11 Completely Bizarre Spa Treatments You Won’t Believe Are Real

How often do you go to the spa?

Who doesn’t prefer a trip to the spa when going on a holiday? Nothing can compare with a wellness treatment that will put you back on your feet and make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

Whether we’re talking about luxurious spa treatments in the most outstanding locations or your local spa, it’s a thing you need to experiment with at least once in your lifetime. Spa relaxation is an ancient domain of study in many areas of the world.

And because there are ancient practices, some of them might seem a bit… unusual at first sight. For example, in Greece, there is a spa treatment that implies sinking your feet in a bowl full of tiny fishes that will eat the dead skin off your feet. We gathered a list of similar examples of spa treatments meant to amuse you or even increase your interest.

spa
Photo by Yana Perelotova from Shutterstock

Cupping

This ancient form of wellness dates back to eastern medicine. It implies placing hot glass cups along your body, mostly on your spine, for a specific amount of time. It is considered to decrease tension, reduce inflammation, soothe pain and raise the level of serotonin in your body.

This treatment dates back to ancient cultures, like Egypt, Chinese and Middle Eastern ones, where it was used as a practice for opening the blood vessels and inducing a feeling of relaxation. Nowadays, big wellness companies like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop have “borrowed” this technique for their spa programs and ended up making tons of money out of it.

Wine Bath

There is a controversial “spa” in Japan called “hot springs amusement park”, where children and adults can bathe in diluted red wine. Yes, you’ve read correctly. It is to be considered that the antioxidants in the wine are good for the skin and are rich in anti-ageing properties.

But there is more: if you’re not interested in the wine bath, you can also choose between a coffee and a tea bath, both considered to be antioxidant-rich. The Japanese resort assures its clients to have a wonderful and fun experience, and there are many people who travel from far away only to try out this spa treatment.

Beer bath

Did you believe we’re gonna leave you just with the possibility of the wine bath? No, we wouldn’t do that to you. Beer baths are a really popular method of relaxation in the Czech Republic, spreading around in time also in places like Iceland, Austria, Hungary, and also in the U.S.

The idea of a beer bath is to soak its practitioners for half an hour in a hot wooden tub filled with a combination of brewer’s yeast, hops, water, and a fragrance such as caramel. For 20 minutes after that, they sit down on a heated bed to let the nourishing ingredients absorb into their skin.

If you want to take care of your body but you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for a day at the spa, this massage device that has a remote included might be a good choice.

Hammam

It’s supposed to be a traditional cleansing ritual that takes place in a communal steam room, followed by a massage. In reality, it’s a bit more tangled than that. You need to have a good amount of willpower and mental strength to enjoy this spa treatment, but there are people out there that are actually enjoying it.

It implies you being completely naked while a specialized person comes and bathes you aggressively in very hot water. Its practitioners described the process in a detailed manner: you are laid down on a marble slab in a hot room where your body is being exfoliated.

But the term exfoliated has another meaning in this particular method: your skin is peeled off with sandpaper, and sometimes there’s a possibility your blood might pour down your arms or legs. But our guess is that it must be something interesting about it if there are so many people into this practice, right?

Swaddling

We promise we’re only gonna make a short trip to the weird world and then rapidly come back. So there’s this technique invented by an Asian woman in 2015 that is probably the most controversial so far.

Swaddling therapy is a Freudian-based treatment made to remind you of the stillness and peace of the womb by wrapping you in a cloth. So, basically, it suffocates you. The practice is called Otonamaki (adult swaddling) and it offers you the chance to feel zero gravity and experience a new version of relaxation.

So if you ever had in your plans to be suffocated by an Asian specialist, maybe this practice will help you fulfill your wishes.

spa
Photo by New Africa from Shutterstock

Snail Facial

Snail mucus is a popular ingredient in skincare routines since ancient times. It is believed that the usage of the snail mucus dates way back to ancient Greece, and can be found in the practice of Greek physician Hippocrates.

Now, they are wildly popular in Asia as well. Snail facials are considered to be pure, rich in nutrients and natural antioxidants that rejuvenate and freshen up the skin. The price range of a snail facial can go anywhere from $30 to $200, and a lot of people pay that amount of money to get this type of facial. Isn’t it weird?

Cryotherapy

This technique of exposing your body to extreme cold with liquid nitrogen is extremely invasive and honestly, we don’t get it. Even so, it is popular for helping quick injury recovery, pain management, tissue repair, improved athletic performance and quick weight loss.

If you want to try this out, you’ll need to expose yourself to temperatures as low as -240 degrees Fahrenheit, but it’s risky and dangerous. In reality, there’s no scientific proof that this therapy has a stable or healthy background. There are experts that recommend other methods of staying healthy rather than spending thousands of dollars to get cryogenically frozen every couple of months, like having a walk every day.

Fish Pedicure

This is a treatment I tried myself and to be completely honest, I loved it. If you are suffering from psoriasis or eczema on your lower legs, those little creatures might help you out. This fish treatment is originally from Turkey and several other Middle Eastern countries, like Syria, Iran or Iraq.

It implies using a certain type of fish that eats the dead scales and skin if their favorite food is out-of-the-way. The fish are called “Garra rufa” and are considered to be “doctor fish” thanks to their action. They are used to soften the callouses, help lighten dark cuticles and increase blood circulation.

However, experts consider there are some risks involving this treatment as well, and in some U.S. states, this practice has been banned from use.

Nightingale Facial

There’s no easy way for us to say this, but…it’s bird poop. Nightingale facials are considered to be an ancient beauty secret that originates from the Japanese Geisha’s, who searched a very rare species of bird to use its feces to heal their skin from years of heavy make-up.

This facial treatment is considered to make anti-ageing and brightening miracles, and it can cost you over $200. To get the facial, the poop is mixed with water to form a paste and then massaged into the skin for a few minutes. Clients describe the treatment as being similar to a light chemical peel, but without the redness and burning.

Snake Massage

We don’t know how wellness-related this method can be, but we assume it’s not very much. People that would happily try this “treatment” can be either adrenaline junkies or people who just want to conquer their fear of snakes.

Either way, it’s weird. But for some reason, snake massages are real and quite popular among some people. Basically, this technique implies laying a boa constrictor on your body for 30 minutes or more.

The snakes, obviously, need to be well fed before the process begins, so the human menu can be out of the question. If you’re wondering why do people enjoy it, it may be because it feels like a big hug. The pressure of the snake’s body releases endorphins and oxytocin and it’s considered to be relaxing.

Chocolate Facial

In North America, a large chocolate company called Hershey’s opened a hotel in the 1930s that provided spa treatments with chocolate. They have a full package of chocolate spa treatments that include a whipped cocoa bath, meaning a foaming bath of chocolate milk, and a manicure with chocolate-sugar exfoliation.

You can book a reservation for a day or even a week if you are that hungry (wink), where you can try out treatments like chocolate bean polish, which is a scrub made of cocoa beans husks and walnut shells. We don’t know how you feel about this, but when we found out about this spa program, we felt excited and hungry at the same time.

You may also want to read: Noticed Any Bumps on Your Face? They May Signal These 5 Health Problems

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