Infectious fun? A nippy, little fish pedicure

Garra Rufa fish have been all over the news recently.

Garra Rufa fish have been all over the news recently. More commonly known as Doctor Fish, and infamous for their fishy pedicures, you can find these finned friends almost anywhere now, from shopping centres to spas. Thanks to reality TV show ‘The Only Way is Essex’, fish exfoliation has become more popular recently than ever – or has it?

Controversy has been sparked by recent reports that participating in a ‘fish pedicure’ can leave you with a nasty foot infection, courtesy of the customers previous to you. Realistically however, if the place you attend to have this treatment is respectable and up to hygiene standards, there should be no problems. I went to ‘Naughty Nibblers‘ in Icklesham, to experience the hype that is the ‘fish pedicure’ and see what I thought for myself.
When my three friends and I first walked in for our appointment and were asked to wait outside because ‘the fish were resting’, we couldn’t help but laugh. But as it happens – any respectable provider of these organic pedicures should allow the Garra Rufa to rest in between sessions.This break also allows for water changes and foot checks – key to avoiding infection or contamination.
I’m not going to lie, I was pretty terrified to take the plunge. Despite being informed that the fish had no teeth, I still wasn’t keen on their ‘sandpaper like mouths’ attacking my heels, even if they do have healing enzymes to share around.
Truthfully, the first two minutes were horrible. Really, truly, horrible. Perseverance though (and the fact that I had paid £10 for this experience) got the better of me and I kept my feet submerged. After a short while, you do adjust to the concept that small fish are snacking on your feet and it actually feels quite relaxing – like tiny shocks or vibrations.
Prospective victims be warned however, the fish do jump (yes, jump!) out of the tank and they also have a tendency to climb their way up your ankles and calves. All in all though, I’d say it’s worth a try. Were my feet miraculously cured of all hard skin? No. But they are softer, it was more fun than a Ped Egg… and there’s no sign of infection either.
(Editor’s note; The foot in the main picture does not belong to the author)