Relaxing is probably one of the last words people use to describe tickling, but at the CosquilleArte Spa, in Madrid, Spain, they actually use delicate tickling techniques to relieve clients’ stress.
I’ve seen some pretty bizarre spas since I began writing for OC, from resorts treating guests to wine, tea and sake baths, to clinics that use crude oil as treatment, but I never imagined someone would get the outrageous idea of using tickling as a stress-relieving therapy. But what I found even more ridiculous was that the idea actually worked and CosquilleArte has become one of the most popular spa venues in the Spanish capital. It wasn’t until later, when I learned the tickling methods have nothing to do with the terrible torture we all had to face from childhood friends, that this unusual form of therapystarted to make sense.
Instead of jabbing their fingers into clients’ sides and armpits, like I’m sure you and your friends/siblings used to torment each other, the massage therapists at CosquilleArte gently trace their fingertips and soft feathers down their backs and other sensible areas, and adjust their touches according to how ticklish every person is. Although most first time customers clench when they’re touched, they leave the wacky establishment a lot more relaxed than when they came in.
CosquilleArte is the brainchild of Isabel Aires, a public relations specialist who loves to be tickled. She used to be tickled gently, by her father, so she would go to sleep, and one day she just thought “Why can’t I pay someone to do this, in the same way as I can pay for a massage?” She learned there was no tickling service available, so she decided to open the world’s first tickle spa. Together with two experienced massage therapist, Isabel had to invent tickle therapy, and judging by the success and popularity of CosquilleArte, I’d say they did a pretty good job.
The unique salon’s clientele varies from teenagers to 70-year-olds who pay €25 ($35) for a half hour of tickling, or €45 ($60) for a whole hour. It might sound like wasted money, if you’re still thinking about those dreaded armpit or sole tickles, but we’re talking about pleasurable, relaxing tickling, like your mother used to do to when you were a baby. It seems adults love the sensation of being tickled just as much as children, because Isabel Aires has already received calls about her tickle spa from as far as Russia and South America. She’s now considering setting up franchises and is discussing the possibility of making tickle massage available for in-room, for a large Spanish hotel chain.