovered this wonderful equipment, the latest technology for the face, which was not in contradiction with anything I was doing. I was happy to find it. It really regenerates the cells, and it works with the body, it works with energy. It’s a very similar in principle to acupuncture, but without any pain, no discomfort at all. So I use these microcurrent treatments, which are fantastic; and some herbal products to help detoxification of toxins and fluids and fat; and we also use lymphatic drainage, which is wonderful for excess fluid.
JOAN: Lymphatic drainage is the great European secret.
MARIELIZ: It’s just starting to pick up here. It’s taken a long time. But it’s another secret to beauty. You have to get rid of excess toxins and fluid in the face to really have a beautiful face that is plump and without pouches under the eyes.
JOAN: You talk a lot about the effect of emotions on a woman’s beauty, of the mental and spiritual state, and you work on that as well, don’t you?
MARIELIZ: In fact, I have a lot of psychotherapists and psychiatrists sending me patients because I have developed a whole method of working with the emotional being. I saw how much our emotions that were not healthily processed were being either suppressed or acted out. They were hurting our bodies and producing illnesses, conditions, symptoms and they were also hurting our faces. With time the face gets distorted, the same way our bodies do, because there’s a lack of circulation, there’s a lack of energy flow. Certain emotions that we visit more often become crystallized in our face. The mouth, for instance, goes down very pronouncedly, and that comes directly from discomfort with a deeply rooted emotion. So I work in a very deep way, releasing these emotions. I don’t do analysis, but I work with therapists, and I complement what they do by working deeply in the body. The body tells us the truth of how the person is feeling.
JOAN: That’s very much the center of your idea of beauty, right?
MARIELIZ: Yes. Yes. The body tells us always the truth. The mind tricks us. The mind will tell us a thousand lies, it takes us in circles. But the body will always tell us the truth; and I use that route to reach the emotions, because the emotions up to now have always been analyzed by the mind. And I discovered in working with people, in my experiential work, that really it’s not that way. The emotions have their own language; it has no logic whatsoever. It has its own language, it’s own way of expressing itself and we cannot get to emotions and release them through the mind. We need to go through the body.
JOAN: The client comes to a beautiful room in your very private, hidden salon in the Ansonia ...
MARIELIZ: We have a round room, which I love. The first time that somebody comes, I do an intake, complete about medical history, their whole being. I take in information; I ask questions; I listen; I pay attention to symptoms, observe every detail. After I do that I do a diagnosis, based on my clinical experience, and also on my intuition. I design a different treatment for each client. They lie on a table, very relaxed with some very wonderful music, very soft. And the idea is to take this person completely away from everything for an hour, an hour and a half. Everything stops in that moment. Cell phones are off. I help the person to release and relax the mind so that they’re not thinking what is next, to be very present right in this moment when I’m with them. I help them to go deeper into their bodies, into how they’re feeling, what they’re sensing. And then I use whatever is the best for that person. I use different tools: meditation; yoga, sometimes; acupuncture; massage; Chi Gong; and of course the treatment for the face and the body, which is very regenerative. People always say, "Can I just stay here."
JOAN: How many sessions does it take for you to really rejuvenate a face?
MARIELIZ: It varies from person to person. I believe very much in starting young. Medicine should be preventative. People in their 20s and 30s can start coming twice a year, or before a party or something special. Then in their 40s, once a month, to prevent things from starting to change. At 45 things change a little faster – a few more wrinkles, a little more sagging, and people notice it and are starting to look for solutions. At that point I suggest twice a month for a few months and then, to maintain it, once a month. If somebody’s starting that young, at 40 or 45, they can maintain it at that level and it would really avoid having wrinkles. I have clients who are 47 and don’t have one wrinkle, nothing. They’re constantly thought of as being in their 20s, which is sometimes wonderful and sometimes can be a problem!
JOAN: And later?
MARIELIZ: In the 50s up to 60, once a week for 3 months, and then twice a month. By the 50s, you’re already having some more pronounced sagging and wrinkles, so now we need to start restoring the face and we need to bring back energy to the body. My treatment energizes every cell in you. It works efficiently and fast, but each person is different: How do you sleep? How do you eat? How much do you rest? Genes count to a certain point. If you start at 65, you need to come twice or three times a week, depending on how much damage there has been, and to continue doing that for about 3 months, then the next 6 months it would be once a week, and then maintain it.
JOAN: You also work on the body?
MARIELIZ: We work on the face with two instruments. One has a prod and the other one has a little bar. You barely feel them, most of the time you feel no sensation whatsoever. For the body we work with electrodes and patches that are really toning for certain areas of the body. We also have some instruments for sculpting buttocks and getting them toned. The breasts can be brought up and firmed, which is amazing. People love doing that because those two things ---after 50, they start sagging! And we don’t like our butt to be hanging down there, so it’s just a great thing to do. It feels good. It’s amazing, the first time I did it on myself I walked out of the room and I went, "Oh, my God, my butt is really in a different place right now." It’s great. It really works.
JOAN: Your work is medical as well as aesthetic?
MARIELIZ: I have people who come who have had a face lift, let’s say, and they have had headaches ever since then, or migraines. So I’ll work with that. Other people have no sensation for a very long time after surgery – a year has gone by and still they don’t have sensation, so I work with that. I use my background in Oriental medicine a lot. I use acupuncture, I use herbal products, I use some massage because I love using my hands.
JOAN: And of course you’re training other people to do your work.
MARIELIZ: I have been training other people. There’s Sarah, who’s been trained by me, in energy work, some spiritual work, and she’s also a wonderful esthetician, very knowledgeable about the face and the body.
JOAN: And you’ve also been able to correct certain plastic surgery mistakes?
MARIELIZ: Yes. I do complementary work with a few plastic surgeons, in conjunction with them. They do the surgery when it needs to be done, and what I do is this: if there’s any difference between the two breasts, I will work on that so that we can even them out. I help the healing process to be much faster. This treatment, which is very sophisticated, was used first to regenerate skin and tissue for burn victims. It works at a cellular level regenerating the skin. I can make a scar heal so fast, and very clean, without scar tissue. I’ve helped people to recover faster after surgery. It also works correcting things that have been done in the face, let’s say, with fillers or Botox or surgery. Sometimes one eye is a little lower, one eyebrow or the nose, the mouth, and it’s wonderful for correcting things like that, or bringing back the lips to a more natural aspect. You can’t control that so well with Botox and fillers.
JOAN: Quickly-- How dangerous is Botox?
MARIELIZ: There’s some talk already about how it can actually go into your brain. And even though there’s no absolute proof yet, to me just having that idea out there----- I don’t want to see people in five years hearing Botox has been taken off the market because actually goes into people’s brains, or that their cells are being damaged by Botox. So there is a danger. It’s chemical. We’re putting chemicals into our body, and my idea is that if we want to be young, we need to regenerate, we need to be in harmony with nature, with how things work.
JOAN: Is sun damage really as radical as they say?
MARIELIZ: I think sun does damage, especially nowadays. It started some years ago, but now the sun is no longer giving us the beautiful tan that it used to. It makes the skin red and patchy, with brown spots; and with age they start showing up. So I believe in protecting ourselves from the sun, especially the face. Thank God there’s new products coming out that we can take internally instead of putting all these white creams on our face. We can protect ourselves from the inside.
JOAN: Is it anything you can talk about?
MARIELIZ: They’re still not out to the public. But I know of one particular one which will be soon, it’s all-natural---because unfortunately our sunscreens do have things that can cause cancer.
JOAN: You work on weight as well?
MARIELIZ: If somebody has problems with weight, I take the person as a whole, again. It’s not just the weight, it’s their emotional self that’s usually involved in this. I work with that, I work with a diet, which is a way of life, so it can be sustained. It’s not a drastic diet, it’s something they can sustain. I’m very practical in the weight issue because I feel people are able to lose a lot of weight very fast, and then they gain it back. A woman has to be able to sustain it, so that they can feel empowered and good about themselves.
JOAN: What are the biggest threats to a woman’s beauty and wellbeing?
MARIELIZ: The biggest threat is that a woman thinks she’s going to capture her youthful vitality and beauty by cutting or filling, having to do something to the body or face that actually, in the long run, is hurting her. It goes against regeneration; it goes against who people really are. I’m all about making people feel beautiful, not making people feel they’re not good enough and not beautiful enough and comparing themselves to others, trying to be like other people. I want each person to bring out their uniqueness, their own beauty and love themselves. The real threat to women is their belief about how they need to look, how they compare themselves to models and images that the media is telling us to look like. That goes against each one of us. It hurts us instead of helping us.
JOAN: You tell people to go to bed at 10:30 and get up between 6:00 and 7:00.
MARIELIZ: If they can do that that would be wonderful, because I believe in regenerating our organs, giving that time to our body. It’s very important nowadays to realize that we need more time for ourselves, more space for ourselves, more silence for ourselves. We just have filled everything too much, and there’s no regeneration; it’s only all putting out energy.
JOAN: And now you are working on some products?
MARIELIZ: I’ve always had this idea that we need to have products in our face that are alive. Unfortunately the products that we buy usually are dead. I’m using the same idea that we have with food. We go and buy food every three days or once a week, or every day. It would be that you can pick up your products for the week. My idea would be to bring things from an upstate organic farm, and prepare daily, weekly, things. And just like you have your fresh green drink, you’ll have fresh things for your face. The difference in what it does in the skin is remarkable. It’s noticeable. People used to stop by, ring the bell in my office and, "Can you make some of that wonderful product," or that oil or whatever it was.
JOAN: This would be a serum of some kind?
MARIELIZ: I like serums better than creams nowadays. They are a better way to deliver ingredients. Some of it will be like a pulp texture and, some would be things you can just put on and go out with. And then others will be something you lie down for five minutes with. They’re yummy; you could eat them; vegetables, fruits and other ingredients, which are wonderful.
JOAN: When do you think you’ll be starting that?
MARIELIZ: I’m hoping that within the year I have things ready. It takes work to make sure that things can last at least a week. It’s easy to put something in it that makes it last for a month, but that’s not the idea. I have found some very, very good ingredients which are totally natural and they would make things last longer than hours or days.
JOAN: If somebody can’t come to you, but needs to get her looks and her life in balance, what is the one piece of advice you would give her?
MARIELIZ: I would say do something like meditation. You would expect me to tell you some product. But the truth is meditation, or silence gives us that calm and peace inside, where the face changes instantly. It becomes already better. A stressed face, a worried face, looks bad. So even if they can’t go anywhere else, if somebody does meditation or just silence, breathing, it changes the whole body immediately. Everything changes – the expression on the face, the muscles relax, people look more beautiful.
JOAN: But they look even more beautiful when they get off your table when they come to you.
MARIELIZ: Well, with a little help from your friends, it’s better.
JOAN: Marieliz, it’s been wonderful talking to you today. You’ve changed my life, you’ve changed the life of so many women I know. You are New York’s best kept secret, but I think the secret’s out.