First there was cupping, then there was gua sha.
But the latest in bruise-inducing celebrity wellness obsessions? Stars are now paying massage therapists to bite them.
Well, one massage therapist in particular: Dorothy Stein, also known as “Dr. Dot,” to her clients, has been delivering the “rock ‘n’ roll massage” to your favorite musicians (think David Bowie, Frank Zappa, and all of Def Leppard) since the early ’80s. But it’s no longer just the edgy, hedonistic rock stars who are paying Stein to literally bite them in the back.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, celebrities like Katy Perry, Heidi Klum, Kanye West (who “listened to Jimi Hendrix and was very down-to-earth”), and Simon Cowell (who “didn’t want it too hard”) have recently gotten in on the action, paying Stein between $150 and $250 per session. (She charges not by the bite, but by the hour.)
While the teeth-sinking move is similar to the aforementioned cupping and gua sha, in that it promotes blood circulation, there are many critics who think the move is unsanitary and can cause injury when the skin is broken. “About 10 to 15 percent of human bite wounds become infected by bacteria. There is also the potential for transmission of viruses like hepatitis B,” Holly Phillips, MD, notes.
But Stein ensures that she never forces her teeth onto anyone (she gives traditional, hands-only massages, too). “I’m not just going to bite someone,” she explains. Especially not if you’re a well-known pop star with serious singing chops: “Mariah Carey didn’t want it. She’s a germaphobe.”
Would you try a bite massage? Let us know in the Comments!
There are other celeb wellness habits that might sound a bit more relatable. Like Cher’s struggle with shopping online for activewear, or Nicole Richie’s recent decision to go on a hair detox.