5 Weird Spa Treatments Around The World That Might Just Be Worth Your Flyer Miles
As much as I love face-masking on a Monday, treating myself to a mani/pedi every Thursday, and turning my shower into a sauna every Sunday, I’d take treating myself to a spa service over self-pampering any day. Trust me, your girl gives herself the star treatment whenever she can, but there’s just something about the ambiance of a spa, and having someone else worry about painting your nails evenly for a change, that’s just so satisfying. I generally stick to treatments I’ve already tried and loved, but there are some weird spa treatments around the world that just might be tempting enough to experience, even if that means traveling halfway around the world for the occasion.
I was 16 years old when I had my very first spa experience. My older sister treated me to a junior massage and facial as a thank-you for being in her bridal party, and I can honestly say it was as magical as I always imagined it would be: The room was dimly lit, with incense burning something soothing, like lavender, in the background, and I can remember being on the cusp of sleep as the masseuse fell into a rhythm while digging out the knots in my back and neck. After an experience like that, how could I not become a spa connoisseur?
Most spas offer similar treatments, like Swedish and stone massages, facials, and manicures, so you have to do a little digging — maybe even a little traveling — to scope out the more unique services. The experts at the language-learning app Babbel sent Elite Daily a list of some of the weirdest, and arguably most awesome spa treatments around the world. Check out the services below, and decide for yourself if they’re worth the flyer miles.
Get Your Blood Flowing In Russia With A Venik Massage
To get your blood literally flowing and your circulation regulated, many Russian spas offer what's called a venik massage. The traditional treatment dates way back to ancient civilization, and uses one of two very interesting accessories: a bundle of oak, or birch tree leaves. Personally, the idea of someone coming at me with a branch doesn't exactly sound soothing, but apparently this service is the real deal.
According to the details Babbel sent to Elite Daily, a venik massage takes place in a Russian bathhouse, otherwise known as a "banya," that's warmed up like a sauna or steam room. Your masseuse will start off by taping and stroking your body with either the damp oak or birch to stimulate your blood flow and circulation, and if you're wondering why they can't just do that with their bare hands, the plants apparently emit what are called phytoncides, or a scent that can boost the immune system. Once your massage is over, you'll be instructed to "plunge in a cold pool" in order to wake up your senses. Sounds wild, right?
Live Out Your College Fantasy By Bathing In Ramen In Japan
I know coffee is the saving grace of adulthood, but let's back-track a second and appreciate the comfort that a warm, fresh-out-of-the-microwave cup of ramen offered you after a grueling day of classes in college. Some days, you wanted to dunk your whole face in the stuff to feel even a shred of relief from the responsibilities real life was about to thrust upon you post-graduation, and now, in the town of Hakone, Japan, you literally can do just that, and then some.
According to Travel + Leisure, the Yunessan Spa House in Hakone, Japan, created actual bathtubs full of ramen noodles for you to soak in. The bath is filled with a pork-based broth, and it wouldn't be ramen without some synthetic noodles floating around, now would it?
It sounds kind of odd, I know, but if you're curious and want to experience this delicious-sounding soak in the comfort of your own home, you're in luck: Teen Vogue reported back in 2015 that an online Japanese bookstore, Vintage Vanguard, sells ramen noodle bath powders you can sprinkle into your tub and enjoy at your leisure. Just be sure not to sneak a taste, OK? It's not sanitary.
Cut Out Any Toxins With A Cactus Message In Mexico
This is another treatment that doesn't exactly sound super luxurious — at least, not at first glance — but according to Babbel's breakdown of a Mexican Halkali cactus massage, using cacti as a massage tool is actually amazing for your skin.
You probably wouldn't associate this desert plant with anything but pain and prickling, but it's actually full of health benefits, according to a writer from Marie Claire who tried the treatment herself back in 2010. Once the needles are removed, of course, and the cactus has been soaking in warm water for a while, your masseuse will split the soft paddles of the plant down the middle, arrange them on your body with the middle's gooey side facing down, and gently rub them against your skin. In a lot of ways, it's similar to aloe in that it removes toxins and also treats sunburned skin if you're a little red.
Hershey Park's For Chocolate Lovers With Its Full-Body Fondue Wrap
For all my choco-holics out there, Hershey Park's chocolate fondue wrap treatment is heavenly, and personally, if this kind of thing is considered "weird," to hell with being normal.
The Spa at Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania offers a list of treatments where chocolate is the focus, from cocoa facials, to a whipped cocoa bath, to something called a "chocolate immersion" that features a chocolate body polish plus a chocolate fondue wrap. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Suddenly my fingers are dialing my husband's cell to demand we take a weekend to experience it all!
Basically, a chocolate fondue wrap is just as lush as it sounds. First, your body is thoroughly brushed down before getting coated in warm moor mud and essence of cocoa. Are you drooling? Because I'm drooling. You'll then get wrapped all nice and snug in a warm blanket, letting all the chocolatey goodness absorb into your skin before rinsing off in a warm shower. It sounds like a coco-infused heaven to me, but if you're not located anywhere near Pennsylvania, Lush Cosmetics has you covered with its chocolate-cherry shower scrub and chocolate cupcake face wash to boot.
Forget The Bottle And Drown Your Woes In A Bath Of Wine
I would have attributed something as wine-centric as vinotherapy to Italian culture, but apparently, bathing in a tub filled to the brim with merlot dates back to Bordeaux, France, in the 1990s. The idea is that the polyphenols in a glass of red wine boast a ton of antioxidants, so why sip when you can soak?
Well, the treatment looks super luxe, sure, and in theory, it would be amazing if just bathing in these spirits had the same effect as drinking them in, but according to dermatologist Papri Sarkar, this Instagrammable service isn't exactly all it's cracked up to be. She told Allure,
I love this idea because red wine is so good for your body in other ways, but bathing in it isn't so helpful. The antioxidant properties of red wine are usually obtained by drinking or cooking with it. Bathing in it doesn't allow enough absorption for it to make a real difference.
If nothing else, bathing in wine definitely sounds like an awesome experience, with the added bonus of being incredibly picturesque. As for an alternative at home, don't bother pouring out your bottles in the tub. Put on a face mask, buy some bubble bath, pour yourself a glass, and enjoy.