Fishy Feet! A fantasitc treatment or a health & safety nightmare...

The fish pedicure seems to be the trend of the moment in the beauty industry so I thought I’d give it a go so you could all hear first hand what was involved. Of course this is my personal experience and not everyone will feel the same about it, feel free to post your views and experiences.

The Garra Rufa fish are a member of the carp family originating from pools near two small Turkish towns called Kangal & Sivas. They have no teeth so they gently lick and suck away at the dry skin, especially beneficial for suffers of eczema & psoriasis.

When we arrived at the dedicated fish spa our feet were examined for signs of infection and washed with anti-bacterial soap. We were told to lower both our feet at the same time to ensure the fish were attracted equally.

My first thought was to immediately remove my feet; I found the sensation extremely ticklish and not too pleasant. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t hurt but I just found myself cringing and wondering if I’d be able to survive the 15 minutes I’d paid for.

After a few minutes I settled down and was able to relax and enjoy the experience. It’s very sociable, although everyone has separate tank pods to dangle their feet in, you are all together so it’s a nice treatment to have with friends and catch up on some gossip.

Apparently the fish leave a healing enzyme on the skin which we were given the option to wash off if we wished, we didn’t. My feet post treatment still had plenty of rough dead skin and in fact felt less smooth than before I started. This may be because the ideal treatment time is 30 minutes not the 15 that most people go for.

This treatment is priced between £10 & £50 depending where you go and how long you have, personally I’d rather spend the money on a decent pedicure complete with foot massage and a new lick of polish.

Interestingly since my treatment, I’ve found some very disturbing information about this new trend. The UK Health Protection Agency is currently investigating the ‘safety’ of the treatment after concerns have been raised by environmental agents. They are concerned that infection may be spread via open wounds from multiple customers having their feet ‘cleaned’ by the same fish.

This may be health & safety once again over reacting; however, it has already been banned in 14 states in the U.S.

I used a small owner operator spa in Maidstone that was conscientious and checked our feet prior to treatment, however there are bound to be spas out there that are less concerned particularly as more and more chains are springing up.

The Daily Mail Online had an interesting quote from a customer in North London who was concerned after he was sitting opposite a man who said he had something wrong with his foot and hoped the fish were enjoying it. He also said he was asked if he had any fungal infections, but no one checked.

So my advise to you, if you wish to see what all the fuss is about, make sure you go to a reputable spa or salon and check that they carry out adequate checks and procedures to safe guard your health.


  1. Thanks Amanda what a brilliant explanation of the treatment. I really want to do it and was going to take a couple of girlfriends because as you have said it is a different way of relaxing while you have a natter and a catch up. But you have made be not so keen now I must say.Can you recommened a safe place to use then please. Many thanks tricia oliver (ryans mum ) xx

  2. Hi Amanda! I think this is very good info! and i was thinking of doing it but something stopped me! So i`d rather have a pedicure!!!!!

    Linda Poulson XX

  3. Hi Tricia, I went to the one in the Chequers Centre, they seemed more professional and it was much more like a 'spa' than a gimic shop. xx

  4. Thanks for letting me know about this post Amanda. I still haven't tried a fish pedicure, but your description gives me a good insight :)