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.
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.
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?