With news that Cebu Zoo in the Philippines is pressing its giant pythons into service as masseuses, we look at other strange spa treatments offered across the globe
Six months before their release, prisoners at Chang Mai Women's Correctional Facility are put to work as masseuses in the jail's boutique spa. Open to the public and resembling any other boutique spa, with flowers, soothing music, a gift shop and tea room, the spa teaches the inmates new skills and ease them back in to society.
Where: Chang Mai Women's Correctional Facility, 100 Rachvithi Road, Chiang Mai,
Thailand; +66 (0)53 706 1041
Taking a 'hay bath' has been a therapeutic spa treatment in northern Italy since 1903. Staff from Hotel Heubad harvest the hay from the meadows of Alpe di Siusi in the early morning when it still has all its ethereal oils. You get to roll in the hay AND draw out toxins, stimulate metabolism and fortify the immune system.
Where: Hotel Heubad, Via Sciliar 13, Völs am Schlern, South Tyrol, Italy; +39 0471 725020
Where live snails are left on your face to slither at will, leaving behind a mucus trail that is said to contain a beauty-boosting cocktail of proteins, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid. Take heart that you are not the only one being pampered. These snails are treated like celebrities too, feeding on an all-organic diet of carrots, Japanese mustard spinach, and Swiss chard, and housed in a room set to 20°C.
Where: Clinical-salon Ci:z.labo, Tokyo; +81 0800 111 416
Here's one for the guys: a therapeutic bath where you wallow in a tub full of premium Czech beer, supping on the good stuff as you relax. (There's a tap located conveniently next to the bath to top up your tankard as you go). While all the promotional literature seems to suggest that a busty blonde is also provided, sadly you have to provide your own.
Where: Chodová Planá, Czech Republic
Relax! This Hakali Massage involves cactus paddies that have had the spikes removed. The wellness comes instead from the rejuvenating mixture of cactus oils and blossom into the skin.
Where: Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit, 63734 Mexico; + 52 (329) 291-6000
After discovering that people felt more relaxed after handling her snakes, Ada Barak decided to take it one step further – by offering a spa treatment where the snakes slither all over the person. The larger ones apparently alleviate muscle pain while the smaller ones create a 'fluttering' sensation. Although that could be just your heart ...
Where: Ada Barak's Carnivorous Plant Farm and Spa, Talmei Elazar, Israel
This is the 'extreme' version of the snake massage pioneered by Ada Barak in Israel, swapping out the tiny, non-venomous snakes and replacing them with giant, deadly Burmese pythons. The pythons are taken out of their cages and placed one at a time on top of visitors, who lie down on a bamboo bed near the zoo's main entrance. The upside? It's free, if you're brave enough to try it.
Where: Cebu Zoo, Woolbright Drive, Beverly Hills, Cebu City 6000, Philippines