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Fish Spa Pedicure

Fish Spa Pedicure

DESTINATIONS, GREECE

Wandering the streets of Santorini we came across a Fish Spa called “Kissingfish“.  I had seen these in the media and had always wondered what a “fish pedicure” might feel like.

 

Kissing Fish Spa
Kissingfish Spa

 

Living in Florida. we wear open toed shoes most days.  Every other week, I visit my local spa to get a pedicure, so that my feet look pretty and fresh. A pedicure, for those of you who have never had one, is more than just getting your toenails painted. They also involve removing dead skin and calluses from your feet. This skin can be removed through various methods — via buffing with a pumice stone or through scraping with a metal foot file or razor.  My salon uses what looks like a cheese grater to remove dead skin.

This is where the fish come in. Yep, we said fish. The fish, called garra rufa fish, are small fish without teeth actually nibble the dead skin cells by exfoliation and a relaxing massage with a painless method from your feet.  Visitors place their feet in a tank full of garra rufa fish—a variety of Turkish toothless carp—and sit back and relax while the fish eat away the dead skin.

 

Fish Pedicure
Kissingfish Spa Pedicure Chairs
Kissing Fish Spa Pedicure
Kissingfish Spa Pedicure

 

What does it feel like?  

We went to a back room where they had a small shower. They had us wash our feet and legs to remove all the lotions and oils on our skin.  They provided us with paper slippers to wear from the shower to chairs.  We sat on the chairs and put our feet on the glass edge. Then we put both feet together side by side and dunked them into the water slowly.  Immediately the fish were drawn to my feet.   We sat with our feet in the water for a 10 minutes session.  It tickled a little.

 

Fish Spa Pedicure Tank
Fish Spa Pedicure Tank
Fish Spa Pedicure Tank
Fish Spa Pedicure 
Fish Spa Pedicure
Fish Spa Pedicure
Fish Spa Pedicure Tank
My Husband’s Legs in the Fish Spa Tank

 

These foot-fetishistic fish have been nicknamed “doctor fish.” And while the trend of “foot dunking” is growing, there is some controversy with some saying that this might have a downside.  In the US, fish spas have been banned in over ten states.  The major concern was how spas reuse the same fish on many customers—a practice they’re forced to do because garra rufa fish are pricey.

The spa worker said that the water is purified using chemical and biological filters, which recycle the water in the aquarium more than 3 times per hour. For the removal of the water bacteria they use a special filter with UV radiation which eliminates 99.9% of the bacteria.  And the fact is that no one has produced evidence of the spread of disease.  To be honest, I was unaware of the health risks when my husband and I pulled into a store and gave it a try.  We really enjoyed it.

 

How many of you have had a fish spa pedicure? How many of you would be willing to try it?

 

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

19 Comments

  1. Emiko
    November 4, 2014 at 10:55 pm
    Reply

    I saw these all over Thailand and Cambodia, but I never could get myself to try one! However, after seeing how clean the one you went to in Greece look, I MIGHT give it a chance. Might:)

    • Carmen
      November 5, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Emiko, My friends tried it in Thailand last year and really enjoyed it. My husband and I were walking along a street and saw the sign that caught our attention “Nice to Kiss You”. The tanks looked very clean and we saw a few people doing it. So I told my husband about it, and asked if he was up for it and he said yes.

  2. Anda
    November 5, 2014 at 6:21 am
    Reply

    Your post is very interesting. I’ve never even heard of this kind of pedicure before, leave alone try it. It must have been quite an experience. Question is, did the fish do a good job? Or you steel needed the help of traditional instruments to finalize your pedicure.

    • Carmen
      November 5, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      Hi Anda, We only did a 10 minute spa treatment. In order to really see the results I think the spa said we needed at least a 30 minute treatment. I thought that 10 minutes was plenty of time. I’m not sure I would of been able to last for a 30 minutes one.

  3. Justin Givens
    November 10, 2014 at 3:10 am
    Reply

    Wow. Just wow. I cannot believe this exist and you tried it! CRAZY!!!

    • Carmen
      November 12, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks Justin, It was quite the experience.

  4. Fairlie
    November 14, 2014 at 6:25 am
    Reply

    I’ve tried these fish spas a couple of times – once in Langkawi and again in the Changi Airport terminal building. It is such a bizarre experience.

    • Carmen
      November 14, 2014 at 11:02 am

      Hi Fairlie,

      It is a bizarre experience, and hard to describe to others when they ask you about it. It tickled a little, and I’m glad I got to experience it at least once in my life. I’m not sure I would do it again.

  5. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    November 14, 2014 at 7:00 am
    Reply

    My friends and I did a fish spa pedicure in Malaysia. We started in a tank with small fish like the ones in your picture. Then, we graduated to medium fish. We stuck with just doing our feet, but the medium fish were in a bathtub where you could get in and immerse your body up to your shoulders. Yikes! Finally, we dunked our feet in a tub with large fish about the size of bratwurst. I almost screamed when they started scraping away. It felt like someone lightly running their fingernails across your feet. Once was enough.

    • Carmen
      November 14, 2014 at 10:59 am

      Hi Michele,

      I agree once was enough for me too. I can’t even imagine submerging my body into a bathtub to have fish pick away at my skin throughout my body, no way. You were brave to try the better fish.

  6. Shaun
    November 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm
    Reply

    Eeep.

    I have yet to brave one of these. I feel like they would need bigger fish for my beat up feet!

    Shaun
    http://www.thislifeintrips.com

    • Carmen
      November 15, 2014 at 1:29 am

      Hi Shaun,

      I hear they have larger fish in some countries, although I’m not sure I would put my feet in tanks with these larger fish. The little fish was quite effective on my feet.

  7. kay dougherty
    November 16, 2014 at 4:02 am
    Reply

    My sister and I were in Thailand last year and we each had a fish pedicure. We giggled the whole time but those fish ate a couple years off my feet and I get regular pedicures! I’d heard about the supposed health risks but of all the stupid things I do this seemed like a very small one to add. I’d do it again in a heartbeat but they don’t have them on Marco Island!

    • Carmen
      November 16, 2014 at 10:26 pm

      Hi Kay,

      It was nice meeting you both at #TBEX. I’ve probably try it again if I had the opportunity. We only put our feet in for 10 minutes, which I’m sure didn’t make much of a difference. I haven’t seen the fish pedicures anywhere in Florida.

  8. Mark and Kate @ vagrantsoftheworld
    November 16, 2014 at 4:39 pm
    Reply

    Seen these all over asia, not for us it is all a liitle icky. But well done on putting your best feet forward in the name of true travel blogging.

    • Carmen
      November 16, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      Hi Mark & Kate,

      We tried it because the tanks looked very clean and we were curious about it. I’m not sure how often they clean the tanks in Asia, but my guess is they don’t.

  9. Matilda
    December 3, 2014 at 12:35 am
    Reply

    I’ve always wanted to try a fish pedicure. Did not realize it was being offered in Greece-thought it was mostly offered in Asia. I visit Greece every few years so will keep it in mind for my next visit.

  10. Chloe Logan
    April 12, 2015 at 10:49 pm
    Reply

    I’ve always wanted one of these! While the health risks do concern me, I think I’d trust it as long as the spa were clean and professional.

    Chloe | Wanderlust in the Midwest

    • Carmen
      April 13, 2015 at 12:08 am

      Hi Chloe,

      The spa we went to was very clean. We only did it for 15 minutes, they wanted us to do 30 minutes and I said “No” because it was our first time.

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