Something fishy!

It was one of those things I always wanted to try out. So, a few days back I went for the Garra Rufa Fish Spa treatment. Fish Spa is a new phenomenon which is slowly coming up in India. This pedicure is quite an unusual one, it involves plunging your feet into a tank full of Garra Rufa fish, which nibble away dead skin cells.
If you are fish phobic, you probably don’t want to read on!
So apparently, these Garra Rufa fish, (AKA Doctor Fish) are found in hot springs in Turkey and have been used for softening and cleansing the skin of bathers for centuries. Their suction−cup mouths gently lift away dry skin without damaging the healthy new cells underneath, to reveal soft, supple and smooth skin. So they get a good feed, while your feet are exfoliated.
I was very hesitant to try it out, the thought of around a 100 fish nibbling at my feet totally creeped me out. However, I had heard a lot about the fish pedicure, so was very curious and decided to give it a go. When I arrived at Body and Soul, my feet were washed by a very sweet therapist (the poor lady having to touch my sweaty, dirty feet after a long, hot day!). I was then sat on a comfy seat next to a small pool (See pic below. (Pardon me, for the bad camera clarity and poor lighting!)).


I asked them about the process. My first question was… Is it hygienic?

Yes. Each foot is sanitised before it is immersed, the water filters are at work 24X7, and around 400 litres of water are circulated in a day. The fish, too, are replaced with a new lot bred in their home country, Turkey, every six months, though they have a lifespan of six years. This is done since full-growns may cause discomfort.

After thinking about it a few times, I finally plunged my feet inside the pool.

The moment I dipped my feet in, my first thought was ‘Why the hell did I have to try this!’ I mean, I did squeal embarrassingly loud when the fish attacked my feet. These fish are not shy – they get straight in there! In a way, I felt like I was a part of Khatron ke Khiladi, except there was no Akshay Kumar there to cheer me on.

At first, I kept shrugging the fish of my feet, which by the way, totally defeats the purpose of having a fish pedicure. I had heard that in the beginning you feel a little uncomfortable, but later its very relaxing. I kept waiting for that moment where I would feel relaxed, but it never came. That is the reason the people at the spa charge you first and then allow you inside the fish spa, they know that people like me can change their minds.

The nibbling doesn’t hurt much… I would describe it as a bit of a “pins and needles” feeling. Kind of tickly and tingling. I was wondering if it was supposed to be relaxing for us or the fish! When I look at the photos now, I really wonder how I went through the whole process.. the idea of tiny creatures nibbling at my feet… brrrr!!

After a while, the fish started to get full and lost their appetite on me, with only a handful nibbling away rather than the entire lot. My feet DID look a lot smoother. When my treatment was up, my feet were washed and massaged, leaving me with soft, light-feeling feet. I felt refreshed and my feet looked squeaky clean. I could still see the moderately dry skin on my heels, but the entire surface area of my feet (including the topsides and soles) felt smoothed over.

The therapist there was telling me that these fish (Doctor Fish) are commonly used for treatment of skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. As the fish nibble away at your dead skin it releases an enzyme secretion and Dithranol which helps skin regenerate faster. So basically it’s like a natural exfoliate. Meaning, it was probably not all that bad, after all.

When I finally left the spa, I felt nice and happy. I am glad I did this. It was one of those spur of the moment decisions which I took. Getting my feet exfoliated by those tiny fishies was quite something! Now I am all set to try out the next new thing. And I did see quite a lot of guys trying it out too, so its not just a girl thing. The Fish Spa was quite an experience and is definitely worth trying.

So, would I be going for a fish pedicure again anytime soon?


4 thoughts on “Something fishy!

  1. good one 🙂 enjoyed reading it. Loved the description. and u have already answered the question (in the end )i had on my mind which i wanted to ask here :D.

    keep writing 🙂


  2. Hmmmm… I am fish phobic for which I almost thought I wouldn't continue reading, but really an interestin article Rash… which made me read the entire bit…

    Good goin… 🙂


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