Today I had my first ever fish pedicure at Aqua Sheko, a trendy new "fish spa" in Kensington, London. I was very excited to try out this unusual pedicure treatment which involves plunging feet into a tank full of Garra Rufa fish which then suck and nibble away dead skin cells. It's been massive in Japan for years.
If you're fish phobic, you probably don't want to read on!
So apparently, these Garra Rufa fish are found in hot springs in Turkey and have been used for softening and cleansing the skin of bathers for centuries. Their suction−cup mouths gently lift away dry skin without damaging the healthy new cells underneath, to reveal soft, supple and smooth skin. So they get a good feed, while your feet are exfoliated. Everyone's a winner!
When I arrived at Aqua Sheko, my feet were washed by a very sweet therapist (the poor thing having to touch my sweaty, swollen, sock-marked feet after a long, hot day!). I was then sat on a comfy seat at my very own tank.
I did squeal embarrassingly loudly when I first dipped my feet in. These fish are not shy - they get straight in there! Below is a photo of some of the fish having a good nibble on my unattractively swollen feet. You can click on the photo to enlarge it to see their hungry little faces.
And below is a video of the fish darting around (I took the sound off because it's just chatter from surrounding customers). They move pretty fast!
The sucking and nibbling doesn't hurt at all... I would describe it as a bit of a "pins and needles" feeling. Kind of tickly and tingling. Not at all painful, and actually quite pleasant! And the fish didn't just go for obvious areas of dead skin, they nibbled all over, even my ankles!
While despairing at my swollen, sock-marked feet, I noticed the girl next to me (who had started a while before me) already had very nice feet... slim-looking and well-presented. She also had noticeably fewer fish attacking her than I had. The fish must have been disappointed with her lack of dry, uncared-for skin!
The fish started to get full and lose their appetite on me towards the end of the 30 minutes, with only a handful still sucking away rather than the entire shoal.
When my treatment was up, my feet were washed and dried again, leaving me with baby soft, light-feeling feet. I could still see the moderately dry skin on my heels, but the entire surface area of my feet (including the topsides and soles) felt smoothed over. Meaning, if I were to put a pair of tights on, I would no longer snag them all the way down while shoving my scaly foot through. Now there's an attractive image for you.
A fish pedicure including a relaxing foot massage at Aqua Sheko normally costs £45, or £30 for the express 25-minute fish pedicure and feet wash. However, I paid just £12 for a 30 minute fish pedicure (no massage) through Wahanda.com (not an affiliate link). If you haven't heard of Wahanda MobDeals, honestly, where have you been?? So there's a daily deal where if enough people sign up (and they always do), the deal's on, and everyone gets a top quality spa treatment for a jaw-droppingly low price. It's a no-brainer really. But just remember to book your appointments early because when there's 900 or so sign-ups, the convenient time slots fill up fast.
You can find out more about the fish pedicure at aquasheko.com.
So what do you reckon? Will you be having a fish pedicure any time soon? Go on... it's fun! I went alone, but it'd be great for a girly laugh!