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Brave New Spas

Throw your pampering precepts out the window. From soaking in a tub of warm beer in Bohemia to getting rubbed all over with golf balls in Cali, it seems the Zen dens of the future will be playing a lot less pan flute music.

close up of man having his back massaged with golf balls

GOLF BALL MASSAGE
Think of this apres-golf rubdown as Rollersage's dimpled cousin. After you've chased spheres down fairways and hunted for strays in the woods all day, wouldn't it be cool of them to pay you back for your valiant attempts to leave no ball behind? Well, at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, California, your wayward Callaways and Titleists will make it up to you for all their awkward bounces with a golf ball massage. And at Ahhhmmm Massage Therapy in Thousand Oaks, California, therapist Heather Karr has designed a special caddy for her golf massage balls to allow for deeper tissue massage.
Benefits Claimed: Along with relieving muscle pain and erasing memories of that disastrous triple bogey on the back nine, this massage will also loosen up your swing and leave you feeling more relaxed in your stance.

CRYOTHERAPY
Physiotherapists, pro team docs and Dr. Mom know that icing a boo-boo after a sports injury is a smart idea, and enduring a deep, full-body chill can have a similarly soothing effect. Forget about the staid cold room as a bracing waypoint on a steam, sauna, hot-tub circuit. At the Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, B.C., you can feel what it's like to be Ted Williams's frozen corpse. Think of cryotherapy as the polar opposite of standing in a hot yoga studio: experience a -110°C arctic blast for three minutes. While you only wear a swimsuit during the procedure, your extremities are protected with a toque, gloves and shoes.
Benefits Claimed:Refreshes the nervous and circulatory systems, lessens the pain associated with osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis and improves muscle function.

collage: woman having cryotherapy, Sedona spa, man in beer bath, woman's back covered with snakes

PSYCHIC MASSAGE
If Charles Xavier (the X-Men's majordomo) worked at a spa, this would totally be his bag. Psychic massage pairs gentle body work with an energy reading that analyzes the patterns of your mind as they present themselves on your body. Your therapist will read your psychic energy and impart some insight (that kink in your neck could be stymieing your creative flow), and then wipe your slate clean with an energy-balancing massage. This is one of many unique treatments offered at Mii amo in Sedona, Arizona, which was voted Travel + Leisure's #1 Destination Spa in the World in readers' surveys in 2007 and 2009.
Benefits Claimed: Leave debilitating fears and other emotional baggage behind and allow a renewed consciousness to take hold. It's a relaxation one-two punch, healing your body and your mind.

BEER BATH THERAPY
In the basement of Chodovar Brewery's Beer Wellness Land, a two-hour jaunt west of Prague, Czechoslovakia, stainless steel hot-tubs are filled with caramel-colored bathing beer that's warmed to a toasty 34°C. While your pores soak up the frothy goodness of hops, yeast and mineral water, you can down a cold one to enhance the buzz of the total brew immersion experience.
Benefits Claimed: Aside from doing wonders for your complexion and adding luster to your hair, beer baths are believed to relieve stress, relax muscles and act as a curative balm to a host of skin ailments, including eczema and psoriasis.

ADA BARAK'S SNAKE SPA
Maybe Indiana Jones should have spent more leisure time in that writhing viper pit in Raiders of the Lost Ark before getting the hell out of dodge. Just ask Ada Barak, the owner of Ada Barak's Carnivorous Plant Farm, which houses her snake spa in northern Israel. The, um, caress of a pile of non-venomous snakes, including Florida king snakes, corn snakes and milk snakes, crawling over your body is a massage fit for someone like rock god, Slash. While the bigger snakes knead large muscle groups in your back, the smaller critters go to work on your face.
Benefits Claimed: While Fear Factor contestants might protest, getting up close and personal with the serpentine reptiles is believed to relax sore muscles and can also alleviate a headache.