Most of us have been guilty of shelling out a few bucks here or there for beauty treatments. Who doesn’t want softer skin, better hair, and cellulite-free thighs? While most spas pamper with the basic facial and massage, others are pushing the boundaries of normal and offering some unbelievable treatments in the pursuit of beauty. From slithering snakes to fecal facials, we’ve rounded up some of the most bizarre spa treatments around the world.
Get slapped pretty in San Francisco by a woman named Tata. At Face Slapping Natural, you can drop $350 for a single session of face-slapping, which, according to its website "uses Thai wisdom to bring out your own beauty that is 100% chemical free." Apparently, all that slapping will reduce wrinkles and firm up skin, although they warn that results vary from individual to individual.
Recommended Fodor’s Video
This past summer, the Clinical Salon in Tokyo, Japan launched an unnerving treatment: the snail facial, or, as they call it, the "Celebrity Escargot Course." For about $252, organically raised snails are applied to your face, where they slime around for a bit, before being removed. The process is then followed by massages, masks, and snail mucus creams, all designed to help repair damaged skin cells.
Japanese Geishas would do a lot in pursuit of beauty, including combatting the damaging effects of lead and zinc in their iconic white face powder with some nightingale poop. At Shizuka New York Day Spa in New York City, you can enjoy a $180, 60-minute facial infused with natural Japanese ingredients, including powdered nightingale droppings. According to the spa, the sanitized poop, which contains enzymes and guanine, helps brighten and heal skin.
Galos Salt Caves
In Chicago, health can be found underground by retreating to a salt cave. At the Galos salt-iodine caves you sit back, relax, and let the low humidity, negatively charged air spur you on to health. According to the company, visiting these caves can help with respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, and nervous system diseases, along with inflammation and sinus issues, among other things.
Take a roll in the hay at the Terme Merano spa in Merano, Italy, where attendants pile hot, wet, herb-infused mountain hay onto your body and then wrap you tightly in a sheet as you lay back and relax on a waterbed. The idea here is to open up pores, relax your body, and even relieve pain, but we can’t help but think all that wet hay would be ratherâ€¦spikey. Treatment lasts 20 minutes and costs about $50.
Conquer your fears and calm muscles with the live snake massage. In Talmei Elazar, Israel at the Carnivorous Plant Farm and Spa, proprietor Ada Barak will place several nonvenomous snakes on your back and let them slither around. Snake varieties include California and Florida king snakes. Apparently all their writhing helps to soothe muscles (or, you know, fuel nightmares)
Real Beer Bath
Love beer so much you’ve dreamed of bathing in it? At Chodovar Brewery, Hotel and Spa in Chodova Plana, Czech Republic, you can take a relaxing soak in a tub of sudsâ€¦and hops, herbs, active beer yeasts, and plenty of foam. These "real beer baths" are warm, encouraging circulation and opening up pores, while the hops act as a peel, and the yeasts add vitamin B, protein, and saccharides for "overall softening and regeneration of the cuticle." Best of all, you get a free beer to enjoy with your bath! A 20-minute bath is about $34.
Get some good vibrations from horses at Free Rein Australia in Victoria, Australia, where Reiki (the spiritual practice of transferring energy) is taken to a new level. It seems that horses have a higher vibration than we do, so when they’re nearby, our vibration rises to match theirs, according to Free Rein. Along with a Reiki practitioner, horses work either from a distance or by going up to and even touching clients as they lay on a table outdoors.
24-Karat Gold Facial
In recent years, 24-karat gold facials have become trendy especially with the West Coast set, and, frankly, it’s hard not to see why. Who wouldn’t want to be covered in pure gold? Spas claim the gold helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines and slows down collagen loss.
This sounds a lot worse than it is, because although Spermine is an anti-oxidant found originally in human sperm, spas today use a synthetic version. Apparently, it’s reported by spas to have a smoothing effect on the skin and helps reduce wrinkles. A Norwegian company began selling the synthetic version a few years ago, and spas in New York City began using it in facials where it was hit with ultrasound and infrared light. The spermine facial is available at Graceful Services Spa in Manhattan for $125.
Photo Credits: Massage Boxing: Courtesy of FaceSlapping Natural; Snail Facial: Rozum/Dreamstime.com; Geisha Facial: Courtesy of Shizuka New York Day Spa; Galos Salt Caves: Ales Borut Ivanko/Dreamstime.com; Hay Bath: Courtesy of Terme Merano; Snake Massage: Rebecca Abell/Dreamstime.com; Real Beer Bath: Courtesy of Hotel U SlÃ¡dka; Horse Reiki: Leighdiprosephotography/Dreamstime.com; 24-Karat Gold Facial: Poznyakov/Dreamstime.com; Spermine Facial: Valua Vitaly/Dreamstime.com