The world’s strangest spa therapies

Bored of massages? Well, why not try brainwave or burning herb therapy, or how about nasal treatment?


Every Wednesday, three rival salon owners compete against each other in Spa Wars.


As the ITVBe show reveals, the wellness industry is a competitive and cutthroat business nowadays. It’s not enough to be mainstream; spas must constantly be one step ahead to cater for discerning customers who demand treatments that give them an experience like no other.

We asked Health and Fitness Travel to reveal the most unusual spa therapies out there and they didn’t disappoint. From colour therapy in Malaysia to ghee therapy in Nepal, these unconventional therapies will raise the eyebrows of even the most seasoned spa aficionado.

1. Ghee therapy in Nepal

For a real eye-opener, try ‘Akshi Tarpana’, an ayurvedic treatment that involves applying ghee to the eyes to treat eye disorders or simply revive tired eyes. Whilst lying down, a ‘ring’ of flour paste is formed around the eyes into which medicated ghee is then gently poured, followed by intermittent opening and closing of the eyes.

Where? Ananda Rejuvenation in the Himalayan foothills

2. Brainwave therapy in Thailand

Anja Light Therapy uses dynamic neural stimulating brainwave technology to induce deep meditative states – a state usually only obtained by meditative experts such as Buddhist monks and Shamans. They say it you’ll explore the depths of your perception, develop clarity and direction, reduce stress and anxiety, and cultivate a more profound connection with a broader reality. You might even be lucky enough to experience out-of-body and astral projections.

Where? Phuket Cleanse on the tropical island of Phuket

3. Burning Herb Therapy in Italy

‘Moxibustion’ is a Chinese therapeutic technique meaning ‘burning herb’. This therapy has nothing to do with smoking recreational ‘herbs’; rather, a small, spongey medicinal herb called mugwort is burnt on various acupuncture points and energy pathways around the body. For those concerned about combustion, there’s no need to worry: after the ‘moxa’ is placed on the body and lit, it is extinguished and removed before it burns the skin, producing a pleasant heating sensation. Apparently this treatment strengthens the blood and stimulates energy levels.

Where? Lefay SPA, which overlooks Lake Garda in the north of Italy

4. Colour Therapy in Malaysia

Experience chromotherapy, a technique using colours to adjust body vibrations to frequencies that encourage greater health and harmony. By cultivating the frequencies of individual colours to balance and re-shape the energy in our bodies, a greater level of physical and spiritual healing can be achieved (or so they promise). A blue light can promote relaxation and calm whilst aiding the recurrence of headaches and nervous tension, whilst pink eliminates impurities in the blood.

Where? The Banjaran Rejuvenation, among limestone hills on the outskirts of the city of Ipoh

5. Heart Stone Massage in Vietnam

For a massage with a heartfelt difference, try the Himalayan Heart Stone Massage, a gentle, alkalising therapy using warm heart-shaped salt stones and pomelo oil to promote inner peace. The warmth from the stones will ease tense muscles and soothe aches and pains, while the stones’ positive ions are believed to rid your body of harmful vibrations and clear the air around you.

Where? Fusion Maia on Vietnam’s East Coast

6. Nasal Treatment in India

“Nasya” is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that encourages nasal administration of medicinal herbs, decoctions and oils, to clear sinus congestion and expel toxins from the head and neck region. With the nose being the gateway to the brain, you’ll breathe easy knowing you’re healing your mind as well as your body.

Where? SwaSwara Ayurveda on the west coast of India

7. Let someone walkover all over you in St Lucia

Whilst having someone walk all over you may not seem like therapy, an ancient Indian massage technique called “chavutti thirumal” releases muscular tension, stretches the body and improves circulation and energy flow, and is perfect for those who enjoy deep tissue massage. Also known as Indian rope massage, the therapist holds onto a rope above their head for balance and to adjust pressure, while using their feet to deliver a stronger, deeper massage.

Where? BodyHoliday De-Stress in St Lucia

For more information and prices for the spas above, go to  

Radio Times Travel short breaks

Save 33% on a two-night spa break, Ragdale Hall in Melton Mowbray, two nights from £407pp. Ragdale Hall Health Hydro & Thermal Spa combines state of the art facilities and treatments with the charm of traditional Victorian architecture to create one of the most luxurious and relaxing health spas in the country. It has won a string of awards for its facilities and outstanding customer service. Click here for more details and to book

Spa days at Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham from £65pp. In the 90-acre grounds of the Ellenborough Park estate, the spa is for adults aged 18 and over. With sandy coloured stone and a laid-back atmosphere, it’s a rejuvenating retreat for guests, the spa has been designed as a tranquil and welcoming space in which visitors can unwind and recharge their batteries. Click here for more details and to book


 For more spa breaks, go to