Something ‘Fishy’ About Fish Spas?

Something ‘Fishy’ About Fish Spas?

The doctor fish or the nibble fish treatment was earlier used for the treatment of the skin ailment called psoriasis in order to alleviate the condition. Now it is widely used as a fish spa treatment for cleansing, especially as pedicure and manicure. The doctor fish feeds on the dead skin of the feet, hands or even the whole body. The treatment is painless because these fish are toothless.

For this treatment, many prefer the garra rufa fish, as it is less ticklish compared to other fish namely, chin-chin. The duration of the treatment varies depending on the number of fishes used, but normally 15-30 minutes with a follow-up twice a week, gives better results.

The fish spa leaves the feet or the area treated, clean, smooth and healthy. It is a great way to get pampered and also serves as a relaxation technique. The treatment is available in many beauty parlours and malls. Despite its many benefits, unfortunately, there are also some demerits for this feel-good treatment. Listed below are some pros and cons of the fish spa treatment.

How It Benefits

  • Helps people suffering from psoriasis and eczema.
  • Leaves the treatment area smooth, clean and shiny.
  • It is painless.
  • The doctor fish can locate the acupuncture points, which helps one relax and get rid of fatigue.
  • Helps reduce foot odour.
  • The garra rufa fish salivates an enzyme containing dithranol, which helps in the growth of new skin cells.
  • Improves blood circulation

The Risks Involved

  • Infections can be transmitted from the fish to the person and from person to person or from the water to a person.
  • Fungal, bacterial and viral infections can develop.
  • Infection of blood borne viruses like hepatitis and HIV,

Though it is good to know about the risks mentioned above, it is also advisable to check the hygiene standards of the spa. as to how often the water is replaced, because it needs to be done often. People with infections should not be allowed for the treatment as well as those who waxed their legs and hands within a duration of 24 hours.

The area of treatment must be cleaned with a medicated liquid or soap before it is immersed it the water. Usage of medicated lukewarm water is advised since bacteria cannot survive in warm water. This way, the chances of infection spreading can be reduced.


Fish spa is banned in some countries for various reasons like hygiene and animal cruelty, since the fish have to feed on dead skin only, transmission of infections and so on. Despite all the drawbacks of the treatment, the fish spa has made its way into the business world and has become a trend.

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