Feeling tense? In need of a relaxing massage or a cleansing facial treatment?
Unfortunately, if you’re an animal lover you’re increasingly unlikely to find spa treatments all that relaxing given an emerging trend of people exploiting animals for ridiculous beauty therapy — and in hair raising, often mystifying ways. Below are five such shocking treatments that you’ll find it hard to believe are even real!
1. Does Anyone Really Want a Snake Massage?
You read that right. Snake massage. The Bali Heritage Reflexology and Spa in Jakarta is one of several spas around the world that will massage your cares away with pythons. No, seriously. Rest assured, all the snakes they use are non-venomous (what a relief!) and the therapy can even be tailored to your individual needs.
Apparently, king snakes can with their longer bodies provide a more intense and deep massage, while smaller snakes can be used for a lighter and more invigorating facial.
For this privilege customers pay about $48. The snakes are said to be adequately cared for (and, presumably, must be kept well fed) but the potential for abuse and distress is very clear.
2. After a Hard Day, How About a Rat Foot Rub?
Ada Barak’s Spa in northern Israel, as well as offering snake therapy and carnivorous plant feeding therapy, provides those in need with a nice massage — from mice and rats.
The spa is said to give patrons the privilege of having mice and rats run over their feet as a kind of rodent reflexology. The scurrying is supposed to improve general relaxation and soothe away aches and pains.
3. Nothing Nicer than Fish that Nibble?
Many will be familiar with the fish pedicure fad that swept the world over the past few years, where customers placed their feet in bowls of water in which garra rufa fish (small and of the carp family) are ready to munch on the dead skin. Now, beauty therapists in Asia have taken this treatment to the extreme with a full body therapy.
The process is simple: patrons pay to lie in a heated pool for about an hour while the fish feast on their rougher areas. The treatment supposedly is good for curing recurring skin problems like acne, though there’s no hard science behind those claims.
There is, however, reason to be leery of fish pedicures. While there is a small risk of contracting HIV or Hepatitis, there is a far greater potential for more common infections if the water is less than clean or the surrounding facilities (floors, bowls) have not been properly sterilized.
For the fish, they might be receiving a good meal but given they must be regularly transported from their tanks to individual bowls and back again, the impact on their health and wellbeing seems to have been quite forgotten.
Next Page: Blood sucking and face slime treatments.
4. This One’s For Suckers! Blood Suckers, That Is
Actress Demi Moore is apparently a fan of leech therapy. In 2008, she told David Letterman that while in Austria and “on a cleanse” she agreed to undergo leech therapy so as to supposedly “detoxify” her body. Needless to say the process, which we might have thought went out when evidence-backed medicine came in, doesn’t really do much in the way of detoxifying. Rest assured, leeches will drain blood but the health benefits beyond very specific applications in a very limited medical field, are negligible.
Nevertheless, leeches may be staging a comeback, with a particular revival said to be occurring in India where people are paying for a variety of ailments to be “treated,” including gout and blood poisoning. I’d recommend seeing a doctor before seeking out Demi Moore’s Austrian detoxification plan, though.
5. The Snail Slime Facial
A central Tokyo spa, the Clinical Salon, which is the flagship outlet of one of the nation’s largest spa operators Ci:z.Labo, has started a new trend of placing live snails on customer’s faces. Enzymes in the snail’s slime supposedly encourage skin rejuvenation and is purported to be good for all manner of skin ailments.
The snail facial fad is apparently set to spread throughout the UK and Europe. Below is a video of said treatment in action:
Photo credit: Thinkstock.