It was interesting to say the least have my feet nibbled by a hundred or so little garra rufa fish!
Yes, I have partaken in the latest spa craze and I would highly recommend it.
Last year my local hairdresser turned it’s back corridor into a relaxing fishy haven with 4 tanks full of fish to nibble away the dead bits of skin, callouses, cuticles and anything else they find on your feet.
So when my dad – yes my dad – told me this had opened, I naturally thought I’d better give it a go. After all, I don’t like wearing shoes and have danced for years so my feet have a few hard edges to them, which pumice stone alone cannot touch.
And that is how one afternoon last year I drove down to the hairdressers to have an alternative pedicure.
After picking up a copy of Vogue (obviously, what else does one read when at the hairdressers – not that there’s much to read, just a lot of pictures of very expensive clothes which, quite frankly are far too bizarre to wear when you are popping down to the local supermarket!) I was led to the fish spa.
You don’t just take shoes and socks off and dunk the feet – oh no!
Clearly taking off of foot garments is a necessity, but then you have to wash you feet under a water shower, set at a certain temperature (bit hot for my liking and I love hot showers) – no soap just clean running hot water. Next you have to dry your feet, but not with a towel – you stick them under a foot level hand dryer, and thankfully not one where you have to rub your feet together for an age before a small amount of air puffs out to dry your feet, no, it’s more like one of those fab high-powered Dyson dryers.
Then you are given a pair of flip-flops made of ultra-eco-friendly polystyrene to put on and led to the tanks. Actually thinking about it, they look like flip-flop shaped prawn crackers!
You sit on the nice high cushioned seat, with your copy of Vogue, take the flip-flops off and swing your legs round to perch them on the edge of the tank.
Then come the instructions:
- Do not put your feet on the bottom of the tank – this seems fairly obvious because the object of the treatment is for the fish to nibble the hard bits, which are generally on the soles of your feet!
- Do not shake the fish off or move your feet too vigorously – danger of harming fish.
And that’s about it. Take a deep breath and when you are ready take the plunge!
It is the weirdest sensation I have ever experienced.
The instant you plunge your feet in the fish go for it. Initially it tickles but not in a horrid, unpleasant way more of a wriggly tickly way.
When you get used to the tickly sensation, for me, it turned into a tingle like the kind you get when you have pins and needles, but again it was not uncomfortable.
At this point my feet were rigid in the water and incredibly tense, but after a few minutes, no more than 5 my feet relaxed and gradually sunk lower into the water.
Half an hour later and one copy of Vogue perused it was time to take the feet out, dry off and put socks and shoes back on.
My feet were actually softer (and still were 2 days later), I admit I have very bad hard skin on my heels and balls of my feet, but even they felt slightly softer and the cuticles on my toenails were trimmed to perfection.
Was it relaxing?
Yes, after the initial getting used to it stage, I would say it was relaxing. After all there is something very therapeutic and calming about watching fish – even if they are feasting on your dead skin.
Did I do it again?
A resounding and emphatic YES! I did a further 3 treatments, then, unfortunately, the hairdressers changed hands and the new owner had the fish removed!
Shame, it was the most alternative pedicure I’ve ever had 😉
If you get the chance to have a go – do it!