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Strange Medicine From Around the World

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  • REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao
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  • Shizuka Bernstein, owner of Shizuka New York day spa, mixes a batch of her Geisha Facial, the main ingredient for which is nightingale poo.
  • Erin Zantello-Clary relaxes while Shizuka Bernstein massages a "bird poo" facial into her skin at Shizuka New York spa in Manhattan.
  • Shizuka Bernstein, owner of Shizuka New York Day Spa, applies the "Geisha Facial," made of nightingale droppings to client Erin Zantello-Clary. Bernstein came up with the unique treatment after her mother told her the Kabuki actors and Geishas used nightingale droppings to remove their heavy makeup in the 18th century.
  • Kazuhiro Aoki, puts his face in an aquarium as Garra rufa, a fish used for skin treatment, nibbles his skin at the Beautyworld Japan trade fair in Tokyo May 20, 2008. The tiny carp, also known as "doctor" fish, were first used in Turkey and have become very popular in Asian countries.
  • Japan isn't the only place where people are getting this unusual spa treatment. Fish pedicures are creating quite a buzz at a northern Virginia spa. John Ho, who runs the Yvonne Hair and Nails Salon with his wife, said about 5,000 people have tried the fishy treatment. The Garra rufa fish feed on the dead skin from the feet of patrons and is believed by some to cure skin diseases.
  • Leeches are placed on the leg of a patient during a leech therapy session inside a hospital in Srinagar May 2, 2008. For centuries leeches have been used in medicine to cure everything from headaches to gangrene. In the mid-1800's, the blood-sucking creatures became so popular that the species became endangered in Europe. Today, leeches are primarily used as a legitimate treatment that can help heal skin grafts and restore blood circulation. Their primary function is to drain blood.
  • That's not all leeches are used for these days. In March 2008, Demi Moore admitted that she underwent "leech therapy" in Austria as a way to detoxify her body. During an appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman," Moore said she is always looking for ways to optimize health and healing.
  • A leech hangs from the face of a Kashmiri patient Abdul Ahad, who suffers partial blindness, during a leech therapy session inside a hospital in Srinagar May 2, 2008.
  • A Kashmiri child shows his arm as he undergoes leech therapy in Hazratbal, on the outskirts of Srinagar, December 7, 2007. Leeches have been used for thousands of years for various medical treatment purposes.
  • Dive in! A man covered with mud sits in a medicinal mud pond at the "Lagoon of Miracles" in Chilca, Peru January 20, 2008. It’s said the nutrient rich mud, applied to the skin as a natural peel, restores skin cells and eliminates toxins. The "Lagoon of Miracles," with its distinct greenish color along with the mud ponds that surround it, is said to cure everything from acne to rheumatism.
  • A patient undergoes cupping treatment at Huangzhiguo Traditional Chinese Massage and Acupuncture Clinic in Shanghai August 8, 2007. Cupping is an ancient treatment that claims to take the heat out of the body, by using cups that are heated before being placed on the body of the patient.
  • This ancient treatment has also made its way into Hollywood. At a 2004 premiere in New York City, Actress Gwyneth Paltrow showed up wearing a low-cut dress revealing large circular marks all over her back. In April 2007, Britney Spears was spotted in Los Angeles with the same red marks.
  • A man opens his mouth in anticipation of swallowing a live fish in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad June 9, 2007. Every year in June, thousands of people flock to the city to swallow the fish - stuffed with an herbal formula - which they claim miraculously cures asthma and other respiratory ailments. Since 1845, members of the Bathini Goud family have been performing the medicinal ritual
  • Haj Mohamed el-Minyawi allows one of his bees to sting a patient suffering from ear problems in Cairo July 14, 2007. Minyawi believes that the bee stings have special properties, that when used on different parts of the body can cure ailments like kidney problems, appendicitis and even cancer.
  • Jiang Musheng, a 66-year-old resident, eats a live tree frog at a village in Shangrao, in eastern China's Jiangxi province in this May 21, 2007 picture. Jiang suffered from frequent abdominal pains and coughing 20 years ago, until an old man called Yang Dingcai suggested tree frogs as a remedy.
  • A patient receives traditional Chinese medical treatment to cure cervical spondylosis at a clinic in Huai'an, east China's Jiangsu province March 7, 2007.





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