A spa in Cairo, Egypt is offering snake massages to its customers, with lives snakes made to slither on the backs of people who are after some relaxing therapy.
The massage is something new in Egypt, but it's slowly gaining popularity.
The massage room has some extra inhabitants in the form of pythons, which are used in the latest massage therapy, introduced by Safwat Sedki, the owner of the spa called Chill Out.
There are 29 nonvenomous snakes in Egypt and Sedki uses two types in each session. He begins with the small Abu Sweir ones.
First of all, Sedki spreads oil to heat the body because these snakes thrive in relatively high temperatures. The snake's movements are haphazard, as they can be zigzag or circular, with no particular pattern. Every area the snake moves boosts the blood circulation in the body.
The Abu Sweir snake is ticklish and light on the body and it is much different than the second type to follow. The really scary one is the python, which is much larger and heavier. It squeezes on the body and the forehead to give a relaxing feeling, reduces pain and muscle tightness.
"Honestly, at first it was very scary. It is hard to describe feeling them moving on my body. But then you get used to it. It's so relaxing and safe, in fact, there is nothing to be afraid of. As the session goes on, the movement of the snakes relaxes the body and your mind feels a connection with the snakes. Your mind flows with their movements around the body, a nice feeling," said Mohamed el Bendary, a customer receiving the therapy.
This unorthodox session lasts between 20-40 minutes upon the customer's request.
There are physical and psychological benefits to snake massages. Physically, it stimulates the blood flow and stimulates cerebral circulation. Psychologically, it kills fear and tension, boosts hormones related to relaxation and happiness, which in turn strengthens the immune system and self-confidence especially for those who are scared of snakes, said Sedki.
Though Sedki started the snake massage at the beginning of 2021, he believes it will take off.
"We first targeted our regular clients, we showed them photos of the session, as well as the benefits and safety. Most of them were interested and joined. It spread via word of mouth and then social media increased the momentum. I can see it gaining popularity. Our dream started five years ago to spread the culture of massage in Egypt and make people embrace it," said Sedki.
Sedki says he plans to unveil new types of massages, which are more eccentric than snake massages.