Different people find different things relaxing. Some of us enjoy just sitting back and chilling, while others prefer sticking needles on their backs. But we honestly think some people are faking it when they claim to enjoy ...
#6. Being Massaged by Snakes, Elephants
The relaxing effect of a massage depends in great part on what type of massage therapist is handling your body parts. It's always a little hard to relax if the person has cold hands, for example, or if they are actually not a person but several snakes. Which, yes, is a real thing they do in Israel.
Do NOT ask for a "happy ending." Only one of those two words is correct.
Ada Barak's Carnivorous Plant Farm in Northern Israel offers a unique (we hope) massage treatment delivered entirely by serpents. Barak says she got the idea when she noticed the snakes hiding around the pots of her already dangerous goddamn plants and realized some visitors actually liked the tingling sensation they caused while being handled, so she began charging about $70 to dump snakes all over their bodies. And we mean the entire body.
So if any of your friends suddenly order flights to Israel, you probably shouldn't trust them to snake-sit your boa constrictor.
The larger snakes concentrate on the belly or back and give more of a kneading effect, while the smaller ones go off and explore other places like, oh, your face. Seriously, watch as the snakes slither across a guy's eyes at around 0:46 in this video, if you dare.
Any judge would consider tickling her right now attempted murder.
While the snakes are all nonvenomous, we certainly understand if this freaks you out instead of soothing you -- we can think of dozens of other animals that are more qualified to massage people. The elephant, by the way, isn't one of them.
But nobody tell this girl.
In Thailand, elephants are trained to do a number of things, from playing soccer to using instruments to stepping on the backs of defenseless tourists, apparently. The Maesa Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai features elephants of the latter type: While you lay on your face, the elephant will place its foot on your back to "help ease your stress." Ninety percent of that stress, of course, comes from the fact that you just saw an approaching wild animal that is capable of crushing you like a slug.
Sometimes the tourists are given the impression that a baby elephant will be doing the stepping, only for it to be switched to an adult one when it's too late to turn back. You know, for comic effect. Yeah, Thailand doesn't do "relaxing" very well. And that might just explain ...
#5. Getting Massaged in Prison (By Convicts)
Thailand's Chiang Mai Women's Correctional Institution has taken a capitalist approach to prisoner rehabilitation, opening its doors to the general public and inviting people to (willingly) come into a section of the prison for massages from the inmates. In this case, "happy ending" means nobody got murdered.
Coincidentally, this is the same treatment they give snitches.
The women at the correctional institution are trained in giving quality massages, and purportedly do a very good job at it. Even so, going into a prison to alleviate tension is a little like going into a morgue to work up an appetite. And speaking of which, should being groped by a convict make you hungry, this particular correctional institution also has a coffee shop:
The only currencies they accept are cigarettes and toilet hooch.
And a gift shop, for anyone who wants a souvenir of their visit to prison:
You can buy temporary teardrop tattoos by the sheet.
Also, keep in mind that "correctional institution" in many cases is legal jargon for "prison for the people the real jail kicked out so new prisoners could have beds." With Thailand being a popular stop for sex trafficking and a member of the Golden Triangle of opium and heroin production in Southeast Asia, you have no way of knowing whose blood, fluids or drugs are on the hands that just rubbed those knots out of your back.
#4. Swimming in Hot Tea, Coffee or Booze
... and we mean that literally.
As one of the world leaders in per capita stress and weirdness, it was to be expected that Japan would come up with some unusual relaxation treatments. Even then, you probably didn't see this coming:
Make it Mad Dog 20/20 and you could fill that whole pool for like 30 bucks.
Yes, that's real wine pouring down from a giant bottle into a pool -- you can literally swim in booze. This is like something Scrooge McDuck would have in his mansion if he were a raging alcoholic. While visitors are allowed to drink the wine, we wouldn't really recommend it.
There isn't one person in this picture who isn't peeing.
The Wine Spa is located at the Yunnesun Hot Springs Amusement Park & Resort in Hakone near Mount Fuji, which, among other things, also allows you to bathe in authentic sake ...
"Man, this tastes like ass."
... or, if you're driving back home and would rather not do it reeking of booze, you can relax with some green tea:
"My junk is a tea bag! This is basically Halo."
The Yunnesun website notes that green tea is a powerful antioxidant and has many beneficial features. Yeah, when you drink it. While it's true that Cleopatra was known for bathing in wine, as the website states, she was also known for marrying her brothers and having her sister killed. Cleopatra is not a good person to base your amusement park on, is what we're getting at.
Of course, if you're actually looking for the opposite of relaxation, the resort also features a giant bath of coffee made with hot spring water, which is guaranteed to "perk up your senses." Side effects include persistent twitching and the inability to sleep for the next five months.
To go from "medium roast" to "espresso," just relax.