#3. Sticking Flaming Bulbs on Your Back
The Chinese are well known for their use of traditional medicine; it's just that some of those traditions are better than others. One interesting treatment that has been catching attention recently is Chinese fire cupping, a process that is meant to relieve congestion, improve circulation and even calm menstrual pains.
The downside? It leaves you looking like you were viciously attacked by a baseball-throwing machine.
Or like someone tried to do acupuncture with stalactites.
"Fire cupping" is actually a fairly accurate description of what this "relaxing" treatment entails: While you lie down, the therapist lights a cotton ball on fire, puts it inside a glass bulb and quickly removes it, then sticks the slightly warmed bulb on your back. The vacuum left from the flame creates a suction effect inside the bulb that brings more blood vessels to the surface of your skin than your skin knows what to do with. This supposedly unties knots in your back, in the process bruising the holy hell out of it.
For an extra 20, they'll make you lick their shoes while calling you a filthy whore.
The process is more awkward than painful, but the bruises themselves can take from one week to several months to disappear. This whole thing may look familiar if you've seen that newish Karate Kid movie, in which Jackie Chan performs a fire cupping massage on Will Smith's kid (presumably to cure his menstrual pains). Another famous fan of this technique is Gwyneth Paltrow, who caused a small commotion when she showed up to a film premiere looking like she was covered in crop circles.
Or like Chris Martin had been using her as a coffee table.
The benefits of fire cupping have never been conclusively proven, while the risks range from potential burns, bleeding and, you know, what we just showed you. Even if it works, we're guessing all the relaxation it achieves is undone the next time you look in a mirror.
#2. Getting Placenta Facials
The placenta is easily one of the grossest things about childbirth. It's like your body is saying, "Oh, you like what I did there? Well, I also made you this. Here. Take it."
The natural human reaction to placenta is "Kill it with fire," not "Put it on my face to look pretty" -- and yet there's a dermatology office in Beverly Hills that claims the secret to anti-aging technology lies in taking the waste of the unborn, throwing it into a juicer and mixing it into a face cream.
We're pretty sure some of that is cut with kidney stones.
As for where they get the placentas, they are actually bought from Russian maternity wards, which doesn't sound sketchy at all. Dr. Harold Lancer struck gold when he began importing these medically pretreated placentas and charging A-list celebrities such as Denise Richards and Megan Fox upwards of $350 per facial treatment session. Supposedly, the stem cells and such from the blood of newborn children greatly stimulate collagen production in your skin and/or act as a sacrifice to appease some kind of youth-granting demon.
Megan, please stop. Every time you do that, it makes the room smell like an abortion.
But what if you're desperate/gross enough to want to try this but don't really have the time or money to head out to California for some fancy baby-blood treatment? Don't worry: A quick Google search (filter on, for God's sake) reveals that there are more affordable options out there, like this $90 placental face cream. If even that's out of your range, it turns out sheep placentas are considerably cheaper than Russian babies', judging by this $19.95 Sheep Placenta Extract Anti-aging Anti-wrinkle & Whitening Cream.
From the makers of Sheep Placenta Mouthwash, Sheep Placenta Erectile Dysfunction Cream and Nickelodeon's Gak.
But even if it works, for $350 a session, you'd think celebrities would find something fancier to rub on their faces. And, unfortunately for the human race, you'd be right ...
#1. Rubbing Insanely Expensive Stuff on Yourself
Have you ever wished someone would press diamonds against your back? No, nobody has, because 1) that's crazy and 2) we're pretty sure the hardest, sharpest rocks on the planet aren't the ideal vehicle for muscle relaxation. And yet, here we are.
If you drink a martini out of this glass, you're guaranteed the fanciest death that ever ended with pooping blood.
The Hearts on Fire Diamond Indulgence Lounge's Loose Diamond Massage is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a masseuse is rubbing $1,000,000 worth of cut diamonds into your back to relieve the stresses you must feel from being so obscenely wealthy. The benefits of this $25,000 treatment include being able to laugh your ass off at all the misery in the world, and absolutely nothing else.
"All finished. Any other stupid and completely ineffective things I can charge you for?"
Other indispensable services offered by the Diamond Indulgence Lounge include massaging your face with 24 karat gold, a $1,000 manicure that incorporates real diamonds into the nail design (warning: don't pick your nose or you'll cut your face open) and a $600 hair treatment that uses powdered diamond hair spray. For $100 less, however, you can get something even more insane: Hari's Salon at Harrod's Urban Retreat in the U.K. offers a blow-dry treatment that takes diamond dust and mixes it with powdered freaking meteorites. Clients even get to take home a sample of the diamond/meteorite shampoo so they can rub it in more private places.
In case you ever wanted cosmic debris in your asshole.
Finally, the Voda Spa in West Hollywood, California, gives you the chance to cover your entire body in a caviar-based exfoliant, as if you were about to be eaten by a very classy giant.
And if there's any justice in the universe, maybe you will.
For more misery you can pay for, check out The 6 Worst "Vacations" Money Can Buy. Or discover 7 Great Products for Telling the World You're a Rich Dick.