Aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, facials, and seaweed wraps – these are the standard pampering treats on offer when you head spa-wards. But if you're looking for something a bit different in your beauty regime, there's plenty more on offer.
We hunt down the six strangest spa treatments in the UK and where you can try them. Are you brave enough for snail therapy or sitting in a salt cave?!
Weird Spa Treatments
Don't fancy the idea of lots of tiny mouths nibbling away at the dead skin on your feet? You should – one of the most unusual effective new treatments around, the pedicure evolved from a psoriasis therapy.
You sit back in a comfy chair, with your freshly washed feet in a small tank of water, home to a small colony of garra rufa fish, also known as doctor fish. The little finned therapists swarm around getting rid of every last bit of dead and dry skin, even on your cuticles and between your toes, without showing any signs of losing their appetite. Slightly ticklish but still ultra-relaxing, your feet will never have been so smooth without hours of buffing.
Available at Aqua Sheko (www.aquasheko.co.uk), Kensington, London – a 25 minute treatment costs £30.
There's nothing like an eco friendly treatment to make you feel great inside and out, and the Lava Shells massage does just that. Promising all the benefits of a hot stone massage, it uses recycled Tiger Striped Clam Shells (no clams are harvested to create it) which heat up internally before the therapists uses them to either massage or as part of a facial.
The warmth is provided by LavaGel, a self-heating blend of natural ingredients including algae and dried sea kelp, mixed with salt water, to give you a gentle but deep massage, while the facial version is great for leaving skin glowing and toning it. Plus the heat ensures you'll drift off into a completely blessed out state.
Available in 450 spas and salons nationwide including Urban Retreat at Harrods, SenS Spa at the Hilton Park Lane, The Grove, Ragdale Hall, Calcot Manor, Marriott Hotels, Handpicked Hotels, Bannatyne Spas, Dove spas and Bannatyne spas. Visit www.sharedbeautysecrets.com for your nearest stockist. Prices start from £45 for the facial and £50 for the massage.
It may not be quite so strange as its beastly predecessors, bull semen and nightingale droppings, but there's definitely an ewwww factor to the idea of snail slime being plastered over your face. However, if you're looking for supersoft skin, and to get rid of lines, the humble shelled snail is your best friend.
The benefits were apparently discovered by a Chilean family, who were raising snails for the French food market, and found they had incredibly soft hands and any cuts healed rapidly. Instead of catching your very own from the back garden, Hari's Salon (www.harissalon.com) in London has included it in an anti-ageing facial, £105 for 90 minutes, where the snail serum is applied before the final moisturisers to help lift and tone the face.
Would you be baked for beauty? Well, why not! Thermae Bath Spa, (www.thermaebathspa.com) whose mineral rich springs have made the city famous for over two millennia, offer more than taking the waters, with a traditional Kraxen Stove treatment.
The traditional Alpine Hay Chamber therapy makes the most of the natural herbs in the hay, which are released in steam through a stove, soothing the back and shoulder muscles and getting rid of niggling twinges. At £15 for 20 minutes, it's great before a body treatment. While you're there, check out signature therapy Watsu as well, a shiatsu massage while floating in natural thermal water.
If you don't fancy cooking in the name of looking gorgeous, you could always try freezing. The most chilled-out treatment around, kriotherapy is great for boosting the circulation and easing muscle tension – if you can cope with the idea of being for up to three minutes in a chamber cooled to -135C.
Pioneered in Japan in the 70s, it's become a mainstream treatment for professional athletes and it's catching on among civilians as well... After putting on the special clothing to protect your extremities (and your modesty), you walk into the first part of the chamber at -6C, then after 30 seconds you head into the second colder section. Despite the cold you'll come out feeling unexpectedly warm and glowing.
Available at Champneys Tring spa, the Kriotherapy package costs £25.
Thankfully, sitting in a salt cave doesn't involve heading down a mine, but the unexpected therapy has a number of beauty benefits as well as health ones. Dry salt-enriched air is dispersed into the treatment room, getting rid of impurities in the lungs, so you simply have to sit back, keep breathing and relax.
Used to treat various health problems, the dry salt has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, so as well as improving your breathing, which has an impact on your entire body, it promises to leave you feeling revitalised, as well as treating dermatological disorders such as dermatitis.
There are two Salt Cave (www.saltcave.co.uk) centres in London and Tunbridge Wells with hour-long sessions priced from £35.