Published on Friday, 30 May 2014 00:00
Everyone loves a good massage to get stress-induced kinks out. But getting “massaged” by four massive pythons, weighing a total of 250kg, and constricting themselves around you might probably stress you out further especially with the thought of death on your mind. This bizarre snake massage is offered complimentary to anyone brave and daring enough at the Cebu City Zoo in Philippines.
According to zoo manager Giovanni Romarate, the free massages are a part of a new theme that encourages visitors to interact more with the animals. “We are going to change the zoo into an interactive one,” said Giovanni. “Everybody could have an experience and have a chance to hold and pet some of the animals here, including the snake massage that we newly introduced.”
As a preventive measure, the four snakes – Walter, EJ, Daiel and Michelle – are fed about 10 chickens each before the massage to avoid last minute hunger pangs. Obviously, the zoo authorities would prefer them to not devour their customers as it would be bad for the zoo's reputation.
“Snakes do not attack as long as they are not harmed. We also made sure that we use pythons because they are not venomous,” Giovanni elaborated. “At first, visitors feel fear but most of the guests who try the snake massage say that they like it. It's like getting a hand massage. You get to enjoy the cold grip of our snakes.”
The participants are given a set of safety instructions as well. According to tourist Ian Maclean from Hawaii who very courageously went up to try out the massage said, “I've been massaged twice and lived to tell the tale. I had to lie on my back on a bamboo daybed in the open air. I was briefed on what to do and what not to do during the massage.”
“These instructions are crucial, as you can imagine. They tell you not to blow air on the snake, because this is like being pinched on the bum, apparently. You can't shout for help as the snake can feel your vibrations and thinks you're prey or a predator, depending on the environment,” Ian added.
The slithering motion is said to be therapeutic and calming; the flickering of the tongue on skin supposedly mimics a tickling sensation.
A very happy and satisfied customer testified, “It’s actually a good massage. They’re massaging my core and it’s not too heavy. Except for the snake trying to constrict my neck, it’s actually quite comfortable.”
The idea of using snakes as masseurs is downright weird, but a very ingenious and creative one. Imagine how many adrenaline-seeking junkies would fly down to the Philippines mainly to try out this unusual form of massage.
Check out the video below to see zoo-goers getting massaged by the 6 meters enormous reptiles.