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Spa treatments are supposed to be relaxing. A good hot dip in a pool followed by a gentle massage to loosen your muscles sure sound like an afternoon well-spent. But some people prefer their spa treatments to be a little more… unconventional, and even claim that these treatments work wonders for their bodies. Here’s a peek into the world of truly weird ways to relax!

1. Chopper massages

Taipei is home to “Dao Liao”, or knife therapy. It looks dangerous, but the choppers are used with less force than you’d expect, and a rather thick piece of cloth covers your body as you receive a series of chops from a therapist. It’s supposed to increase blood circulation, but we suspect it’s the heart rate that jumps when you see those gleaming blades to be used on you.

2. Python massages

You know, Southeast Asia is home to some of the largest species of pythons known to man, so I’m not surprised that the Cebu City Zoo uses these giant Burmese pythons that weigh a combined total of 250kg to do a massage. These serpents slither on top of the guest, encouraging blood circulation with their movements. The pythons are each fed chickens before they do the treatment, but would you risk being constricted by these snakes just for a massage? Yeah, we didn’t think so.

3. Open flame bath

Being cooked over an open flame doesn’t sound like a relaxing activity at all, but plenty of people soak themselves in these re-purposed cauldrons that are filled with flowers and heated up over a fire. The flowers and herbs promote relaxation while the bather sits within. It actually sounds pretty fun as long as you ignore the fact that there’s an open flame right underneath you and you look like you may be made into a broth for dinner.

4. Thai boxing massage

Trust the Thais to mix massages and martial arts together to create something entirely new. The founders say that they will only teach 10 people how to do it, and this legendary art of face-slapping is said to be able to smack away wrinkles, make your face slimmer, and even reverse the signs of ageing. It does sound painful, but if beauty has a price, this is certainly a low price to pay.

5. Biting therapy

Dorothy Stein is famous for the invention of the insane (and terribly unhygienic) practice of the biting massage. Yes, this woman bites her clients’ bodies for a living, and says that she has bitten some of the world’s most famous music moguls, like Simon Cowell.

The service doesn’t come cheap either, as Dorothy charges £102 (more than SGD180) for an hour’s worth of biting. Here’s the kicker: She bites her client’s backsides as well!

We’re shuddering at the thought of this.

6. Bird poop facial

If you’ve read Memoirs of a Geisha, you may remember that nightingale’s droppings are part of top geisha Hatsumomo’s nightly regime.

The Shizuoka New York Salon has modernised this ancient ritual and developed a corresponding treatment (called the “Geisha Facial”) that claims to use these droppings to help exfoliate skin and keep it smooth. The droppings said to have been sanitised and are mixed with rice bran, then finely ground up before application.

7. Beer bath

It seems like plenty of spas in Europe, especially in Germany, Czech Republic and Latvia, have taken to creating beer baths for their customers. Hops used in beer actually help to exfoliate the skin, so when you finally wash all that beer off you, it feels like heaven. Of course, it’s always good to be able to sip an ice-cold beer after a bath!

8. Snail facial

Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. They place snails on your face and let them slowly move around, allowing them to spread their snail mucus all over you.

Before you scrunch your face up, snail mucus is supposed to be amazing for your skin. Over 90% of this slime is made up of water, and the rest consists of proteins and acids that deliver anti-ageing benefits.

If you have any acne scars, burn marks or dry skin, the mucus is said to be able to help you to recover from that. Not bad for a humble snail, huh?