By Candice Sabatini

Or rather, kiss my feet…with fish. They’re called Asian Fish, Doctor Fish and Kissing Fish, though some call them, Eeoowww…Fish! (oh, get over it) The real name is Gara Rufa fish and they’re the latest trend in spa treatments.

The fish, which thrive in warm water, love your dead skin and happily nibble it away while you leisurely keep your feet in a clean, warm water bath. The claim is that they’re a wonderful alternative to expensive, and in some states illegal, razor cutting or filing of the dead skin on our feet. Additionally, the treatment is said to be good for psoriasis and eczema. You can immerse your whole body and let the fish picnic on all your unwanted dry skin, but so far, most places have tanks only large enough for feet and hands.

It’s quite a popular trend all over Asia, and a friend of mine who lives in Manila, likes to go to the doctor fish spa with his family. Above is a shot of the foot of his 10 year old son, Sam, enjoying it. Here in the US, smaller fish are used, but in Asia, customers are given choices of tanks which hold fish of different sizes and you can move from tank to tank.

As of now, there are only a few spas around the US that offer the doctor fish and none in NYC yet. At a recent Spa convention I had the opportunity to sample the experience on my hand. After removing jewelry, disinfecting and washing my hand, I immersed it in the tank and as soon as I did, the dozens of fish immediately swarmed around and started nibbling away. It was a pleasant, tickling sensation and I’m told that when feet are “kissed”, many go from giggling to hysterical fits of laughter depending on how ticklish they are.

For more info, and to find out where the spas that offer this are located, go to:

Originally published November 2008
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