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The best and most outrageous spas in the world: Ramen noodle baths, snake massages, and more

The best and most outrageous spas in the world: Ramen noodle baths, snake massages, and more

Wacky wellness

Text: Emily Heng


Fish pedicures? Been there, done that. Snail facials? That's so 2000 and late. With the acceptance of such unconventional measures in the pursuit of good skin and great hair comes... even weirder approaches in the name of beautification. Behold, the best and most outrageous spa treatments in the world, from ramen noodle baths to, uh, snake massages. Time to cash in on those frequent flier miles you've been saving up.

Ramen noodle bath, Hakone

If you often find yourself seeking comfort in the bottom of a ramen bowl, you can now, uh, soak in it, too. Located at the Yunessun Spa in Hakone, Japan, visitors sit back, relax, and absorb the multitude of alleged complexion benefits from the human size bowls of bubbling, pepper-flavoured pork broth. This special soup is packed chockful of collagen that moisturises and rejuvenates skin, delivering on a glowing, more luminous complexion than before. Noodles (unfortunately) not included.

 

Fire facial aka Huo Liao, China

The Chinese are leaving no stone unturned and no pore untorched to attain what they're hoping to be clear, glowing skin. Stemmed from the belief that flames are essential to skin cell regeneration, Huo Liao begins innocently enough with a massage. What follows is far more traumatic: the face is wrapped with cloth soaked in alcohol, then set ablaze (eep!). A few moments later, another cloth is thrown over the burning fabric before the flames reach the face. This is all done by estimation, folks. When performed by a licensed practitioner, the ritual supposedly prevents acne and wrinkles. Unsurprisingly, burns and blisters are common side effects.


Snake massage, Jakarta
If you're not too averse to creepy crawlies, consider this fang-tastic (ha) massage that has three to five 1.8m long pythons slithering all over you for over an hour or so. The magic lies in the movement of the reptiles; their constant twisting and turning triggers an adrenaline rush through your body that is said to have a positive impact on your metabolism. The pythons are sanitised before each treatment, and have their mouths taped shut for the entire duration for safety purposes. Massage therapists will also be in the room to monitor the situation, and keep those snakes a-movin'. Is this considered animal cruelty? Whose extra idea is this? We have many questions...

 

Venik massage, Russia

A traditional massage method originating from Mother Russia, visitors enter a sauna where massage therapists slap their backs, shoulders, and arms with oak leaves. Okay, fine, we exaggerate — instead of a beating motion, oak leaves are apparently "gently" and "rhythmically applied." They will then be asked to jump into a plunge pool of cool water after. The point to all this? To cleanse and purify your face and body. Known as the "people's first doctor" in Russian folklore (fun fact: vodka is second), it reportedly cures various maladies from tension headaches to gastrointestinal issues.


Hay bath, South Tyrol
It is as it sounds: a treatment that involves being tightly wrapped in soaked, herb-enriched grass. Not only does it boost the immune system, it also supposedly eases general aches and pains, allows for skin rejuvenation, and alleviate rheumatism. Some might grimace at the thought of being buried under numerous bales of hay, but all that sweating apparently gets pores open, cleansed, and reduced in size too. After your allotted twenty minutes, the hay is removed and you're free to go about your day — make sure to dust off all hay stalks first, though. Scarecrow is not a fashion statement.

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