Snake Massage: A Therapeutic Relaxation Trend
A new, fresh, and strange bizarre technique is buzzing in the online and digital world. This is the snake massage. Before, snakes were only known for its skin, venom, and meat, and now they are creating a new statement because they are now used for a calming, soothing, and comforting massage. In the recent years, people have a notion that snakes are bad because they only bring harm to them. In fact, they are one of the most feared animals in the world. But all things really change, they are currently bringing benefits to the community. From the traditional massage with the use of hands, to aromatherapy massage, to hot stone massage, to Thai massage, and down to the latest trend – the snake massage.
Snake massage is a trending type of relaxation and growing in popularity because instead of the traditional massage where hands are being used, snakes take over the job of a masseur. Slithering snakes around the body bring unexplainable sensation and feeling that cannot be compared to the typical massage using hands. The cold, scaly, and soft skin gives a brand new and exciting way of treating and alleviating aches and pains and gives heavenly relaxation (Is Snake Massage Right For You, 2014).
Some animal welfare advocates are concerned with this kind of massage because it is an example of animal exploitation. For them, to exploit means to benefit from something in an unjust way, for example in business. They believe that animals should be treated like humans. Both have the same rights. Humans should never take advantage to animals. All animals play a large role in the environment. Once they are exploited, there will be an unbalanced ecosystem.
History of Snake Massage
In the ancient times, snakes were used in medical fields. They were also a great source of meat and their skins were used to make valuable clothes. The strike of the phenomenal snake massage therapy began in 2013 take the world by storm. In those said years, some believe that only lunatics or persons who are greatly affected with a severely disordered state of mind undergo this peculiar therapeutic practice (Knocky, 2017).
Snakes Used in Massage
Snake massages are popularly and exclusively performed by pythons (Lindwasser, 2018). Pythons are considered as one of the largest and longest snakes in the world. They are non-venomous snakes. They can be located and found in rainforests, deserts, and savannas (Python Facts, 2018).Most of the pythons live in the tropical forests of Asian and Africa. This enormous snake likes warm environments since they are cold-blooded, they cannot control and regulate their body temperature. These creatures adopt the temperature of their surroundings. They are hot when their environment is hot and cold when their environment is cold.
While many humans have phobia in these snakes or they are afraid of these living beings, the truth is snakes are more afraid and frightened of humans. They tend to avoid and do not disturb humans and they also prefer to live peacefully in their natural habitats in the forests. They can grow to be anywhere from twenty-four inches to over thirty feet. Unlike the regular snakes that move in “s” patter, they slither quite slowly and sluggishly by scooching forward in a straight line because of their massive size. Instead, they push their body against the ground and then lift their bellies to move forward.
Because of their speed and size, they count on in their unique characteristics where they can camouflage or blend in their surroundings and having a long patience when they are hunting. They are also great constrictors, so they do not need to poison their prey to kill it, but they squeeze and wrap their body to it until their prey will suffocate and eventually die then they will swallow it whole. They can even eat larger animals than themselves and will digest most of the animals gradually over a long period of time. For this reason, they can eat up to four to five times a year. They are also oviparous which means they lay eggs in a nest, and commonly the female will curl around it to keep the eggs warm and secured until they hatch (The Scoop: A Quiet Giant, 2018).
In captivity, pythons can live up to two or three decades. Others live much longer these, and they tend to live longer than many other snake species. However, because it is hard to document and study snakes in the wild, the natural life spans of wild pythons remain a question to everyone (Team, 2018). Ball pythons are the customary pythons used in snake massage. They are among the most common pet snakes in the world. They do not grow very large compared to other snakes in the python family. Some say that they are relatively easy to take care of. They are named for their ability to coil themselves in a ball as a form of protection from other larger predators. They are commonly fund in the dry grasses of the north and central African savannas or along the forest edges (Slayer, 2015).
Some spas use Burmese python in snake massage. They are native to the jungles and grassy marshes of Southeast Asia. They are among the largest snakes on Earth. They can grow and capable of reaching twenty-three feet or more and can weigh up to two hundred pounds with a girth as large as a telephone pole. When young, they usually spend much of their time in the trees catching preys. On the other hand, as they mature, and the size and weight increase and make tree climbing awkwardly, they transition to mainly ground-dwelling. They are also known in their swimming abilities and they can stay submerged for up to thirty minutes underwater before surface for air (Burmese Python, 2018).
Snake Massage Process
Before the massage starts, snakes are given a bath. The supervising masseur needs to make sure that the snakes are dry and clean before they are put to task on a body (Presse, 2013). After all the preparations needed, a trained python will do the gliding techniques all over a body and will be subsequently followed by other kinds of snake. Normally, the snakes weigh an approximate weight of five hundred fifty pounds. Some say, the larger the snake the better relaxation.
Scientifically, these slithering creatures are trained to massage a tired and aching muscles and skin. For safety measures, their dangerous mouths are tightly sealed with high quality adhesives to make every client harmless and protected while experiencing the comforts of a massage that has a holistic and natural healing principle. The massage is also supervised by a trained masseur. The snakes are also fed thirty minutes beforehand (Knocky, 2018).
Benefits of Snake Massage
Snake massage has a lot of beneficial effects. It is believed and thought that snakes’ movement brings sensations that a masseur’s hands cannot and being laid by the scaly snakes makes fear and terror in customers, unleashing adrenaline to the body – accepted and believed to possibly influence and make an impact to metabolism. One study proved that increased adrenaline was associated to lipolysis or the breakdown of the lipids and lactic acid discharge from muscle.
The snake massage also gives clients with a kind of mental and emotional release, wherein their adrenaline creates for the period of the massage, finishing in a sense of release after it is done. There are a lot of patrons who seek out for horrifying circumstances like having a snake massage where snakes are laid in their back and doing their duties. These high sensation-seekers decisively involve themselves in situations that offered heightened levels of arousal. They are also more reactive to the dopamine which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is secreted and formed in high-intensity situations (Rivas, 2013).
Snake Massage in Philippines
The Cebu City Zoo is giving a free massage to their customers. The massaged is done by no other than the four giant pythons namely Michelle, Daniel, EJ, and Walter. The concept of this attraction arose after one of the zoo visitors from Tajikistan saw a snake slithering and crawling in a zookeeper’s body and coined it ‘snake massage’. Also, in the fear of getting bankrupt because of the death of the zoo’s single tiger, Bogart, this idea was formed to draw visitors again and to increase its profit. The snake massage was done on a bamboo bed.
Before the massage starts, the client will be oriented with what not to do during the massage like never do unnecessary movements, do not make disturbing noises, and blowing air on the snakes during the treatment. For fifteen minutes, the zookeepers will monitor the customer while the snakes are doing their job, slithering around the body of the customer. For some customers, the massage is believed to be therapeutic and comforting. The zoo manager makes sure that the pythons are well fed before the start of the sessions. The pythons are fed ten or more chickens. They are also bathed as part of the preparation and being cleaned afterwards (Cabiluna, 2015).
Davao Crocodile Park is offering an unusual kind of massage in Davao City. This park also offers the same massage in Cebu City Zoo. For five minutes, adrenaline rush lovers can get a peculiar massage from a thirty kilo Albino Burmese python and a forty kilo Burmese python. There is nothing to worry because the snakes are well-trained to interact with people. According to one of the staffs in the park, snakes can help to relieve stress and can locate muscle pains (Araneta, 2017).
Snake Massage in Other Countries
In Jakarta, Indonesia, snake massage is also offered where the typical hands of a jobwise masseur are changed to slithering six-foot snake. Customers feel an extraordinary sensation when the snakes slid over their bodies and they also provide an adrenaline rush. Two masseurs supervised the session to guarantee safety. The mouths of the snakes are kept shut with adhesive tapes. The customers also use this treatment to conquer their fear of snakes. The spa also offered other kinds of massage, but the snake massage has been the most interesting and it steals great attention. However, animal rights activists raised their concerns describing the massage as exploitation (Presse, 2013).
Animal Welfare Concern
Snakes in this kind of industry are deprived of some basic animal rights. In terms of an ideal enclosure, constrictor snakes need like a lot of space to move and behave normally, an appropriate substrate, such as shredded cypress or fir bark, multiple hiding locations for comfort and security, species-specific climate-controlled housing that keeps appropriate temperatures, proper humidity, pleasant ventilation and light, a pool large enough for the snake to be completely immersed. Inappropriate and inefficient enclosure can make snakes ill, injured, and stressed. They can also suffer from starving, dehydration, parasites, respiratory infections, and mouth rot if they are not cared properly.
Abnormal behaviors of snake can also be developed, such as constant pushing against and climbing up transparent boundaries, fear-related escape activities, and a broad range of other peculiar behaviors, are common in overly restrictive and exposed environments (Captive Large Constrictor Snake Welfare Issues, 2012). Snakes have five common movement manners namely rectilinear, concertina, sidewinding, serpentine lateral undulation, sliding behavior, and flying. All these styles are needed by snakes to slither around its surroundings. Moreover, all species of snake naturally stretch out. So snakes confined in small cages or enclosures can cause them stress, injury, and diseases. For the past reports and researches have made clear the necessity for snakes to stretch out and straighten their bodies as a vital welfare element (Bekoff, 2018).
Role of Snakes in the Ecosystem
Snakes take an important role in the nature. They are valuable because they control the populations of their prey. Removal of snakes in their natural habitats can have unpredicted effects on an ecosystem. As predators, they regulate the numbers of their prey down. Specifically, snake to control rodents’ and insects’ populations. Rodents and snakes make up the diet of many snake species. The eating habits if snakes serve as a natural form of pest control. Because of the snakes, they nullify the need for pesticides and insecticides. Some biologists release snakes in and around villages as a means of protecting harvest from the rodents and insects. Moreover, the decrease in the populations of rodents and insects reduces the spread of diseases (De Silva, 2011).
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