WELLNESS
06/29/2011 03:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Tickle Spa Opens In Spain

A spa for tickling?

Laugh all you want, but it's real. The world's first tickle spa has opened in Spain, and its aptly named Cosquillearte, which in Spanish means "Tickle Yourself" and "Tickle Art."

Instead of hot-stone massages or facials, it offers visitors the chance to instead be tickled with the brush of a light touch and a feather, TIME reports.

So what's the deal here. Tickling can feel good, but is it good for health?

When done nicely and under the best circumstances, tickling can actually increase blood flow and produce a healthy flush to the skin, said clinical psychologist Alan J. Fridlund, Ph.D. Fridlund is an associate professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Fridlund told The Huffington Post:

Gentle tickling and mutual tickle games can strengthen affectional bonds between caretakers and the young, among children, and between romantic partners -- probably via the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and the endorphins, and neurohormones such as oxytocin.

However, tickling has to be done in the right context in order to produce these beneficial results, he said. Unwanted or forced tickling can be a violation of personal boundaries and can even border on abuse, depending on the circumstance.

For example, "tickle torture" can induce a temporary state of muscle paralysis and spasmodic laughter that can sound a lot like enjoyment, when it's really not, Fridland said.

But the new Spanish spa doesn't want to torture clients at all -- instead, it wants to help them to relax and de-stress, tailoring the level of tickling to each individual, TIME reported.

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Photos courtesy of Cosquillearte

During a session, a client disrobes and lies facedown on a table, just as in a typical massage, and then the person doing the treatment uses his or her fingers and feathers to tickle the client, TIME said.