Relaxation. We all achieve it in different ways. Maybe you’re partial to a hot bubble bath, scented candles and a glass of wine. Or perhaps an early night with a good book is more your bag. Oh and of course, there’s always the good old fashioned snake massage…
Yep, we’ve discovered that spa treatments vary considerably around the world. Whether it’s in the pursuit of relaxation or for beauty purposes, there are some very weird and wonderful procedures – many of which are not for the faint-heated.
From snake massages to bottom facials, here are ten of the strangest spa treatments from all across the globe…
1. Snake Massage (Israel, Russia, Thailand and Indonesia)
What are you doing this weekend? ‘Oh I’m having a soothing snake massage at the local spa.’ Yeah, exactly! But according to some salon owners in Israel, this would not be an inappropriate answer. They claim that king and corn snakes (thankfully not poisonous) produce a relaxing kneading sensation when they slither around the human body. The key is to stay calm as they wriggle on your skin.
2. Sake Spa (Japan)
So the world did it with water, then Europe did it with beer and now it only makes sense (sort of) that Japan has gone and done it with sake. Yes, some spas in Japan now offer bathing sessions in the green alcoholic beverage that packs a punch. Apparently it’s very good for the skin…
3. The Geisha Facial (Japan, New York)
Originating in Japan hundreds of years ago, the Geisha Facial has crept its way into New York beauty salons. In fact, Victoria Beckham is rumoured to be a regular client. What is it you ask? Well, you might wish you hadn’t. To put it simply, sterilized nightingale excrement is spread on the face for exfoliation purposes.
4. Snail Spa (Japan)
Japan comes up trumps yet again with this rather slimy treatment. Popular as a facial, the therapist encourages live snails to leave their mark on your face. Apparently the mucus trail contains beauty boosting proteins and antioxidants. One word: eww.
5. Bottom Facial (New York)
Yet to hit the UK, bottom facials or ‘fanny facials’ are all the rage in New York and as the name suggests, it’s pretty much a facial for er, well ..your bottom! An interesting addition to your standard spa day, scrubs and creams are applied in the aim of smoothing out any “lumps and bumps”. You can then opt for a spray tan to finish the look.
6. Placenta Facial (Hollywood)
Not cheap at around £300 a treatment, placenta facials use live cream with human or sheep derived tissue, which is applied liberally on the face, eyelids, ear lobes and neck. A plastic film is then placed over the cream to ensure that the nutrients soak deep into the skin. Nice.
7. Cactus Massage (Mexico)
In Mexico they like to make the most of the natural environment when it comes to spa treatments. Taking inspiration from age old indigenous rituals, modern spas use local materials like cactus, volcanic ash and tequila. It may sound painful, but cactus treatments come minus the spikes and are blended into a ‘soothing’ green pulp before being placed on the skin.
8. Detoxification with Leeches (Austria and India)
Yes, you might squirm at the thought of having leeches suck your blood, but some people – including Demi Moore (who tried it during a holiday in Austria) believe it’s an essential beauty treatment. Dating back to ancient Indian scriptures, the procedure is said to quite literally suck the toxins from your body.
9. Vampire Facial (UK and USA)
An increasingly popular choice amongst celebs, this Halloween-esque sounding facial doesn’t seem less gory when explained. Blood is taken from an area of the body (usually the arm or buttocks) and then injected into the face. Said to help produce collagen, the painful treatment has been known to leave nasty bruises. We might leave this one of our Christmas list.
10. Hay Bath (Italy)
Actually more of a body wrap than a bath, hay is heated to 40°C before patients are covered in it. The hot hay is said to open up pores and detox the body – if you don’t mind feeling like a small, hibernating animal that is.