Lifestyle Health

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Gone fishin' for skin therapy

Kathryn Hayes

Published 03/07/2008 | 00:00

"Sleeping with the fishes" is a term usually issued as a sinister threat -- but a new clinic aims to show their therapeutic side.

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An alternative skin therapy clinic where patients with chronic diseases bathe with hundreds of tiny fish that nibble at the skin, will soon be made available in Dublin.

"Doctor fish" -- so named for their ability to produce healthy results from even the most diseased epidermis -- are the key ingredient in a skin treatment currently available at Skin Therapy Ireland, a clinic located on the outskirts of Limerick city.

The fish, pictured left, are a species called Garra Rufa that originate in hot spring pools in the East Anatolian Kangal region of Turkey, where these fish have "nibbled" on the skin of psoriasis-sufferers for more than four hundred years.

Clare woman Therese Dillon, who suffered from severe psoriasis for years, decided to open Ireland's first clinic of this type in Limerick after a holiday to Turkey where she first tried the therapy.

"About 60pc of my body was covered with psoriasis and I had never experienced results like those I got in Turkey so I brought some fish back with me and began breeding them here before opening the clinic in Limerick a year ago," explained the 42-year-old.

"I am not a qualified physician and I don't claim to cure anybody but I currently have a 75pc success rate on my books," she added.

Patients suffering from a variety of skin diseases including eczema, dermatitis, athlete's foot, acne and psoriasis are currently travelling from across the country to the clinic and plans are under way to open a clinic in Dublin in two months.

The treatment involves bathing in a hot tub with approximately 200 fish for two-hour periods over six days.

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