Snake massage? It’s only a sideline.
Always on the lookout for Pink Slip topics, I grabbed at a recent Smart Money article on “10 Bizarre Spa Treatments.”
I’ll admit up front that I don’t have a lot of spa experience. I’ve had a couple of facials. And when I got a free trip to Hawaii as a Genuity “iLeader” in 2001, spa treatments were on the list of goodies. I don’t have 100% recall of what I signed up for, but I believe it involved seaweed and hot rocks. It was quite nice, although it was a bit odd to be strolling around paradise with nothing on other than a terry shorty-robe and flip-flops and running into your like-garbed colleagues. Not quite a nudist colony, but almost. (The “iLeader” awards trip took place at a fabulous resort on Lanai. No expense was spared. We got (among other things): a concert by Doobie Brother Michael McDonald, followed by fireworks; a side trip to Maui; a raft of gift items, Fed-Exed home for us, just in case you needed that serving bowl or sarong by Monday; and someone handing you a drink every time you sat down or stood up. Whatever else you want to say about it, the dot.com era was fun.)
Mostly my spa-type “stuff” is the occasional mani-pedi from one of several Vietnamese-run nail joints on Charles Street. (Who provided manicures and pedicures before the Vietnamese immigrated?)
There’s no doubt in my mind, however, that if I had more money and more opportunity, I would avail myself of more spa treatments.
Of the list in the Smart Money article, the “Artic Ice Room” at Qua in Las Vegas holds zero appeal. Even though this has been an almost tediously mild winter, no one who lives in New England needs to be chilling in a 55-degree room “where tiny ice crystals fall from the ceiling,” even if you factor in the mint-scent and heated benches. Brrrrr.
The “hula wave” massage, in which 10 therapists circle a couple while giving them perpetual massage, struck me as just plain weird. And, for $2,000, I’d rather spend a long weekend in New York, thank you. Or in Paris, where you can get a rubdown from a blind massage therapist working in a pitch-black room. (Only $120 an hour.)
The Liquidrom heated saltwater pool in Berlin sounds appealing – other than the fact that it also has a bar. Frankly, I’m always a bit wary of any venue were people can be sitting in a pool while drinking. The ocean is one thing, but a small, contained pool? Too much temptation for “ewwww” behavior on the part of others.
The Womb Room in the Canary Islands goes beyond just plain weird:
…a one-of-a-kind journey to the start of life with a low-lit room designed to evoke memories of the womb. Guests lie on "blood-colored," draped waterbeds as the pink-and-red-carpeted floor slowly revolves.
“Evoke memories of the womb”? Huh? Talk about hokum.This one just sounds like a bad trip.
And speaking of blood-colored, there’s a spa in Japan that features a “wine bath.”
Red wine flows from a 12-foot fountain in the shape of a wine bottle. According to the spa, these unique baths rejuvenate the body and beautify the skin.
And leave you smelling like a wino, without having gotten there the old fashioned way, by imbibing. I do wonder whether they use expense vintage wine or plonk. (Waddaya think?)
The topper for me was the spa in Israel where, for $80 a session:
Thrill-seeking clients let snakes of the nonvenomous variety slither across their bare skin. Reportedly, the creatures' varying weights and cool temperature make for a relaxing kneading sensation as they slide down the spine.
I suspect that this one would give me enough nightmares to last a lifetime.
Take it away, Dr. Freud!
But the best side-note on this “one-woman massage parlor” was that it’s:
…a sideshow to the owner's primary business: cultivating rodent-eating plants.
I guess that this is old news. Time Magazine was slithering all over Ada Barak’s Carnivorous Plant Farm as far back as September 2008.
Barak makes most of her income by showing off her plants, which eat everything from insects and reptiles to small mammals and schnitzel. She started grabbing one of the little snakes slithering in and out of the hungry plants' jaws and passing it around to visitors at the end of her act. And that was how she hit on the snakes' therapeutic value. "Some people said that holding the snakes made them feel better, relaxed," she says. "One old lady said it was soothing, like a cold compress."
Okay, this tells me who Ada Barak got into her sideline massage business. But how, pray (prey?) tell does one some decide they want to run a carnivorous plant farm?
My feeble little mind is boggling.
Labels: interesting business