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12 of the Most Unique Spas in the World

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12 Unique Spas You Might Just Find are the Most Relaxing

Picture this: You’re lying on a massage table, but instead of the masseuse’s hands, snakes slither along your back. They weave through your hair, nibble on your eyelashes, and curl around your toes.

You can get one of these odd massages on a farm in northern Israel. There and at the rest of the world’s most unique spas, you’ll be immersed in unforgettable, oddball situations that all somehow share the same common goal—to help you heal and relax.

1. Bota Bota, Canada

floating spa

Most folks love the sound of waves when getting a massage. At Bota Bota, you’re on the waves—floating on a barge-turned-1960s-showboat that morphed into a luxury spa in 2008. It’s anchored in the Saint Lawrence River in the port of Old Montreal. Clients typically start with the “water circuit,” a series of pools, showers, sauna, and a steam bath, and then indulge in a body treatment like the Cocoa Wave or Honey Ocean. Hang on to that blissful post-treatment feeling by swaying on the boat’s hammock overlooking the city skyline.

2. Chodovar Brewery Beer Wellness Land, Czech Republic

Talk about a full immersion experience. At this spa on the grounds of a family-run brewery, you slip into a bath of dark beer, mineral water, and beer yeast with seven dehydrated curative herbs. The mixture supposedly improves body immunity and helps skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. Start with 20 minutes in a 93-degree beer bath, then recuperate wrapped in a fleece quilt during a 25-minute bed rest. The spa suggests pairing the bath with a massage—and a few of its beers, naturally.

3. Galos Caves, Chicago

You no longer have to visit Poland to experience salt caves built with crystals from the Black Sea—thanks to the Polish and Ukrainian specialists who came to Chicago to construct the first U.S. salt-iodine caves (opened in 2005). Visitors spend about an hour in the dim caves, relaxing on lounge chairs amid kitschy decorations of seahorses and mermaids, listening to calming music, and breathing in the salty air. The environment is supposed to ease asthma and digestive issues. Kids make a beeline for the “saltbox,” where they can play with brightly colored beach toys.

4. Chiang Mai Women’s Prison Spa, Thailand

spa run by prisoners

 

You don’t need to have seen episodes of Locked Up Abroad to be fearful of entering a foreign prison. But people actually do come to this women’s prison to relax. The spa is equipped with a large room with mats and chairs for your choice of Thai or foot massages. Inmates run the spa as part of a massage school prison rehabilitation program, and the cost of a massage is set aside for the inmates for use after their release.

5. Clinical-Salon Ci:z.Labo, Tokyo

Launched last year by Clinical-Salon Ci:z.Labo in Tokyo, the facial incorporates several snails that are given free reign to wander around your face and leave slime in their wake. Snail-based creams are available for those who don’t plan on visiting Tokyo anytime soon (or who simply have no desire to pay to be slimed).

6. The Spa at The Firehouse, Iowa

More than a century ago, this Greek Revival-style firehouse employed award-winning horses, both named Jack, which won fire-wagon races and dashed out whenever there was an emergency. Now, instead of putting out fires, the staff come to the rescue by alleviating stress. Folks check in by the old brass fire pole and check out the operational fire gong and a large collection of historic firehouse memorabilia on display.

See also: 10 Weird Foods You’ve Never Heard Of

7. Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort & Spa, India; Spa at Sandy Lane, Barbados

At this Caribbean spa resort, treatments are drawn from wellbeing traditions across the world, from the Caribbean, North America and Europe to the Ayurvedic Philosophy from The Far East, all combined with a Barbadian sense of warmth. One of their spa treatments in particular leans more toward the unique. Ayurveda has been practiced in India for thousands of years as a traditional form of medicine, and its alternative treatments continue to be popular around the world. Less popular is shirodhara (from the Sanskrit words for head and flow), which involves pouring a drizzle of warm oil on your forehead for about an hour from a pot-like contraption.

8. Ada Barak’s Carnivorous Plant Farm, Israel

Ever since biblical times, recoiling has been the first instinct when a snake slithers near. But in the Holy Land, of all places, Ada Barak is convinced that her snakes can be a soothing influence. If you dare, Barak will watch over the creatures as they writhe along your back, legs, stomach, hair—even your face. The nonvenomous snakes vary in size, with the largest ones providing a kneading feel and, at most, a little nibble on your eyelashes.

9. Mais Oui Spa Train, California

When you board this authentic 1920s luxury Pullman railcar, go for the “roundtrip”: a massage, an herbal facial, and a body scrub. The boutique spa is stationed at Napa Valley’s Calistoga Train Depot, the second-oldest depot in California. Opened in December 2010, the train has only three cabins, with room for up to six—so be ready for an intimate trip. Staff up the kitsch factor by giving you train tickets when you enter the spa.

10. Lime Spa, Maldives

The Maldives are famous for luxurious over-water bungalows with glass floors—and now for the world’s first underwater spa, part of Huvafen Fushi resort in the North Malé Atoll. Clown fish, parrot fish, blacktip reef sharks, eels, and many other creatures swim by as clients enjoy treatments like the Marine Wave, an aromatic body and scalp massage, or Pulp Friction, a full-body exfoliation with mineral sea salts and botanical oil. The spa brings sea life indoors with décor inspired by coral and sea sponges.

11. New York Spa Castle, New York

Most spa excursions last only an hour or two, but you can easily spend the whole day at Spa Castle, a 100,000-square-foot oasis among warehouses in Queens. It’s modeled after a Korean bathhouse (jimjilbang), complete with plunge pools, igloo-shaped saunas lined in gold and jade, and a food court. When you arrive, you’re issued a uniform of shorts and a T-shirt, plus an electronic bracelet that works as a locker key and a charge card. Before slipping into your new getup, spend time in the all-nude steam rooms and baths (separated by gender). Then head to the rooftop for a dip in the coed heated pool, with whirlpools, massage jets, and a view of Long Island Sound.

12. Marienkron, Austria

wellness center run by nuns

Get a massage by a habit-toting Austrian at this nun-run spa. After years of operating a chicken farming business, the sisters made over Marienkron Abbey as a wellness center in 1969. The menu ranges from lymphatic drainage massages to colonics. One signature treatment created by a 19th-century priest involved being hosed with hot and cold water. You can always cap it off with a little holy water by attending a mass during your stay.

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Amazon Introduces Kindle Kids Edition!

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If you want to get your kids to read more instead of watching TV, Amazon hasn’t forgotten about you or your kid. Alongside the Fire HD 10 Kids Edition tablet the company announced today, Amazon took the wraps off the Kindle Kids Edition, its first-ever e-reader aimed at children. For an additional $20 over the cost of a normal Kindle, the Kids Edition comes with one of four colorful cases, a two-year worry-free guarantee and one-year of complimentary access to the company’s FreeTime Unlimited service.

Read Next: 5 Ways to Become Instantly More Productive

With the two year guarantee, Amazon says it’ll replace the device for free should anything happen to it. FreeTime Unlimited, if you’re not familiar, offers some 20,000 kid-friendly books, videos and apps. It works across multiple devices, so you have a backup when your kid wants to do something else. You can add it to your existing Prime subscription for $2.99 per month. Otherwise, it costs $4.99 per month. Amazon also has prepaid yearly options for families with either one or more children.

Kindle Kids Edition theagendadaily.com

Amazon has also added a variety of new software features to keep kids reading. In addition to the Kindle’s built-in dictionary, the Kids Edition includes a feature called Word Wise that will automatically define any difficult words. The e-reader will turn any word a child looks up into a flashcard for later review. There are also achievement badges to earn, as well as more fun wallpapers than the ones that come standard with the company’s other Kindles. It’s also worth mentioning the Kids Edition is based on the Kindle update Amazon announced in March, so it includes an adjustable front light.

At $109.99, the Kindle Kids Edition is more expensive than the $89.99 Kindle but not as pricey as the $129.99 Paperwhite. The Kindle Kids Edition is available to pre-order starting today, and it will ship on October 30th. If you buy two of the e-readers at the same time, Amazon will give you 25 percent off the total price of the two products.

Here’s a full list of the Kindle Kids Edition new software features:

  • Achievement Badges: Kids can earn badges like Book Worm and Over Achiever when they make progress toward pre-defined goals.
  • Easy Discovery: With enhanced browsing and search, kids can locate titles without the exact spelling. And with smart recommendations, kids can find books related to the genres, authors and characters they like.
  • Word Wise: Kids are automatically provided short and simple definitions above difficult words, so they can keep reading with fewer interruptions.
  • Dictionary: If kids come across a difficult word, they can select the word to look up the definition via the built-in Kindle dictionary.
  • Vocabulary Builder: Words looked up in dictionaries are automatically added to Vocabulary Builder and turned into flashcards for future review and learning.
  • Kid-friendly Wallpaper: A unique set of lock screen wallpapers designed specifically for kids are included.
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Working for Yourself: Pros and Cons

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featured image working for yourself

Most of the people who leave their jobs and start a business of their own do this on an impulse. The reason is simple. Working in an organisation means you are answerable to the people higher up the success ladder. Often due to office politics, even the right decisions by you aren’t appreciated.

It is always fun to think that you are working for yourself. You do not have any fixed schedules to adhere to. You do not have anyone to dominate you or fire you. The independence that a personal venture brings along with it is always thrilling.

Yes, there sure are countless benefits of working for yourself. Here we have listed out a few prominent benefits that usually lure people to starting their own venture.

Advantages of working for yourself

1. You Do Not Have Boss Above You:

The most annoying aspect of a job is a boss who is there to dominate you. If you have a good and understanding boss, you are lucky. But most often bosses tend to be bullies who exploit their juniors and extract maximum work from them. People who are under such bosses would surely prefer to have their own venture.

When you start your own business or startup, you can work on your own will. You do not have to abide by anyone’s orders. This is particularly good for people who do not possess the knack of diplomacy. People who do not know how to handle different types of people or convince others in a gentle fashion should opt for a personal business or venture.

working for yourself is better than killing yourself for another job

2. You Can Opt For Flexible Schedules:

Many people complain that their office schedule is so hectic that they do not get ample time with their loved ones. This is one problem you won’t face if you have your personal venture. You can schedule your work such that you get ample time with your near and dear ones.

There is no restriction regarding the time you should reach office or the time you should leave office premises.

This lack of restriction in a personal venture allows you sufficient flexibility to balance personal and professional lives. It also helps to reduce the level of stress that is very common in job life.

3. You Can Explore and Experiment:

Most creative and thoughtful people despise their jobs because the job gives them very little opportunity to explore and experiment. An age-old organisation with a set reputation will never bear the risk of experimentation from an employee. Most employees thus experience stagnancy after 2 or 3 years in a certain organisation.

This is not the case when you start your own venture. You need to be alert all the time. You need to come up with new strategies and ideas that help to increase growth of the organisation. These aspects of a business make it much more interesting than a job.

4. You Can Avoid Office Politics:

There are many individuals who are not good at tackling office politics. They do not enjoy going with the flow if they think the decision is wrong. This attitude can jeopardize their job in the long run.

A person who starts his own venture does not have to go through the ordeal of convincing the people ongoing ahead with wrong decisions out of peer pressure. You have the freedom to take the right decisions. You also have the freedom to make choices. This way you can completely avoid the politics part of the work management and ensure work gets done without wastage of time.

5. You Are The Boss:

The best part is that you are the boss when you start your own venture. You get to meet people at higher positions. You get special benefits as a businessman. You get respect in your family and social circles. No one has the right to rule over you. You have the complete control over your situation.

Disadvantages of working for yourself

Everything that has a good side has a bad side too. While there are many benefits of working for yourself, you cannot completely ignore the disadvantages. The risk is elevated in the case of a personal business. It may not be a good idea for you personally to start your own venture.

You need to possess the courage to take such risks. You also need to possess the foresight to predict the growth of the business. There are some major drawbacks of working for yourself. Here we have listed these out for your knowledge and reference.

balanced scales working for yourself

1. You Need to Have a Strict Code of Discipline:

A high level of maturity is essential to ensure that you prosper and grow in your business. This means that you need to have a fixed set of personal etiquettes and a proper code of discipline. These are necessary to ensure that your business grows and expands.

People who lack a strict discipline may misuse the funds from the business for their personal needs. This can eventually lead to the failure of the firm and organisation. Individuals who have strong principles are capable of controlling their urges.

They make sure that they set aside a certain amount as business funds and use the rest to grow their business. They tend to use just about 20% for their own personal needs.

2. Any Failure Could Mean Monetary Loss To You:

In the initial stage of the business, any loss could mean that you need to put money from your pocket. You need to have some backup money to handle such situations. Usually traditional families are not very supportive in case of businesses.

You may not have family support and if you are not confident about your venture, their words could demotivate you. People who are capable of foreseeing such possibilities and tackling them smartly can start ventures and succeed.

3. Progress Could Be Slow and Gradual:

Patience is an important quality that every businessman should possess. Business ventures do not grow in a day. They require time, effort and dedication. They require you to consistently put in efforts. Instant gratification happens only in fairytales and if you expect the same in your life, you are being foolish.

You must try to grow gradually and save a small amount as profits. This way, the profits you save can later be used for further expansion without disrupting your income.

4. There could Be Lack of Job Security:

When you are working for a firm or organisation, you have job security if the firm is doing well. When the firm is in a loss, you simply need to switch the job and if you are good in your field, you will continue to make money.

This is not the case with a business or startup. Inspite of all the research, it is not always possible to predict whether a firm will make a profit or loss. Everyone may not be capable to handle this kind of job insecurity. This simply means that you need to plan your finances properly.

5. You Need to Have a Proper Growth Plan:

You need to have a well defined growth plan when you have your own venture. You should have a clear idea how much money you wish to make at the turn of the year and how you plan to grow.

A proper plan will help you allocate funds and grow your network accordingly. If you don’t have a proper growth plan, there are greater chances of misuse of money and finances.

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Extremely Useful Tips for First Time Health Insurance Buyers

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There’s nothing quite as confusing and bewildering as realizing you need to buy your own health insurance. The world of insurance policies and deductibles can be an intimidating place for newbies. So we have put together a list of extremely useful tips for first time health insurance buyers which will simplify the process and guide you past making any big mistakes.

Don’t go shopping without doing your research

First time health insurance buyers, STOP. There are some things you need to know before you call that number! Make sure you familiarize yourself with common insurance terms, what they mean, and what things are best for you and your lifestyle.

Health Insurance Terms:

  • Premium: the upfront amount you’ll pay each month to have health insurance
  • Deductible: the amount you’ll pay for health care services before your insurance kicks in
  • Co-payment: Also called a copay, it’s a flat amount you’ll pay for specific services or medication, even if you’ve reached your deductible.
  • Coinsurance: Unlike a copay, which is a flat amount, coinsurance is a fee you pay that is a percentage of the cost of a covered service.
  • Out-of-pocket maximum: This the the most you’ll pay for covered health services in a single year, including your deductible, your copay, and your coinsurance. In 2020, the out-of-pocket maximum is $8,150 for individuals and $16,300 for families.
  • Subsidy: Subsidies are the government’s way of helping you pay for health insurance. Obamacare technically provides three subsidy types: advance premium tax credits, cost-sharing reductions and Medicaid (more on these in a minute).

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Conduct a Self Check-up

Determine how much coverage you need — and what you can afford.

If you rarely get sick or injured it might be a good option to go with a higher deductible and lower monthly cost, but if your lifestyle sees you in the doctors office more often than not, look into a low deductible and a low/no copay.

Unless you have a qualifying life event, you cannot apply whenever you want

Yes, that’s right, you cannot go without health insurance for half a year before deciding you had better buy some. Unless you have a qualifying live event, such as pregnancy or turning 26, (you cannot be insured by your parents after your 26th birthday) then you must apply during open annual enrollment. Companies typically hold open enrollment in the fall, while the U.S. government begins accepting applications on Nov. 1.

There are two types of networks

Deductibles and premiums aren’t the only factors to consider when choosing a plan.

You may also need to choose between two types of networks: PPOs and HMOs. A PPO gives you access to a broader network of doctors than an HMO, but PPOs generally cost more. Research what insurance companies your primary care physician accepts before purchasing a plan so as to not lose access to your doctor.

First-time health insurance shoppers may feel lost if they’ve relied on employer-sponsored health insurance up to this point. But health insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you know what you’re looking for, where to shop, and how to keep it affordable, health insurance will be a regular part of your health – and your financial safety net.

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