Most people are aware of Deep Tissue, Swedish, Sports Massage etc. There’s an array of massages and techniques to suit everyone’s needs. I tend to combine a variety of techniques into my massage treatments. I often rave about the benefits of Fire Cupping Therapy which can seem a slightly daunting therapy for those who have never experienced cupping. Some people will perceive using flames in cups as bizarre. Client’s love it once they have given it a go. There are however, some wacky massages out there that make even a seasoned massage therapist say WTAF! Here’s a selection of some of the weirdest massages.
This ancient Chinese knife massage therapy fell out of popularity in China over the ages. It has become a popular therapy in Taiwan. The Ancient Art of Knife Therapy Education Center in Taipei trains up skilled therapists. The therapy involves using two knives that look like meat cleavers in a rhythmic pummeling motion along the body. Dao Liao uses dulled blades. This makes them safer to use. The knives stimulate the merdian (energy pathways) in the body. Working with the Yin and Yang energies. The concept of two interconnected opposing forces that bring balance.
As scary as Dao Liao seems, it is also rather appealing to me. Tenderised like a piece of meat. Having my aches and pains hacked away. Clearing the energetic pathways and promoting balance. Apparently this is actually a relaxing therapy and less painful than traditional Chinese Massage.
2) Python Massage
Cebu City Zoo in the Phillippines offer this reptilian massage. Giant Burmese Pythons weighing a whopping 250kg pile on top of you. They slither around on you for 15 minutes per session. Beforehand the snakes are fed on chickens. Reducing any temptation to eat the “massage” recipients. Overfeeding these pythons so they can perform these “massages” seems cruel to me. There’s plenty of humans in the world who actually have to undertake professional training before being allowed to work on anyone. Go book yourself a real massage with an actual massage therapist!
The area to be massaged is covered with a cloth and ignited. The flames are left to burn for up to a minute. The fire is then smothered with a wet towel. The area is then massaged. Fire massage is believed to help with joint pain and digestive problems. It is also used to treat what Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to as ‘cold’ related conditions.
Perhaps this could be a fruitful career path for pyromaniacs?
Apparently being slapped across the face can reduce wrinkles, give a more youthful appearance and slimmer looking face. Face slapping has been around for a few years as an actual treatment. Tell people you’re paying for face slapping might prompt them to offer to do it for free.
Paying someone to slap you, now that’s an altogether different kind of service. A face massage is a painless, relaxing better way to look after your mug. This therapist is certainly no slapper!
Ok that’s not what it’s really called. This is actually an ancient technique called Tok Sen. Originating in Northern Thailand using a wooden mallet and wedge. The small wedge is placed on your body and struck with the hammer. The therapist taps along the SEN (energy lines) of the body.
The therapist combines this therapy with Thai massage. It looks scarier than it actually is. As a Thai Massage Therapist I can understand the benefits of Tok Sen. Working on the SEN lines opens up energy pathways, re-energising the body and mind. The rhythmic tapping could be surprisingly relaxing. I would definitely give this one a try. Who knows I might be tempted to introduce it to my own practice.
I wince when I look at some demonstrations of this practice in India. It looks like a form of torture not a therapeutic treatment. I’m sure the hammer strike is exaggerated in the videos purely for entertainment value. Take a look for yourself.
Method in the Madness
These weirdest massages from around the world can give the impression that one must be mad to try them. I can see the therapeutic value in Tok Sen and Dao Liao. For therapies to last a couple of thousand years, there must be some benefit to them. The tools used make the treatments look scary. Knives and hammers don’t conjure up thoughts of a relaxing, calming treatment. Once you can get past that you can begin to see it as just another technique. Albeit techniques for some of the weirdest massages you may come across. The theory behind both these therapies is similar. Working on the meridian and Sen lines is about improving the flow of life force energy in a person. Increasing wellbeing and bringing balance. These are principles that I work with on a daily basis.
Of the weirdest massages listed, I would like to try Tok Sen and Dao Liao when I get the chance. The more I think about it the less strange I find these two therapies to be. My clients will be glad to know that slapping faces and bringing pythons into my treatment room are a definite no, no!