The search for a miracle cure for aging has been raging for centuries. In the past, men and women have looked to both natural and man-made beauty treatments. The best of these treatments are often found in the priciest spas around the world.
Each country has its own unique treatments and its own belief in how the treatments benefit spa goers. Some of the spa treatments are relatively normal, while others are very strange. Ranging from beer baths to facials that involve bird feces, the extreme lengths that men and women will go to retain their youthful glow is never more obvious than in these fifteen strangest spa treatments.
15 Golden Facial
Most of us like gold... But we prefer it in jewelry. However, it seems some people like to put their gold on their face. At several high-end spas around the world, 24-carat gold masks are available for spa goers who are willing to pay for them.
The mask is made from pure gold leaf that is then applied to the face. It is left on the face for a predetermined amount of time. While it is on the client's face it is said to create an electrical current that will rejuvenate the skin and restore a youthful glow.
14 Sheep Placenta Treatment
Is your skin beginning to lose its firmness? If so a little sheep's placenta might be able to help you. Or at least that's what celebrities like Victoria Beckham say. Spas in Hollywood, Los Angeles and New York City are offering the sheep's placenta treatment to those searching for a youthful look. Apparently, the sheep placenta contains high levels of iron, proteins, amino acids, and enzymes that combat skin aging. During the sheep placenta treatment, all the usual steps of a facial are followed with the addition of a placenta mask.
13 Vampire Facial
Kim Kardashian posted a picture of herself on Instagram during her very gruesome "vampire facial," which apparently means that now all women need to rush to get these gruesome treatments. As you can see in the image, the facial isn't called a vampire facial for nothing.
Blood is removed from your arm and then processed to separate out the plasma and platelets from the red blood cells. Then the plasma is injected back into your face. And if injecting your face with your own plasma doesn't sound gross enough, you also get the joy of having your face poked with a bunch of tiny micro-needles to make sure that you totally absorb your own plasma back into your body. Why would anyone want a vampire facial?
There is a slight chance that the plasma that is injected into your face will stimulate new collagen growth, which will in turn make your skin firmer and wrinkle-free. If the facial doesn't do anything for your wrinkles you can at least feel good about injecting your own plasma into your body and not some random hazardous substance like Botox.
12 Fish Exfoliation
Pedicures consist of a lot of scraping and filing of the soles of your feet. Except when you get a fish pedicure. With this treatment your feet are just chewed on by tiny fish that enjoy the taste of dead skin.
The fish is actually called a garra rufa fish, or a "doctor fish". In the wild, the tiny fish survive by sucking the dead scales off of other fish. In a spa, the fish survive by sucking and nibbling the dead skin off of spa goers' feet.
The fish are kept in a large tank. When you request a fish pedicure, the fish are moved to an individual and sanitized tank. You then place your feet in the tank and the fish begin nibbling off your dead skin. Though the fish pedicure has not completely caught on in the United States, it has become very popular in Europe.
11 Fire Cupping
Fire cupping is an ancient Chinese practice that requires special cups to be heated and then placed on a person's skin. The skin is drawn up into the cup, increasing blood flow in the area. During fire cupping, the cup is left on your skin for approximately ten minutes. This allows impurities to be removed from the body.
The removal of impurities is thought to rebalance the body and treat symptoms of colds, asthma, intestinal disturbances, and several other bodily issues. When the cup is removed from the body, you will most likely have a very unpleasant bruise from where the skin was suctioned into the cup.
10 Snake Massage
Massages are supposed to improve blood flow and aid in stress relief. But for those of you who do not like snakes, Israel's latest snake massage probably won't serve to lower your stress levels. If you don't mind the slithering reptiles, you can get a snake massage at the low cost of $70 at the Carnivorous Plant Farm and Spa in Northern Israel.
Just as you would any other massage, you lie face down on a massage table. From there, the masseuse will cover your back with six or seven non-poisonous snakes. The medium sized reptiles will slither across your back and around your head and neck for the entirety of the massage. Those who have been brave enough to last the full length of the massage report that it helps with muscle tension and migraines.
9 Caviar Facial
Caviar is known to be a luxurious appetizer for the elite. However, some spa goers would rather put their appetizer on their face than in their mouths. At the Ritz-Carlton's La Prairie Spa, the White Caviar Illuminating Facial uses golden caviar as the main ingredient in its super pricey treatment. At the high price of $1,000, this facial promises to rejuvenate skin and lock in moisture for a youthful glow.
8 Kiln Sauna
Saunas are a mainstay of most U.S. spas. In Korea, the saunas are a lot more extreme than what the average American is used to. Instead of a small room that's mildly hot, the Korean kiln sauna looks like... Well, a kiln.
The entrance is very low and the sauna temperatures reach 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You won't see men and women roaming around in luxurious bathrobes at these saunas. Everyone must wear a jute blanket - which looks a bit like a potato sack - to protect themselves from the extreme heat. If you were to wear synthetic clothes in a kiln sauna, the material would melt off your body. The extreme temperatures are said to cure arthritis by removing the toxins from the body.
7 Hay Bath
Hay is for horses... Or so we thought. Apparently it can also be used as a luxurious spa treatment. In Italy, visitors of the Heuband Spa take part in hay baths, which are said to reduce rheumatic issues and revitalize the body. How does hay do this?
The hay that used in treatments is filled with oils that grow naturally within the fields from which the hay is picked at precisely the right moment in early morning or late evening. The use of hay for therapeutic treatment dates back to the eighteen hundreds when farmers used to sleep in the hay after a long day's work.
They noticed that despite their laborious work they felt rested and free from physical pain after a rest in the hay. The use of hay as a relaxant caught on and remains a treatment in Italy to this day. After the hay bath, spa goers are wrapped in a towel so that the oils can continue to penetrate the body.
6 Beer Bath
Everyone likes a beer now and then but have you ever thought of taking a bath in beer? Well, the people of the Czech Republic have. Spa goers at the Chodovar Brewery in the Czech Republic can opt for a simple beer bath or a beer bath combined with a partial or full massage.
Before you start thinking about dumping a few cans of beer in a tub, these beer baths at the spa are more than just a few cold beers. The bath is a combination of beer, warm mineral water, and products used for making beer. According to the spa, a beer bath aids in immune support, skin and hair rejuvenation, and relief of muscle tension.
5 Snail Facial
If you aren't fond of slime-coated gastropods then you might want to skip this strange facial. The Labo Salon in Tokyo, Japan is now offering snail facials.
A few snails are placed on your face and left to slither around for awhile - or for as long as you can stand. When the gastropods have covered every inch of your face they are removed, leaving behind a thick coating of their slime. Apparently, their residue assists in removing old skin cells and moisturizes skin.
4 Black Pepper Body Rub
Some people like a little black pepper on the eggs, others like it rubbed all over their body. Visitors of the Pho Tree Thai Spa in New York City can order a tingling black pepper body scrub for the low cost $135.
The body scrub consists of an initial slathering of green tea moisturizer. Then black pepper is rubbed all over the body, creating a tingling effect. Finally, the body is covered in extracts of live silkworms. What does this strange mixture of spices and extracts do for the body?
According to Andrew Unger, the co-founder of Lifebooker.com, the black pepper gets the blood moving, making you sweat, which in turn detoxifies your body and helps you shed water weight.
3 Bull Semen Hair Treatment
Yes, you read the title correctly. Bull semen is a main ingredient in the hair conditioning treatment at Hari's Spa in London. According to the Hari's, the bull semen is refrigerated and does not smell when applied to the hair.
The strange hair concoction is a combination of bull semen and keratin. When applied to the hair, the conditioner penetrates the roots, infusing them with essential vitamins and proteins and locks in moisture. Those who have had the $138 treatment claim that it is like "Viagra for hair."
2 Cryotherapy Chamber
Ever wondered what it would be like to step into negative 166 degree Fahrenheit temperatures wearing nothing but a bathing suit? Well if you're really curious you can visit the Haikko Spa in Finland where cryotherapy treatment is offered.
On the off chance that you enjoy the chilly temperature, you won't be able to remain in the cryotherapy chamber - which looks like a giant freezer - for more than three minutes. Anything longer than that would cause hypothermia and possible death. Cryotherapy treatments are said to boost the immune system and tone skin.
1 Feces Facial
First there were facials made from plant extracts, then there were crushed diamond facials. Now, there are feces facials. Yes, poop. But not just any poop. Bird poop. Nightingale poop to be exact.
Manhattan's very brave Shizuka New York Day Spa was the first to advertise their latest, and most cringeworthy facial. It's new to the United States but bird poop facials in fact come from ancient Japan. Geishas used powdered nightingale droppings to remove the white makeup that they wore on their faces. They found that the bird poop concoction not only cleaned their skin, it also left their skin brighter and smoother.
The Shizuka Spa asserts that the bird droppings are sanitized and powdered under a UV light, which apparently makes putting feces on your face acceptable. The entire Geisha facial last 50 minutes and costs $180.