Womb with a view
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The Corallium Spa at Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort in the Canary Islands has conceived the ultimate in comfort: a return to the womb. It makes sense, right? There are no deadlines in the womb, no traffic and no bad hair days. The treatment room was designed to resemble the inside of the womb – all warm, red light, soft beds and “breathy” music that’s meant to sound like the muffled noise babies hear from inside the amniotic sac. Its comforting effect is supposed to provide deep relaxation to help with sleep and stress.
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A cactus massage may sound counterintuitive – unless you’re a big acupuncture fan – but at the Four Seasons in Punta Mita, Mexico, we’d happily pay for the experience. The Hakali massage uses the warmed flat paddles (the leaf part of the cactus) of the nopal cactus – but don’t worry, they’ve been de-needled. The paddles are split and the juice that oozes out of them is massaged into the skin with the cactus paddle. The effect is akin to being rubbed with a huge aloe vera plant.
The final straw
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This brings an entirely different meaning to a roll in the hay. This treatment has history: the Hotel Heubad in the spa town of Terme Merano in northern Italy has been offering the Hay Bath treatment to guests since 1903. Mountain grasses and herbs are heated to 40 degrees Celsius and piled on top of the body, right up to the chin. You’re then wrapped up and lowered into a heated waterbed. It’s reported to have a relaxing, pain-relieving effect and is good for joint and muscle pain. Allergy sufferers beware.
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Have you ever wondered what -120 Celsius feels like? Neither have we. But according to the Haikko Spa at Haikko Manor in Finland, placing the body in that temperature – briefly – can have a beneficial health effect. The Super Cold treatment is said to aid skin conditions such as psoriasis, as well as rheumatic diseases. Guests enter the cryo-cabin wearing only a swimming costume, mittens, socks and earmuffs. They must come out after a duration of one to three minutes otherwise hypothermia could occur.
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In recent years there’s been a Korean beauty craze for snail mucus. Yes, that slimy trail our gastropod friends leave behind them as they slowly make their way from letterbox to herb patch is A Thing in the beauty world, appearing in creams, lotions and serums. Taking it one step further is the Ci:z.Labo Clinical Salon in Tokyo, which offers a live snail facial called the Celebrity Escargot Course. Snails fed on organic vegies are placed on the face and allowed to spread their slime at will before a facial massage and other more traditional treatments take place.
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The premise of the snake massage at Bali Heritage Reflexology & Spa is that when three serpents are placed on the body (feet, stomach and head) the adrenaline triggered by sheer terror, along with the massage effect of the snakes’ movement, will aid metabolism. Another snake-based therapy, at Ada Barak’s Carnivorous Plant Farm (don’t you feel relaxed already?) in Israel, sees a tangle of five serpents placed upon the naked back to perform a slithery massage. The largest of the snakes, which are a mixture of corn, milk and king snakes, can be up to eight-foot long. They are permitted to go wherever they please about the body, which creates a deep kneading sensation that we can only imagine is immensely soothing…
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The latest in nether-region beautification: vagina steaming. Ms Goop herself, Gwyneth Paltrow, is such a fan of the Mugwort V-Steam that she raved about it on Goop, calling it “the golden ticket”. The treatment is carried out at the Tikkun Spa in Santa Monica – we’ll let La Paltrow take it from here: “You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release – not just a steam douche – that balances female hormone levels.” Image: facebook.com/tikkunspa
Bird is the word
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Japanese geishas of old achieved their signature porcelain-white look using a heavy make-up that contained lead and zinc. These ingredients caused skin disorders which, according to New York’s Shizuka Day Spa, were counteracted with uguisu no fun – that’s nightingale poop to non-Japanese speakers. The spa, whose namesake is celebrity facialist Shizuka Bernstein, offers the Geisha Facial, in which sanitised, powdered nightingale droppings are applied to the skin to help exfoliate and brighten skin. It’s allegedly popular with high-flyers like Victoria Beckham.