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Go Fish – Fish Therapy

By on April 24, 2007
in Trends with 8 Comments

So I’m watching Ugly Betty on Sunday on my DVR and what do I see? Wilhelmina Slater (Vanessa Williams) soaking her feet in flesh eating fish to make them smooth as a baby’s bottom. I was shocked, disgusted and intrigued all at the same time. My first thought was, “yeah right!” But, knowing that some of the craziest stories on television are based in reality I decided to do a little sleuthing.


Lo and behold, this is an actual treatment in Japan. They call the little guys Doctor Fish (actual name garru-rufa) and they feast on dead skin. They don’t have any teeth just a suction cup type mouth that removes the skin, leaving it glowing and smooth. The sensation has been described as tingly or ticklish. Oh and it’s not just for the feet. If you’re brave enough, you can immerse yourself for a whole body exfoliation.

This therapy is not just for the extreme pedicure lover. Imported from Turkey, the fish are used in some Middle Eastern countries as a natural way to treat rheumatism and psoriasis.

For more info and some great video, check out this piece from Orlando’s Local 6 News.

Also, I found this bit on YouTube. It’s in Japanese but the video is great.
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  1. My First (Forbidden) Fish Pedicure « Darren Garnick’s Culture Schlock | February 13, 2010
  1. Lesa says:

    How interesting!!Congrats on being a nonsmoker,btw!

  2. corinneyb says:

    Okay…ew.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well, truth is stranger than fiction, but flesh eating fish?
    I’d rather exfoliate myself.

    BUT MORE on “Ugly Betty,” can’t get enough of that show.

    Seems like the only character in that cast who has manicures is HIlda. Now, I’m sure if we put our creative minds together, we could come up with a plot that involves trendy polishes…after all, Wilhelmina must keep the attention of that foot fetishist..

  4. CincyFan says:

    Hey Lesa!! I’m so proud that we finally were able to quit. Doing it together made all the difference. No patch or aid needed. It was just the right time and I don’t miss it a bit.

    Corinneyb, I thought ew at first myself but I’ve had plenty of fish brush up against me when I was snorkeling. It freaked me out but I survived. If we had those type of spa pools in the states, I’d totally try it.

    Anon – I think there should be more painted nails on a show like Ugly Betty but, I guess the Hollywood types don’t understand us normal people loving color. I know that neutrals are always popular, I just crave color.

  5. Carleenp says:

    When I saw this on Ugly Betty, I also wondered if it was real. Very interesting. I would try it simply to say that I did it!

  6. Tjala says:

    I tried it! In Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia.

    It was sooooo weird for the first ten minutes. I couldn't stop giggling. It was like the most intense foot massage ever.

    But you gradually relax and then…. wow. I could easily become quite addicted to the feeling. It's a very nurturing sensation actually.

    And the result? Well, my feet were so soft and smooth, I could wear my flip flops the next day. Seems like all my callouses had gone!

    I really recommend you try it if you can. A great experience!

  7. there are some great points in this article now to do more research

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