• Wed, May 23 2012

Don’t Let Tiny Fish Eat Dead Skin Off Your Feet!

As if you needed more reasons not to get a pedicure in which TINY FISH EAT DEAD SKIN OFF YOUR FEET WHILE YOUR FEET REMAIN ON YOU, the CDC confirmed recently that it’s gross. Also, risk of bacterial infection is high for both person and fish.

The federal agency published a report by the U.K.’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science, which examined the types of bacteria associated with Garra rufa, an inch-long carp often referred to as “doctor fish,” the one used to eat your dead skin off at beauty salons. Ugh:

“Our study identified some of the species of bacteria associated with this fish species, including some that can cause infections in both fish and humans,” lead researcher David Verner-Jeffreys told a wire service.

Water, he added, is a fertile breeding ground for all manner of nasties. Couple that with bacteria living on fish scales or waste and the tiniest cut could make the risk of infection a reality. In April 2011, a bacterial outbreak among 6,000 G. rufa imported from Indonesia to British salons and spas revealed colonies of Streptococcus agalactiae, a group of bacteria that can lead to sepsis, meningitis, or pneumonia.

In the last few years, the prevalence of “fish pedicures” has soared, with salons in North America and the UK offering patrons the chance to let doctor fish go to town on their callouses. Only a few states have banned the practice outright.

Has anyone ever done this?


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  • Jon

    they had an episode about this on “victorious” that educated me about the horrors of tiny fish nibbling at your feet. i’ll be honest though, to this day, i still find the entire idea pretty intriguing.

    • Ashley Cardiff

      Oh yeah. Definitely not saying I’m not curious.

  • Elle

    Its amazing! Nothing gross about it people need to stop being such wusses!

    • Kai

      I think the gross part comes from the bacteria.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Gaylog Tristan Lynn Ballog

      We’ll have to ban human contact then.

  • Gab

    I did it in Cambodia, but I’m super ticklish so I only lasted about 2 minutes!

  • Billy Mays

    I did this in the ocean with wild fish and next thing I know, my feet are clean and I found 2 fish in my swimsuit by the time I got home so its a fair deal

  • DocBranch

    Did it in the Philippines. No problem. Enjopyed it and my feet were wonderfully clean and smooth afterwards. i would do it agian.

  • Margaux

    I did actually. I know I didn’t get infection because I kept moving my feet away from a vicious breed of disguised teeny-weeny piranhas. Oh, and I kept screaming. Did I also mention that I am extremely ticklish?

    • Lori M.

      and immature?

  • Doctor Fish Magnifique

    This story is absolutely ridiculous! Europe recently passed these treatments after intense studies of ill effects it may have on humans… no problems at all! Cosmetology is trying to ban these fish because they can’t make money from nature! only chemicals! If you want to know what is dangerous, go look up the chemicals you are exposed to in the salons!

  • Sarah

    I’ve had this done in Japan. It was at a “fun spa” and a lot of people had their feet in the fish pool at the same time. Hundreds of people had their feet in that water that day. We had no issues with infection and I would love to do it again!

  • timinphuket

    I have had a number of goes with my daughter but it was not worth it when there was a possibility of infection? No but it was fun – http://timinphuket-thingstodo.blogspot.com/search?q=fish+spa

  • Gary Pierron

    The reason I looked this up is because on the gulf coast when fishing and swimming the little guys would be going to town on my skin. Ever so often one would kind of pinch a little bit, but this has happened to me dozens of times and I never had any ill effects from it. I just wanted to know what they were called. “Doctor fish,” ha ha , how cool.

  • Equality7-2521

    “…the CDC confirmed recently that it’s gross.”

    That’s nice to know. Thank GOD they aren’t in charge of dealing with Ebola…