Snake Massage

At a spa–carnivorous plant farm in northern Israel, you can get a snake massage for just $80. Spa mistress Ada Barak came up with the idea after visitors who came to scope out her carnivorous plants (which eat schnitzel, among other things) enjoyed the sensation of holding the garden snakes she’d pass around after the tour. For the snake massage, she basically plops a mass of entwined snakes of various sizes on your stomach and lets them slither all over you. This is supposed to have “calming and curative effects.” Time sent a writer to try out this treatment. “After some experimenting” Barak perfected her treatment with a combination of big snakes which produce a kneading sensation and little snakes “whose passage over the skin is a trembling flutter.” How big is big?

Just as I am psyching myself up for the treatment, I see one of the little snakes, with a string of brick-colored diamonds along its spine, open its mouth impossibly wide. Is it going to strike? No — it coughs up a half-digested mouse, leading me to assume that the snake is as queasy about giving me a massage as I am about getting one.

Wow, gross? To top that off, once the snakes get to work, one nibbles on the subject’s eyelashes. The writer emerges from the “massage” feeling “relaxed and curiously lightheaded.” You know, if snakes that ate mice had a nibble of our eyelashes from the comfort of our stomach, we’d feel a little lightheaded, too.