spa treatments Toronto

The top 5 unusual spa treatments in Toronto

Unusual spa treatments in Toronto aren't nearly as daring as some therapeutic practices currently performed around the world - like snake massages, placenta facials, and fish pedicures - but for us, they're likely as close to weird as we're willing (or legally allowed) to go. The adventurous techniques described here prescribe alternative methods that occasionally require a pretty big comfort zone (or, at least, the willingness to step out of your current one).

Here are my picks for the top unusual spa treatments in Toronto.

Moxibustion
There are a handful of places in the city, including Neshama Therapy, that offer moxibustion, which involves burning rolled mugwort - an aromatic herb - over the points of acupuncture along the body. It's meant to strengthen the immune system, dispel colds, and treat muscle pain, arthritis, and pretty much anything that ails you. Luckily, it's more common to practice indirect moxibustion as of late, which doesn't require being burned directly on the skin.

Leech therapy
Balance Acupuncture, another practicioner of Chinese medicine in the city, hosts leech therapy at their facilities in Etobicoke. Leeches containing therapeutic enzymes are placed on different points of the body, secreting saliva while taking blood (which is apparently not painful, just a little uncomfortable). Abrasions on the body will dispel any harmful fluids, leaving hirudosubstances (good stuff from the leeches) to boost the immune system and cleanse the lymphatic system. Probably not the best if you're squeamish.

24 karat gold organic facial
A gold facial seems like an unnecessary extravagance, although if you're interested in the secret to eternal youth, it might be right up your alley. The minerals in gold treatments are meant to leave your skin with a youthful glow. At Sweetgrass Spa, the 24-karat facial also provides exfoliation and a deep cleaning; gold-based facials can also be found at the Four Seasons spa, the Anti-Aging Clinic, Esthetics of Lara, and Spa Aqua (who infuses theirs with diamond and pearl extracts).

Thai massage
The Shangri-La's in-house spa, Miraj Hammam, now offers Thai massage: an intense, full-body treatment that requires you to be fully clothed. It's recommended that you wear comfortable clothes, since Thai massages include a whole lot of push and pull between client and massage therapist. The practice originated with Thai monks, who performed the full-body exercise on one another until it was introduced into their wider communities. (You'll also find it at the brand-new Banh Thai Spa on Adelaide.)

Cupping and gua sha
The Four Seasons Spa works components of traditional Chinese medicine into its spa treatment menu, including packages that include cupping exercises and gua sha. Cupping involves drawing the skin upwards into suction cups and leaving the skin in place for 5-15 minutes to relieve muscle tension and swelling, while gua sha is the practice of scraping oiled skin with a tool made from animal husks or jade. Each result in abrasions and bruising of the skin. You've been warned.

Did I miss any? Leave your picks for unusual spa treatments in the comments.

Photo of the gold facial at the Anti-Aging Clinic.


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