Wednesday 29 January 2020

Extreme Beauty: The fish tank pedicure

The fish tank pedicure
The fish tank pedicure

Sinead Van Kampen

Each fortnight Extreme Beauty investigates what's new and cutting edge in the battle to remain young and beautiful.

What is it?

The Fish Tank Pedicure involves putting your feet in a warm fish tank where they become the dish of the day for a tank full of Garra Rufa fish, while you thumb through the latest edition of Vogue.

Did I read that correctly?

Yes .... fish eat the flesh from your feet!

Er .... why?

Ichthyotherapy has a long and well documented history within dermatology with recorded uses in India, Greece, Turkey, the middle east and China. The fish, the Garra Rufa, breed in the warm waters and springs of the Euphrates Basin and have adapted to conditions of food scarcity by taking meals from the skin of others.

The fish have no teeth and feed by gently sucking away the layers of dead skin, leaving all below clean and soft. In Turkey, the fish are used as a natural spa remedy and as a treatment to relieve the symptoms of skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.

What's the procedure?

Your tender tootsie's are placed into a warm fish tank containing thirty or forty Garra Rufa fish who busy themselves by feeding away on the flesh of your feet. As it's much less abrasive than a pumice and the fish are quite thorough, the results we're quite impressive.

After half an hour my feet felt fresh, healthy and as soft as a marshmallow.

How does it feel?

Odd, and then really odd, but in a nice kind of way. Obviously the site of your feet being used as a five-course banquet by a distant relative of the freshwater Carp is a little shocking at first, but as the pedicure progresses the sensitivity diminishes and it feels like your feet are being smothered with thousands upon thousands of tiny little fishy kisses.

And for the fish?

They seemed happy enough. No complaints as yet.

The benefits .... real or imagined?

Real, very real. It feels divine. Some of the fish found my feet tastier than others but once all the fish had eaten their fill I was treated to an expert pedicure and a polish by the team at the salon.

The downside?

Make sure you turn off your phone -explaining to your bank manager that you can't discuss a loan application because your currently sitting in a fish tank being eaten alive might cause unnecessary alarm.

How much does it cost?

The fish pedicure is available from the Margarita Salon in Sutton and costs €60. Ph. 01 8399299.

Extreme rating?

Watching your feet being nibbled at by lots of little fish is more surreal than extreme, especially when they work their way between the toes. Given I was impressed by the results and the softness of my feet afterwards I can't feel anything but love and affection for the lovely fish who worked so tirelessly. It made my week.

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