English 3 MIN READ 57 VIEWS June 6, 2024

Fish Spa: Decoding the Trend & Understanding Health Effects

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Fish spa

At some point in time, we are pretty sure that the majority of you must have heard about pedicure with fish, and some of you might have even tried the same in order to achieve smooth and fresh-smelling feet. 

Fish spa benefits are numerous that may come with some side effects too, which will be discussed in detail in this article. So, without any further ado, let’s proceed.

Fish Pedicure

Fish pedicure, also known as fish massage, is a growing trend in the beauty industry, and, as the name suggests, this technique involves the removal of dead skin using real fishes instead of using a pumice stone or via scraping with a metal foot filer. 

During a fish spa, you have to immerse your feet in a tank filled with water that contains a fish species known as Garra rufa aka ‘doctor fish’. Known to be native to the Middle East region, these toothless fishes work by nibbling dead skin cells from the feet, thus leaving your tootsies soft and smooth. Over a period of time, this trend of fish pedicure has gained popularity across the globe. However, as every coin has two sides, fish massage is no exception. It also has its pros and cons, which are discussed below in a comprehensive manner. 

Fish Spa Benefits

Now that we have a fair idea of what fish pedicure involves, it is time to discuss fish spa benefits. Some of the advantages of fish massage are as follows:

  • Reduction in callouses
  • Smooth and soft feet
  • Exfoliation of rough patches and dry skin.

Fish Spa Side Effects

Coming to the fish spa side effects, they technically outweigh the number of benefits this technique offers. As per experts, fish spa may prove to be risky from a hygiene point of view. This implies that it is not only difficult to clean the water tank between the two services but it is also impossible to ensure the personal hygiene of the fish (they can’t be cleaned or sanitised after all!). 

Furthermore, we also can’t ignore the risk of transmitting blood-borne diseases between customers because if one person has an open cut and bleeds in the tank, the next customer might acquire the same (although the chances are rare but not 0%).

Secondly, there might be confusion about the type of fish used for this procedure. For instance, the ‘doctor’ fish may be confused with another fish species, i.e Chinchin, and the latter may have bigger teeth, which may bite a person, thus increasing the risk of infections. The development of pathogenic bacteria amongst fishes may also cause staph infections.

Thirdly, fish massage is also considered to be unethical and inhumane as the Garra rufa fishes are starved so that they can feed off the dead skin during pedicures. Additionally, as these fishes are not native to many regions across the world, some may die during the transit as well and, what’s more, if they are released into water, they are capable of disrupting the ecosystem as they are not native to that particular region. 

Bottom Line

There is no doubt that fish spas are a great way to relax and pamper your feet. Not only is the sensation of fish removing the dead skin a somewhat satisfying experience, but fish massage is also a great way to keep your feet smooth and soft. However, it also has its share of negative aspects, including safety and ethical concerns, which may include potential risk for infection, lack of sanitation as well as environmental impacts. But, despite criticisms and controversies, fish pedicure continues to make waves in the wellness industry.

So, the bottom line here is if you are considering going for a fish spa to have smoother feet or are simply curious to try something new, ensure taking all aspects into consideration.

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