Fishing For Flawless Feet

Want the perfect pedicure? Go Fish. If you thought caviar facials were the closest encounter with sea-life  one can experience through a luxury spa treatment, try again. Those willing to go unusual lengths for the ultimate pedicure have discovered a new adventurous development in foot pampering: for a price, hundreds of Turkish carp will nibble your toes and leave them flawless. Sound too weird to be true? It’s not.

The so called “fish pedicures” are all the rage at a fearless Virginia based spa, Yvonne Hair and Nails salon, where 5,000 customers have already tested the waters – literally. John Ho, the spa owner, recommends the treatment for any client  “who likes to have nice feet.” As we know, exfoliation is key in maintaining attractive feet, yet unfortunately, for some women, an at home pumice & scrub session can only do so much. Professional assistance is required – thus, pedicure culture is alive and well. But as callus shavers and razors raised red flags due to salon sanitary and safety issues, Ho looked for a creative alternative. He looked eastward to Turkey and to Asia for inspiration, and opportunity beckoned.

Women in these regions have long benefited from the skin-feeding services of the so called “doctor fish”. The backstory isn’t particularly glamorous: psoriasis and other dermatology patients reported (generally temporary) relief from their symptoms once the little fish had consumed all their diseased flesh, while leaving the healthy skin not only unscathed, but glowing. In case you were wondering, the fish are toothless and cannot “bite”, and merely facilitate the usual pedicure process.

Intrigued? Be warned that many clients report intensely odd sensations, so this isn’t for either the squeamish or ticklish at heart. One client of the Yvonna spa claims that, “It kind of feels like your foot’s asleep.” Pins & needles aside, the treatment has become a fast favorite at this particular salon, and Ho has had to move the fish from a “communal pool” to individual tanks. The pedicure pioneer du jour now plans to launch a chain of Doctor Fish Massage franchises and is considering offering full-body and psoriasis treatment options to his list of services, as well. But will others follow?

“I think most people would be afraid of it,” says Dennis Arnold of the International Pedicure Association (yes, such an organization exists!). However, now that the media, blogosphere, and spa industry have so eagerly cottoned on to this story, doctor fish  could be the next new trend in global beauty business. As it will initially set back any spa or salon owner $40,000 to $50,000 to incur the fish, expect the biggest establishments in major cities to hazard the trend first.

Readers, would you be willing to try such a bizarre treatment? Are the results worth it?


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