Most of us probably like to treat ourselves to a pedicure once in a while. It is one of the things that take us away from life’s everyday stressors. If you book yourself for a pedicure, you expect the nail technician to use a file or pumice stone to remove calluses and hard patches from your feet. But, if you want some thrill and have a strong stomach, there is another way to help you achieve those silky smooth soles by booking a fish pedicure. This is a treatment where they use live Garra Rufa fish to exfoliate your feet. In this article, we are going to know more about fish pedicures.
What is a Fish Pedicure?
As we mentioned, a fish pedicure is a treatment that makes your feet smoother by exfoliating them with the help of pooka fish. Instead of using a sponge to exfoliate your feet and scrape away the dead skin cells, the fish will do the job and nibble it away. Even if it sounded a bit painful to have fish eat off dead skin cells from your feet, you would not have to worry. This is because fish pedicures are entirely harmless, and they use a fish species called Garra Rufa fish which is known to have no teeth.
What is a Garra Rufa Fish?
The Garra Rufa fish, also known as the doctor fish or pooka fish, was initially found in Iran and Turkey during the 19th century. Back then, the Turks have been using the fish in their spas for exfoliation. This means that the Garra Rufa fish has been used for a fish pedicure for over 400 years. Over time, fish pedicures made their way to Europe, Asia, and the United States.
The Garra Rufa fish is a loach family member and lives in freshwater regions along the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The Garra Rufa fish are versatile species that can survive in many freshwater habitats such as small ponds, rivers, lakes, and even muddy streams. They like water with fast currents, so you will always find them swimming against the water currents.
Fish Pedicure Procedure
Most salons that offer a fish pedicure keep their Garra Rufa fish in a communal tank. The fish pedicure treatment begins with the nail technician transferring around 100 fish from the tank to your foot tub. You might think that a hundred may seem like a lot; the Garra Rufa fish are small and work best when they are plenty. The nail technician will examine your feet first for open cuts or wounds because it can lead to potential infection from the fish pedicure.
Once you’re cleared, you will now place your feet in the tub where things get a little bit touchy and freaky. As we mentioned, the Garra Rufa fish likes to swim against the current; that is why when your feet enter the tub, it will create a vibration that vies with the fish’s desired water current. This will now prompt the fish to swim to your feet and begin eating away the patches of dead skin. Most people who experienced a fish pedicure describe it as tingly and precarious, but it’s not painful. A fish pedicure session can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
Fish Pedicure Effects Before and After
A fish pedicure can help remove bacteria, exfoliate your feet, and increase blood circulation. However, some people are still hesitant about the treatment because of its safety and hygiene risks. The main issue is all about animal waste because, just like all animals, fish make waste that collects at the bottom of the pedicure tubs. Aside from that, there is no way to sanitize the fish between clients properly. Because some clients opt for a fish pedicure to remove bacteria and foot fungus, these can be transferred to the fish. Since the fish cannot be cleaned or sterilized, they can share these infections with other clients when they are reused in the future. This is why fish pedicures are banned in 16 states in the U.S.
It is worth noting that the risks of transmitting infections from fish pedicures are pretty low. However, it is still essential to be aware of the potential outcomes. If you still want to try and experience it, we suggest that you take supplements to boost your immune system before your appointment. This will help reduce the risk of infection. If all goes well, the fish pedicure is followed by a traditional pedicure to clean your feet and toenails thoroughly.
If you feel anything strange after a fish pedicure, contact your doctor to make sure that everything is okay.