Chris Patten's bags are well and truly packed but before members of the Chinese Politburo get excited, the only place he could be heading is to the master bedroom of Government House for some much-needed rest. The wear and tear of life in the political arena - and no doubt his heart problem last year - has been etched deeply on the Governor's face and Hong Kong people are worried, so much so one faithful follower took the opportunity provided by a public forum to recommend the Chinese herb called ling-zhi for the bags under his eyes. But what about the broken capillaries, the jowls and the pallid complexion? ELAINE KING asked the experts how they would save the Guv's face and the solutions ranged from the relatively quick but rather drastic cut of a plastic surgeon's knife to a simple cut at the hairdressers and a trim of the old nostril hairs. We found the quickest way to knock 10 years off Mr Patten, however, was to doctor his image using the latest computer technology. Whatever, if any, course Mr Patten decides to take, he can be assured of a discount. PLASTIC SURGERY According to a leading plastic surgeon, bags are caused by bulging fat under the eyes. Everybody has this fat deposit, but as you get older the skin tissue loses elasticity and allows the fat to protrude. 'To improve the Governor's appearance we could surgically remove some of the fat and trim the excess skin to reduce wrinkles,' he said. 'Once the fat was removed we would assess how much skin needed to be taken off. The procedure is done under local anaesthetic. Stitches can be removed after the third or fourth day and healing is fast. The Governor would be quite presentable after a week. He should be assured this kind of cosmetic surgery doesn't change features - he'll still look like Chris Patten, but minus the bags.' Sleep was another recommendation. To dispose of those jowls, the fat would be sucked out from an incision behind the ear. Bruising would last for about 10 days but the scar would be invisible within two to three weeks. A neck lift may be required if there was a problem with loose skin after the fat was suctioned. This is considered a major procedure. COST Bag removal: from $10,000 to $20,000. Jowl removal: prices vary upwards from $20,000. CHINESE MEDICINE AND ACUPUNCTURE Practitioner of Chinese medicine and acupuncture specialist Troy Sing had 'read' Mr Patten's face from the newspaper. 'It appears that lymphatic fluid caused from a sluggish circulatory system has accumulated in his upper body,' he said. 'In Chinese medicine we say that the fluid metabolism in the body is regulated by 'lung meridian energy' and that when this is deficient one gets swelling in the upper part of the body, particularly the face and around the eyes. The redness in his cheeks is indicative of a heart meridian disorder. 'To treat him I would use a combination of acupuncture and simple breathing exercises to help circulate lung meridian energy. For 10 minutes every day Mr Patten should fill his lungs to about three quarters capacity by breathing into his lower abdomen, holding his breath for three to eight seconds, exhaling, holding his breath for another eight seconds, and then repeating the cycle. This will help increase his circulation and stimulate his lymphatic drainage. It should also take some of the strain off his heart by letting the diaphragm [which is the second biggest blood pump in the body] do some of the work. If he follows this routine he should have some dramatic results after a couple of months.' Acupuncture to his wrist would stimulate lung function, below his knees it would improve his general circulation, and in his lower feet it would help with stress. 'He should only drink parsley tea [no Western tea or coffee] which will act as a diuretic and improve his fluid retention. He could also do with some Chinese medicine - PSP [poly sacharide peptide, a protein isolated from a mushroom in the ling-zhi family]which will increase his general immunity and act as an overall tonic.' COST. Consultation: $300 each with a minimum of six to 10 required. Acupuncture: About $1800 for a minimum of six treatments. HOMEOPATHY Hong Kong homeopath Graeme Stuart Bradshaw said: 'The first things that need to be worked on are his circulation and kidneys - this could be done by using kidney tonic herbs [adaptogens] which help build up energy and resilience after someone has been under prolonged stress. The famous Chinese herb, ling-zhi [ganoderma lucidum], is a good adaptogen and would be a starting point for the Governor. He also needs nutrients to build up circulation. Vitamin C with Bioflavenoids [they go with vitamin C in nature] are good for strengthening capillaries and are also a major stress nutrient - these would improve the broken veins on his face.' COST Initial consultation: $650 including tests. Ling-zhi: About $200 for a month's supply, used for three months. Vitamin supplement: $80-$100 a month, used long-term. BEAUTY THERAPY Lucy Whittaker, of the Beautiful Skin Centre, said as long as the bags were not hereditary they could be treated with a firming eye-gel which contained collagen or elastin (proteins found naturally in the skin). 'Ongoing use of an eye cream and a course ofsalon treatments could significantly help, but he should also get more sleep and drink more water,' she said. 'We use a mild electrical current [not enough to even warm a cup of water] in conjunction with collagen gel. After that, we put a collagen sheet and collagen ampoule on the eye area which adheres to the skin for 10 to 15 minutes and has a cooling, decongestant effect.' Broken capillaries, again providing they were not hereditary, would be treated by the latest laser technology called a blend machine. 'A needle is surgically inserted and a mild electrical current is discharged which cauterises the vein. It is 90 per cent successful providing dietary changes [including avoiding excess alcohol] are made and the sun is avoided.' Ms Whittaker said she would give the Governor an ionithermie facial to firm his chin. 'This involves using a mild electrical current [faradic] which goes into one part of the muscle and out the other causing it to tense and release, and thus tone. At the same time a galvanic current causes deep absorption of the treatment product we use on his face. Massage with toning ampoules and electrodes under his chin [which would emit current to help absorption of creams] would also be used.' COST Bag removal: five weekly treatments at $350 each, or $280 each for a package deal. Broken capillary treatment: $190 for a 15-minute session. Length of treatment depends on the size of the affected area. Firming chin: $495 a session for at least five treatments. HOLISTIC HEALING Nancy Bekhor, director of the Vital Life Centre and a qualified nutritionist, was relieved someone had at last pointed Mr Patten's bags out. 'I have been meaning to write to him for ages because his problems can be treated the natural way,' she said. 'He needs a good detoxification diet. A fruit fast would perhaps be necessary, but we would need to see him to be able to accurately assess his condition. Once he had been cleaned out we could start him on a good re-building herb programme. There are no short cuts; we need to address the past and the future for him to really be healthy.' Ms Bekhor suggested aromatherapy massages for removing toxins by stimulating and draining the lymph glands. 'A good massage really helps the body's natural garbage cleansing process. The body is a natural healer, but it needs to be balanced to be able to work effectively. Reflexology can also remove toxins and increase the vitality of the whole body so I would also recommend that. Once the toxins are removed, Mr Patten's body can do what it needs to do.' COST Aromatherapy and reflexology: $350 each a session. Treatment is ongoing. HAIRDRESSING Norman McLeod, of Andre Norman Hairdressing Salon, would simply tidy up Mr Patten's locks. 'His hair looks extremely fine and straight which means it probably has double and triple crowns and would stick up if cut too short. I would keep his hair heavy andlonger on top so it doesn't stick up, but graduate the sides and back so that he has more of an Oxford College boy style. The colour is fine the way it is; men of his age look better with natural grey hair than with dyed hair.' COST Hair cut: $420.