Close your eyes and imagine snakes slithering across your skin. The simple thought of it is spine-chilling, am I right?
The fear of snakes is the most common phobia around the world, and for good reason.
Our survival instincts tell us to stay away from these reptiles because snakes are seen as dangerous predators.
So who in their right mind would get massaged by a snake?
Believe me, snake massages are not an episode on Fear Factor.
There are some cultures that have associated snakes with healing since ancient times.
And some people today claim that getting massaged by these long reptiles have loads of health benefits.
Snake massages have become a recent trend around the world, but is it worth the hype?
A Snake Massage A Day Can Keep The Doctor Away?
It beats me how some people keep snakes as pets, but to pay money to have them released on you is just beyond my comprehension.
The people who supervise these massages are known as snake priestesses.
They guide non-venemous snakes, like boa constrictors, which are the largest snakes in the world, to glide over a customer's body.
The priestess will usually choose three or four snakes to slither across their client's skin, wrapping around the feet, arms, head, and neck.
"A snake massage, in essence, is a sensational and deep dive into sensual bliss," Serpentessa, a snake priestess at Dreaming Goddess in New York told New York Insider. "And how you feel afterwards is directly related to how you were feeling in the beginning."
These snake priestesses also claim that these massages have loads of health benefits.
“They tone and stimulate the vagus nerve in our body and that releases endorphins and oxytocin. Those are the feel good hormones," Serpentessa told CBSNY.
Snake massages are also believed to lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and improve the blood flow to the heart, decreasing the risk of heart disease.
Serpentessa added that people reach out to her to get over their fear of snakes, or for healing and empowerment purposes.
But how safe are these massages?
The Pros And Cons
"It felt like a giant hug, which was really nice," one client told New York Insider.
“It was a lot calmer and peaceful than I thought it would be,” another client, who had a fear of snakes, told CBSNY. “There was a point it felt like they were just hugging me around the shoulders. It just felt very calm – like I could fall asleep.”
Serpentessa, who has been specialized as a interspecies facilitator for 25 years, said no one can guarantee a client's safety.
“There are no guarantees with a wild animal. You are the one who’s going to choose whether if it’s safe for you or not. So no one has ever been hurt by one of my boa constrictors.”
That being said, these qualified professionals make sure both their client and snakes are comfortable to ensure a positive experience.
For example, snakes aren't forced to work at any time, especially when they're feeding, shedding, or sick.