Snake spa, anyone?
The word spa conjures up visions of a blissfully quiet room, soft music playing in the background and a pair of hands kneading the tension out of your back face or leg muscles. However, you are wrong if you thought that was all that a spa entailed. Hands to massage your aching back or feet are passé now, as are aromatherapy lotions and moisturising creams. The rich and famous (and perhaps a little crazy) are indulging in a whole lot of therapies which redefine the word spa. We bring you a compilation of the strangest spa therapies we have come across.
What’s the weirdest of these treatments? To us, it is the snake massage. If you ever decide to visit Israel, you could go to Talmei Azar and try a snake spa treatment at Ada Barak’s Carnivorous Plant Farm and Spa. If you thought the name of the 'clinic' was enough to put you off, wait till you hear what the treatment entails. You must strip off and lie down on your belly while dozens of snakes – in all sizes – are dumped unceremoniously on your back. They wriggle all over your body and that is supposed to mimic a relaxing massage. No, the treatment is not restricted to your back.
Next on our list is the cryotherapy spa treatment in Finland. At the Haikko Spa in Porvoo, Finland you are made to sit in an icebox for a few minutes, in temperatures as low as -110 degrees C. Apparently this invigorates the body and increases blood flow etc. Just don’t sit for too long inside the chamber, your blood flow might stop permanently. A similar treatment can be found at the Qua Baths and Spa at Caesar’s Palace, Los Angeles where you sit in an ice cold room, breathe in mint infused chilly air at 55 degrees F and while artificially created snowflakes drift around you from vents in the ceiling.
We all know how beer is good for hair, right? Well apparently it is amazing for the entire body. At the Chodovar Brewery in the Czech Republic, you can sink into a tub full of mineral water mixed with dark beer and this supposedly has medicinal benefits. While we are on the topic let’s talk about the Sake spa in Japan; sake is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. The Hakone Kowakien Yunessun spa in south central Japan offers its clientele large hot tubs full of sake to soak in. It also has pools of green tea, wine, coffee, and occasionally when they want to get weirder – ramen noodle soup. Customers can soak in pools of their choice and the ingredients will help nourish their skin- or so they say.
Another strange therapy – which is closer to home as many salons in India offer this treatment – is the Chocolate Spa. Found at a number of spas all around the world this typically hour long treatment involves slathering the body with oxygen infused melted chocolate and then washing it off. Therapists swear that the oxygen, natural anti-oxidants and vitamins in chocolate help moisturise the skin, fight ageing and promotes cellular growth.
If you are extremely rich you can opt for spa treatments involving diamonds and gold. Gold apparently revitalises skin and repairs cell damage. Variations of this treatment can be found all over the world including in our country. Amazingly, Hollywood elite are also connoisseurs of the Loose Diamond Massage which involves diamonds being pressed on your back and rubbed over your skin. How it is beneficial to have the hardest, sharpest rocks on the planet being rubbed across your skin is a mystery to us but hey, if you have the money and the desire what’s to stop you? After all, it must be stressful to have so much money!
The list grows stranger, you have the geisha spa treatment where the excreta of the nightingale bird is mixed with lotion and applied on your face, the placenta spa, which is self explanatory and fire cupping – a brutal Chinese spa therapy.
Fire cupping apparently relieves congestion of nerves and improves blood circulation. How, you ask? Well the therapist sets fire to a cotton ball, puts it for a minute inside a glass bulb, removes it and set the hot glass bulb face down on your skin. The vacuum left inside the bulb by the heat creates a suction effect which apparently brings blood vessels to the skin surface. This supposedly relaxes muscles etc, not to mention burn and bruise the skin. A prominent fan of this technique is Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow who once famously showed up at a film premier with round burn marks on her back.
And then we have the fish spa. We all know about it – some of us have also tried it since malls in many metropolitan cities offer this facility. The “garra rufa” or doctor fish nibble away at the dead skin on your feet, and the nibbling motion also helps open up blocked skin pores and improve blood circulation, we are told. Not only can you dip your legs into a tub full of these tiny fish, you can now also lie in a large tub or a pool and have them nibble away all over your body. This is popular all over the world, especially London, Thailand and even in India and you can avail of this ticklish and slightly strange treatment which promises smooth skin.
The list is endless if you research thoroughly. There are cactus treatments, isolation treatments, waterfall treatments and at a spa in Thailand, you can also get an elephant to place its foot on your back in the name of a massage. If you have the money, the time and the enthusiasm for adventure – go for these spas if you will!