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10 Obscure Wellness Treatments Worth the Trip

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10 Obscure Wellness Treatments Worth the Trip
Several years ago the world discovered that the hottest beauty treatment was a fish pedicure. It’s just like a regular pedicure—except it includes a handful of small fish nibbling away at the dead skin on your feet. While that trend has faded (thankfully), the world is full of uncommon wellness treatments that you’ll have to travel for. We can’t promise that there won’t be any critters involved, but there is something for everyone among these 10 services.
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    Seaweed Bath: Ireland
    If you’re the type of person who can’t stand seaweed grazing your foot in the ocean, then you might not love the seaweed baths at Voya in northwestern Ireland. But trust: The slightly slimy sensation is worth it. The hour-long treatment includes a steam treatment to open pores before being submerged into a tub filled with hand-harvested seaweed from the nearby Atlantic coast. Seaweed has natural healing properties thanks to its high content of antioxidants and vitamins, all of which can be absorbed through ingestion or soaking. The treatment will soften your hair and skin, work to detoxify your body, and help to regulate your metabolism.
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    Hair Washing: Taiwan
    Think about all the brief five-minute hair washing that you get at the salon before a cut, now tack on another 20 minutes, then add on an hour of massage, and you’ve just enjoying a Taiwanese hair washing. The practice of getting your hair washed is a common treatment for residents in Taiwan and is a something for visitors who are looking for an inexpensive way to relax. For less than $20, your hair is not only washed and styled, but you’ll also get a neck, back, and scalp massage.
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    Sound Bath: California
    Although California is a coastal state, the sound bath at Integratron in Landers, California, is waterless. Located in the middle to the Mojave Desert and just 20 miles from Joshua Tree, the Integratron is a 38-foot-high wooden dome that, according to its creator, was “built on an intersection of powerful geomagnetic forces that, when focused by the unique geometry of the building, concentrate and amplify the earth’s magnetic field.” Inside, visitors are bathed in the sounds of quartz crystal bowls being played over the course of an hour. The waves of sound are meant to calm the nervous system, heighten awareness, and relax both mind and body.
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    Horse Wisdom Psychotherapy: Australia
    For those looking to treat their mental and physical health, equine-assisted therapy tackles both. At the Equine Psychotherapy Institute in Australia, you can help manage stress and anxiety by spending an hour or an entire afternoon riding, grooming, and feeding horses. The human relationship with horses for therapeutic purposes dates back to the 17th century when it was seen as a way to help cure gout and neurological disorders and to increase morale.
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    Snail Facial: Thailand
    Snail facials aren’t for everyone. At the Rélee Spa in Chiang Mai, four mollusks make their way around your face for 40 minutes, leaving behind a trail of fluid that is said to firm your skin and smooth out wrinkles. If you don’t have the stomach to let the slimy creatures crawl across your skin, the spa also sells skin care ingredients made with snail secretions.
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    Beer Bath: Czech Republic
    While a beer bath may seem like the stuff of Homer Simpson’s dreams, it’s a reality in Prague where you can soak in a tub of the Czech Republic’s finest brews for less than $100. Beer bathhouses claim that the practice has been around for 2,000 years—since brewer’s yeast was used for medicinal purposes. An hour-long soak can help to stimulate your metabolism, improve blood circulation, and soothe your hair, skin, and muscles thanks to the active enzymes and high doses of vitamin B in brewer’s yeast. Having a tap from which you can freely pour yourself pints of Czech beer helps with the relaxation, too.
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    Sake, Wine, Coffee, and Tea Soaks: Japan
    At Yunessun Spa Resort, you’ll find several pools filled with some of your favorite beverages. Inspired by the traditional onsens of Japan, this spa is actually a theme park of different baths filled with green tea, coffee, sake, or wine. We don’t advise drinking the liquid you’re soaking in, but all four pools have rejuvenating and cooling effects on the skin.
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    Hay Bath: Italy
    The phrase “hitting the hay” takes on a whole new meaning at Hotel Heubad in northern Italy. The hotel’s spa offers a “hay bath” in which you’re first wrapped in “fatty” hot hay, then lie on a waterbed while you’re then wrapped in a sheet. It sounds a little itchy to us, but according to the hotel and area farmers, the practice has been around since the early 20th century. Farmers used to nap in bushels of hay and discovered that the hay helped to alleviate muscle cramps, stiff necks, and back pain.
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    Warm Crude Oil Bath: Azerbaijan
    As far back as the 6th century B.C.E., people have been soaking themselves in warm crude oil, or unrefined petroleum, and according to local medical specialists, it can heal more than 70 diseases, skin conditions like eczema, and even impotence. A barrel of crude oil is heated up to just over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and poured into a tub. After a 10-minute soak, you come out looking like a swamp creature before the oil is scraped off of your skin for 40 minutes.
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    Catcus Massage: Mexico
    While having your back rubbed with cacti may not sound relaxing, the Hakali massage at the Four Seasons in Punta Mita, Mexico, removes the spikes from the cactus before rubbing the warm pads across your back. The cactus oils are believed to hydrate the skin and remove toxins from the body, and the practice is an ancient treatment used by the local Huichol Indians. We don’t recommend trying it at home, though.
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