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Is there a doctor (fish) in the house? Tried and tested- the fish pedicure

From: Spa'cial Needs,

Is there a doctor (fish) in the house? Tried and tested- the fish pedicure

It’s offishially (!) sandal season and we at Wahanda would much rather be out enjoying the sunshine than stuck in the bathroom with a pumice. Standard treatments can get dull so we’ve always got our ear to the ground for new and exciting ones. That’s why when we heard that the legendary fish pedicure was arriving in London we simply had to give it a try. We popped down to the new Aqua Sheko centre in High Street Kensington for a piscatorial pedicure with a difference.

The Venue

Aqua Sheko itself is set off the main road on Holland Street. Decked out in sleek, oriental style with black leather seats and sparkling blue tanks, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a fancy lounge bar. The venue specializes sole-ly (sorry!) in fish pedicures and is the first place to do so in London. The staff are friendly, immaculately presented and obviously very passionate about what they do. They are more than happy to answer any questions or brew you an exotic Chinese or Japanese tea to enjoy with your treatment.

The Treatment

A fish pedicure basically entails soaking your feet in warm water whilst a team of 'Garra Rufa' or 'doctor fish' nibble at any hard patches of dead skin, removing them using a 'sucking' motion. The fish have no teeth so you don't need to worry about being bitten, and will only remove dead cells so your little piggies will stay entirely intact. The treatment is believed by fans to be more hygienic than a standard pedi as there are no pumice stones or tools used and the tanks are cleansed by UV lamps to stop bacterial from being able to grow.

We began with having our feet washed to cleanse away any lotions or moisturisers which might be detrimental to our finned therapists. Our feet were then checked for any open cuts or fungal infections (also important for the health of the fish) before we were led to our seats, where it was time to take the plunge.

At first the sensation is a bit tickly and strange, as you feel lots of tiny little mouths and fins brushing against your feet. As your feet become accustomed to it, it starts feeling quite soothing and the fish themselves are very cute. The water is kept at 43 degrees centigrade, the same as the Garra Rufa’s natural habitat. This also helps soften the skin, allowing them to ‘suck’ it away more easily.

After half an hour your feet are dried off and you are left with soft, smooth tootsies to be proud of.

The Result

Immediately our dry, stressed skin felt softer and even looked healthier. We couldn’t believe the difference considering how stress free and painless the whole thing was compared with a rough, traditional pumice exfoliation. The whole experience was extremely enjoyable, if slightly surreal at first.

Key Fishy Facts

  • Garra Rufa or ‘doctor fish’ are originally from Turkey but are now exported all over the world for the purpose of fish pedicures. In some countries people bath their entire bodies in the tanks for an all-over exfoliation.
  • The fish thrive on dead matter like your unwanted skin cells but are also fed cucumbers every night to make sure they stay fit and healthy. An average fish can live for around three years.
  • The British Association of Dermatologists believes that this gentle, comfortable removal of superfluous skin aids exfoliation, particularly for psoriasis sufferers, since “it may help topical medications to penetrate”
  • It is believed that the fish secrete an enzyme named ‘diathanol’ which aids skin regeneration.
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Beauty product obsessive Melanie is a Copy and Products Writer at Treatwell. A coiffeur chameleon, she loves our fab hairdo deals and believes that a change is as good as a rest.

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