9 Bizarre stress-busting techniques across the world

Vampire facelift, leech therapy, bird poo and placenta facial massages are so passe! Therapeutic biting is the latest hot treatment in Hollywood. Yes, the celebrity masseuse who let the beauty secret out, bites her clients before finishing the therapy session. Apparently, biting the skin tenderises it and helps in relieving stress as an emotionally focused therapy. Her client list includes some of the biggest names in the industry — Kanye West, David Bowie, Rhianna, Courtney Love, Keith Richards, Gwen Stefani and Eminem among others.

If you think that a spa session can’t get weirder than this, we have news for you. We cast the net far and wide and discovered an interesting list of bizarre therapies that are actually popular across the globe. Here’s a look at some stress-busting techniques that have been trending online, with several people sharing these pictures on social networking sites…

Elephant Massage
Looks like being stamped by an elephant is one of the best ways to relieve stress. At least that’s what people in Taiwan believe in. In Chang Mai province, Asian elephants that weigh up to 5.5 tonnes have been trained so that they can effectively massage using their trunk and feet. Thankfully, people have called for a ban on this procedure, as it can endanger the already endangered species.

Cactus Spa
When in Mexico, do as the Mexicans do. So, you not only gorge on Mexican Nopal, but also get a massage with it. Confused? Nopal in Mexican Spanish means cacti. And popular spa resorts there have a variety of services centred on the prickly pear. In this cactus spa therapy, the thorns are pulled off before the leaves, or the paddles, are heated in water. The cactus is then cut, and the oozing slimy interior is rubbed on the skin. You not only step out of the spa room feeling hydrated and healed of sunburnt skin, you don’t even need to shower after a session because this gooey stuff doesn’t stick to the body.

Fire Cupping
Forget the traditional art of cupping, in which a local suction is created on the skin to mobilise blood flow and promote healing. It is the fire cupping that has caught on like wild fire, literally. In this, a flaming cotton ball dipped in alcohol is placed inside the cup, which is then moved all over the body. Though various spas offer fire cupping, a spa in Beijing takes it to a whole new level. Therapists place over 40 bamboo cups on you and leave you to deal with the heat for about 20 minutes. It might burn skin, cause imitation and even leave behind dark circle, but who cares? It reportedly relieves pain and heals. And Gweneth Paltrow swears by it.

Cleaver Massage
Trust the Chinese to come up with scary, but reportedly efficient treatments to relieve you of stress! Tourists to Taiwan are flocking to massage centres where trained masseuses knead and strike them with the sharp edge of cleavers and knives. However, there is no bloodshed, because the experts don’t push or pull the object once it touches the skin. This ancient Chinese practice is said to increase blood flow and flush out toxins. Each session lasts between 20 and 30 minutes.

Noodle Bath
Taking the love for noodles to the next level, spas in Japan allow you to chill in a bath tub filled with these soupy noodles and broth. Apparently, the liquid contains collagen, which renews skin cells and gives it a glow.

Sound Bath
Music heals. So, why not attempt sound bath if you are in California? A structure in the middle of Californian desert promises to heal you with sonic power and these sound baths are slowly becoming a global phenomenon. No one is going to knead your muscles and pull your joints. All you have to do is lie on the floor and face the dome-shaped chamber. The music produced by quartz crystal singing bowls apparently produces sound waves that can align your energy points and relieve you of stress, rejuvenating you spiritually.

A Dip In The Brew
Want to have your drink and bathe in it, too? Well, a spa in Prague has a special therapy where you can soak in a tub filled with materials that are used to brew beer — barley, yeast et all. The temperature is maintained at constant so that the mixture bubbles, releasing proteins and vitamins that soothe your body and soul. What’s more, you can also guzzle down the ale brewed at the spa till your session lasts.

Venik Massage
Fancy getting hit with a bundle of hot twigs from oak or eucalyptus tree? If yes, the venik massage, an intrinsic part of a Russian bath, could be your cup of tea. Apparently, this warms up the body, improves blood circulation and boosts metabolism. Many believe that these venik leaves release substance that can arrest the growth of pathogens and delay ageining.

Snake Massage
A spa in Israel claims it has the best treatment to undo the knots in your muscles — by throwing a handful of wriggling, crawling snakes on you. If you are looking for deep massage, snakes up to eight-feet long are placed on the target body. Apparently, these creatures can sense where you feel the pain. This snake massage will reportedly relieve stress and ease aching joints.