Strange Massage Techniques- 4 Odd Massages

Strange Massage Techniques

Get ready to explore the surreal. You are about to discover 4 odd massages. Photo by Serrah Galos on Unsplash

There is something exhilarating about living on the edge. Incorporating a little bit of danger into our lives adds excitement, variety, and color. This is why people jump out of planes or eat fugu- it adds something that wasn’t there before.

Massages aren’t usually considered the most high-risk activity. Afterall, you are usually just lying there, listening to relaxing music while getting the tension rubbed out of your body. However, if you get creative, you can start to see different ways to make massages a little bit wilder.

Below, you will discover 4 strange massage techniques and learn about their unusual benefits.

Before we continue, I would like to emphasize that this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Please click the link to read my full medical disclaimer.

Cactus Massage

When most people look at a cactus, they do not think “This looks like it would give a fantastic massage.” However, a cactus massage is just what luxurious the Four Seasons hotel in Punta Mita, Mexico offers. They use the native nopal cactus to create a massage unlike anything that you have experienced before.

Another name for the nopal cactus is the prickly pear (not exactly the type of name that you would associate with a great massage). More encouragingly, it is related to the aloe vera, which you may have already used for its skin healing properties. Recently, scientists have been discovering that nopal is very powerful. It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, hypoglycemic, and neuroprotective.

Strange Massage Techniques

I am willing to bet that these do not come to mind when you think of a great massage. Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Now for the good news: they remove the spikes before you get the massage. Your massage therapist will split the cactus in half making sure that you get all of the benefits from the inside without the tough exterior. The cactus massage also uses indigenous flora, sage, and tequila body lotion.

The Cactus massage is a truly unique massage experience that gives you the best of Punta Mita.

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Knife Massage

Knives are also not usually associated with relaxing massage treatments. They are more likely to be associated with butchers, dismemberment, and even death.

Despite this, knife massages have existed in Asia for thousands of years. It is difficult to know how they started using knives to give massage (I can only imagine the scenario that gave rise to this massage technique). However, knife massages have a variety of benefits.

For one thing, it is gentle on the massage therapists hands. Kneading and other massage techniques are very tough on the joints and can put limitations on a massage therapist. However, using a tool such as a knife can decrease some of the stress on the joints.

Another benefit of a knife massage is that it provides a strong massage. The long thin edge of the knife can penetrate and break up tissue more than hands alone.

Below is a video of a knife therapy massage in Malaysia.

Like reflexology, massage therapists who perform knife massages focus on the release of chi, or a life force in the body. Many people are skeptical of the concept of chi because it is impossible to prove with science. Regardless of whether release chi is therapeutic, many people find knife massages deeply relaxing which can be therapeutic in and of itself.

One downside of the knife massage is that it is a fairly aggressive form of massage therapy (even though the tapping isn’t always heavy, it does have a lot of quick movements).

If you are fairly healthy, it should be fine, but if you suffer from a lot of pain or have a chronic condition, you must make sure that you communicate with your massage therapist about where they should avoid and areas that they should go light on before you start your knife massage.

Overall, a knife massage is a very unique massage treatment that has many therapeutic benefits.

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Snake Massage

Strange Massage Techniques

Would you want a massage from a green tree python? Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

There are many people that have an intense fear of snakes-  about ⅓ of adults according to the National Institute of Health. It is one of the most common phobias in the world- and not by accident. Some researchers believe that people have an innate fear of snakes as a survival mechanism.

The surge of adrenaline that you can get from a snake massage is one of the greatest benefits of this massage. Adrenaline has many benefits. It can help reduce pain by increasing your focus and boost your immune system. The Iceman, Wim Hof, is able to withstand freezing cold temperatures and resist diseases thanks to his ability to maintain heightened levels of adrenaline.

But what if you are completely calm around snakes? There are benefits for you too. A snake massage would likely put you into a deeply relaxed state promoting healing and recuperation.

Snake massages are usually performed by the nonpoisonous boa constrictor (which kills its prey by squeezing it rather than through venom). The boas basically free roam over your body in whatever way they choose. It can be a wonderful exercise in confronting your fears and giving up control.

As far as safety is concerned, I would like to stress two important points. First off, make sure that you follow all instructions about how to handle the snakes while you are getting your massage. You do not want to injure the snakes or yourself.

Also, make sure that you know your level of fear. If you have panic attacks when you are around snakes, a snake massage would not be a good first step to confronting your fears, since you could risk hurting the snake.

Overall, a snake massage is a unique massage treatment that can inspire personal growth by encouraging you to face your fears.

Below is a video from Insider to show you how a snake can give you a massage.

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Elephant Massage

Strange Massage Techniques

Elephant massages can potentially lead to more harm than good Photo by James Hammond on Unsplash

Elephants are certainly not the most feared creature. If anything, people see them as gentle giants. However, it is very rare for someone to say that their idea of relaxation is having an elephant walk all over them.

Elephant massages are a popular tourist activity in Thailand. There are plenty of videos of elephant massages on youtube. The main benefit of an elephant massage is the novelty of putting yourself in a dangerous situation and of seeing the gentleness of an elephant. It is more interesting than relaxing.

However, the downsides are steep. The elephants are often subjected to harsh and abusive training to get them to perform (unlike the snakes which pretty much just go free). I personally sympathize with the elephants and encourage you to think twice if you are considering an elephant massage.

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More strange massage techniques

If you want to see even more strange massages, I encourage you to check out youtube. They have massage therapists demonstrating a variety of bizarre and creative massage techniques. Many of them include some element of ASMR.

A lot of them experiment with everyday tools such as scissors, pencils, and pizza cutters (do not try it at home!). Some involve costumes and food. It is truly amazing what the human mind can come up with!

Strange Massage Techniques

Which strange massage technique would you try? Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

In conclusion, many uncommon massage modalities offer unique therapeutic benefits. Whether it is from the skin soothing properties of the nopal cactus or the adrenaline-boosting snake massage, uncommon massages have uncommon benefits.

However, it is important to take into account whether these massage techniques can potentially result in harm. Many of these massages have an element of danger to them, but an elephant massage may be too harmful to the elephants giving them.

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Now it’s your turn

Which of these massages would you get? Would you want to try out the soothing cactus massage? Or maybe a knife massage? Are there any massages of this list that you just couldn’t do?

Please let me know in the comments down below.

  1. This is so cool!

    I did not know any of those four techniques were used. It definitely makes me curious and want to try them out during my travels.

    I am happy that you had videos on there as well for reference. I cannot even explain what I was picturing for the snake massage!

    Great article and thanks,

    • Haha- yes, it is difficult to imagine the techniques without video. The video of the knife massages clarified a lot for me. Learning about the cactus massage made me want to visit Punta Mita!

  2. Hi Eva,

    What an interesting site! It looks and flows very nicely, with some very unique subject matter. I liked reading about the cactus massage, because of it’s medicinal properties, being anti-inflammatory, etc. I’ve believed in natural solutions to ailments and illness, and even being massaged by a snake furthers that notion… know, I can readily imagine that being massaged by a Boa would be very relaxing to a stressed-out, tense body.

    Excellent post which I really enjoyed reading…..great job!


    • Thanks, Terry. I was surprised by the potential of the Nopal plant. It is always really cool when hotels incorporate things that are unique to the area. 

      I am actually very scared of snakes, so I don’t know how I would react to a snake massage. However, it is supposed to have some benefits whether you are scared of the snakes or not. 

  3. Using a nopal cactus to do massage sounds almost like doing acupuncture. It also has antioxidant which is good for preventing cancers. That is so cool. It is anti-inflammatory so being able to relieve pain and soreness is a given.

    Knife massages also sounds very strange to me even though I am asian. Nevertheless, it reminds me of gua sha which is something we use to “move the qi” energy in the body like you said. It is as if a lot of massages can be traced back to china. What do you think?

    • I definitely agree. Many aspects of massage therapy can be traced back to China. I’ll have to check out gua sha. 

      With the nopal cactus, thankfully they remove the spines so there is no sticking involved. 

  4. It’s a bit shocking that knife massages has existed in Asia for such a long time. My friend’s back has been sore from playing extensive sports, so this sounds like something that she may be interesting it–especially since is can help break up tissue. Thanks for sharing the benefits of so many different types of massages. My friend will love to try these out!

    • Yes, it is shocking. I do wonder who got the idea to try knife massages in the first place. It does seem like a great way to do a percussion massage that is easy on the joints.

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