When most of us think of spa treatments, we imagine relaxing facials, soothing massages, and generally treating yourself to a moment of well-deserved pampering. But what if I told you that you could stand in -200 Celsius temperatures, bathe in chocolate, or slather your face in liquid gold, all in the name of beauty and wellness?
Below you'll find some of the most unusual spa treatments across the country. Wherever possible, we chose to include Toronto locations in case you ever work up the nerve (or, let's face it, the extra cash flow) to try any of these out for yourself!
1. Ultrasound Massage // Zephyr, ON
During this 90-minute treatment at HighFields Country Inn & Spa Resort, the heating and massaging effects of the ultrasound machine are meant to stimulate the tissue beneath the skin's surface using sound waves. This treatment intends to penetrate 4 inches beneath the surface of the skin in order to increase blood flow to injured ligaments/muscles, reduce swelling, and soften scar tissue.
2. Cryotherapy in as low as -200 Celsius temperatures // Toronto
If your idea of a spa treatment is something along the lines of closing your eyes to relax during a soothing massage or facial, then cryotherapy, aka stripping down to your underwear and getting blasted by subzero temperatures, will literally come as quite a shock for you. For those daring enough to try it out though, sessions at Cryotherapy Health & Wellness last only 2-3 minutes and claim to relieve joint pain, inflammation, arthritis and varying skin ailments.
3. Eight-Hour Mongolian Massage Journey // Vancouver
I know what you're thinking: an eight-hour massage?! Apparently, it's a treatment developed under the apprenticeship of a 93-year-old shaman in Mongolia and requires three days of fasting, hours of massage, emotional release of 'frozen pain' and rebalancing shamanic energy. By the end of your session, your masseur/therapist at Hälsa Spa will have undone the "blocks and tensions that prevent the total and free expression of your Being, uncovering your True Story."
4. Float Therapy // Toronto
Okay, we have to admit, this is one we might not mind trying for ourselves. At H2O Float Spa you have the chance to float weightlessly in their high-tech, spacious float pods. In doing so, you slowly stretch your body while allowing your mind to relax into a meditative state. H2O's sound-insulated float rooms include heated floors, private showers, and in-tub lights you can choose to turn off if you'd prefer to float in darkness - you can also plug in your own iPod/phone to listen to during your float if you'd like.
5. Chocolate Bath // Montréal
Is this every chocolate lover's dream? At Spa Centrale Parc, you can immerse your body in a chocolate and essential oils mix. Try it solo or with a partner to detox the body and combat fatigue or depression. Oh, and fair warning, you can choose to bathe in luscious Belgian chocolate but it will cost you a mere $5 more. ;)
6. 24 Karat Gold Organic Facial // Toronto
Is it unnecessarily extravagant? Possibly. But if you want to feel an ultimate sense of luxury, then perhaps a 24 karat gold facial is just the treatment for you. The minerals in gold treatments are supposed to have anti-aging properties that leave you with a youthful glow. This particular treatment at Sweetgrass Spa includes "a foot bath, colour therapy, cleanse, exfoliation, deep cleansing masque, lymphatic massage, 24 karat gold masque, finishing creams, scalp, arm, hand and foot massage" in its $190 price tag.
7. Leech Therapy // Brighton, ON
This ancient practice intends to detoxify the blood by applying leeches to the skin to suck out infected blood and leave a salivated enzyme claimed to have a therapeutic effect. Treatments at Elemental Embrace Wellness Spa range from 30 minutes to an hour and, amazingly, claim to not be painful, instead providing relief from ailments like arthritis, inflammation, hair loss, skin diseases, and even anti-aging.
8. Waterfall Massage with Eucalyptus Inhalation Rooms // Banff
Rejuvenate your tired muscles with a pulsating waterfall massage and, if you'd like, follow it up with eucalyptus inhalation rooms for a total body relaxation experience. This treatment is offered at Fairmont Banff Springs' Willow Stream Spa, sometimes referred to as the Castle of the Rockies, and can be enjoyed along with various other options like steam rooms, saunas, an outdoor whirlpool among the alpine air, and spa terraces with absolutely stunning mountain views like the one pictured above!
9. Moxibustion // Toronto
Moxibustion is a Chinese practice that involves rubbing a burning aromatic herb called mugwort over acupuncture points across the body. Neshama Therapy offers the treatment, which is said to treat muscle pain and arthritis while strengthening the immune system and curing colds.
10. Gua Sha // Toronto
Gua Sha is a traditional Chinese medicinal practice that involves scraping your oiled-up skin. Yes, this results in bruising and abrasions yet, ironically enough, intended for pain relief. Gua Sha is included in the Four Seasons Hotel's "Traditional Chinese Medicine - Pain, Anxiety and Stress Relief" package, along with cupping, acupuncture, and energy work meant to balance the body and mind as well as improve overall well-being.
BONUS: Fanny Facial
We just had to include this one as an honourable mention on the list, because butt facials - they're actually a thing. They work by exfoliating your backside before using "Microcurrent Therapy" to lift and tone. The process is meant to smooth the skin and deliver anti-inflammatory effects. Apparently, the treatment used to be offered for a time in Vancouver but was eventually stopped - lack of interest, anyone? Nevertheless, this NYC "cosmedical spa" still offers the treatment for those who can't help but be curious.
Follow us on Snapchat: narcitytoronto