Home » Business » Job diary: I charge up to $300 for 'snake massages' that help people de-stress and reduce pain. Over 20,000 people have signed up for my sessions.
Job diary: I charge up to $300 for 'snake massages' that help people de-stress and reduce pain. Over 20,000 people have signed up for my sessions.
Serpentessa (not her real name) is a former professional belly dancer and a 'snake priestess' who uses snakes to conduct healing massages for her clients.
For 33 years, she's been facilitating interactions between snakes and people, ranging from thrill-seekers and nature lovers to people suffering from PTSD.
This is what her job is like, as told to freelance writer Jenny Powers.
Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
I was 29 years old and working as a professional belly dancer in New York City in 1984 when a childhood friend of my husband's gave me a boa constrictor. It was my first snake and I christened her Sophia, a tribute to the Greek Goddess of Wisdom.
Sophia was bred in captivity and used to being handled by humans, so the learning curve of getting acquainted with one another was more on my end than hers, but little by little, we began to establish a friendship.
I'm not a licensed massage therapist, but I like to consider myself a 21st century snake priestess. Over the past 33 years, I'd estimate that between private sessions, coaching groups, and events, I've given more than 20,000 people a live snake encounter. I've also been featured on shows like Entertainment Tonight and The Today Show.
Snakes are incredibly powerful animals
Snake medicine and integrating snakes into wellness activities is nothing new, in fact people have long held snakes as a symbol of healing and renewal.
As a longtime sufferer of endometriosis, when I first was given Sophie I noticed she was particularly drawn to the inflamed area around my belly as if she could sense my pain and discomfort.
Each time she made her way to my belly, entwining herself around me in what felt like a hug, my physical pain would disappear, often alleviating my need for a hot water bottle. But while I was relieved of my physical pain rather quickly, the toll of both the emotional and psychological effects that endometriosis had left on me took much longer to shed. Eventually though, as our friendship blossomed and my healing continued, I was able to regain the ability to feel joy within my body.
It may come as a surprise, but as I opened myself up to the healing process and the connection between Sophia and I continued to grow, I began to receive messages in the form of images and word fragments from her which I refer to as snake 'hisspers," so I came to consider myself sort of an inter-species facilitator with a speciality in boa constrictors.