What Is A Fish Pedicure? So what exactly is a Garra rufa fish pedicure? Many people are concerned with how their feet look and feel, especially during the summer months, when we want our feet to look their best in sand...
Many people are concerned with how their feet look and feel, especially during the summer months, when we want our feet to look their best in sandals and open-toed shoes.
A traditional pedicure and foot pampering session involves trimming and filing the toe nails, painting the nails with nail polish and the removal of dry skin and calluses from the soles of the feet and heels with tools and moisturizing cream.
However, an alternative and novel way of removing this unsightly and uncomfortable dead skin came about when it was discovered that the tiny silver Garra rufa fish would happily nibble away at the dry skin on people’s toes and feet, and leave any rough skin very efficiently exfoliated. It is also thought that having one can also help to soothe skin conditions on the feet and ankles such as psoriasis and eczema.
People have reported that when the fish are nibbling your feet that it feels like a light massage and that the sensation is very relaxing. Garra rufa fish are also known as ‘doctor fish’ because of their strange appetite for snacking on people’s dead skin, but they are actually a species of toothless carp, that are native to the Middle East, being found in river basins in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. They have to be encouraged to nibble on dead human skin and this is usually done by not providing enough food or feeding the fish erratically.
The doctor fish were first put to work in Japan, when a fish spa resort was created in Hakone in 2006. Fish foot spas swiftly opened up in other countries such as China, Croatia, Hungary, Spain, France and Hong Kong. The first ones were opened in the US in 2008 in Virginia and the first fish foot spa opened here in the UK in Sheffield in 2010. However, I also discovered that fish pedicures have now actually been banned in 14 US states and some Canadian Provinces and that the Health Protection Agency in the UK have been investigating the safety of fish foot spas in beauty salons. So what are the dangers of having a group of friendly Garra rufa fish nibbling at your feet, and removing all that unsightly dead skin? 2-Sided Terra-Cotta Fish Foot Scrubber 2-Sided Terra-Cotta Fish Foot Scrubber Why not try pampering your feet with a terracotta fish food scrubber rather than putting them in a tank of live doctor fish?
Most of the concerns raised seem to be over using the same group of Garra rufa fish working on the feet of multiple clients, as it is thought that diseases could be passed between people through any open wounds on the feet and ankles. In the US there are very rigorous health and hygiene standards that must be met by licensed beauty therapists when working with their clients, and one of them is that any tools or implements used in a beauty treatment must be disposed of or sterilized after every treatment. As you cannot effectively sterilize or cleanse the mouths of living Garra rufa fish and it would be far too expensive to provide new fish for every client, it is argued that the fish pedicures do not comply with the regulations. There have also been fears that some salons are not cleaning the tanks effectively or frequently enough.
However, it is still perfectly legal to enjoy a Garra rufa fish pedicure in the UK, and it is important to note that so far the Health Protection Agency have not discovered any cases of infection being passed on in fish foot spas. So what do you need to check out before you hand over your money and your feet to a beauty salon with a fish foot spa? One of the obvious things to look out for is the general look and feel of the beauty salon. If it looks grubby or not that clean,then it is probably not a good idea to put your feet into their Garra rufa fish tank. Also if the water in the tank does not look clear and fresh or if the fish do not look healthy, don’t put your feet in. Some salons keep their Garra rufa fish in tanks with ultra violet filters that help to keep the water fresh. Also check whether the salon has a policy regarding people who have fungal foot infections, as ideally they should not be offering Garra rufa fish pedicures to customers who do have fungal infections on their feet and each customer’s feet should also be cleaned before they are placed in the tank. There are also beauty salons that provide each of their clients with a separate tank to put their feet in, which should be more hygienic than having one, large communal tank. There are also services available in some countries where they deliver a tank of Garra rufa fish to your home, so that you can rent the tank for one or two weeks for a fee and have the chance to really get your feet looking smooth and well moisturized