Fish pedicure

  Between Two Journeys

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 

Do you know the concept of the Fish Spa? It's a pedicure in an aquarium. Very trendy in Asia. You entrust your feet to nice fish that eat your dead skin...

The Fish Spa, it's trendy!

Those who dive in shorty (wetsuit with short legs and sleeves) know well the cleaning fish. Harmless bugs that love to peck at elbows and knees to eat dead skin...

Good news: this "pleasure" is no longer reserved for divers! It's even trendy to immerse your feet in pools filled with cleaning fish, for a fish pedicure.

Fish pedicure [© www.fish-china.com]

This therapy would have come from Turkey. The treatment was originally intended for people with skin problems (psoriasis, eczema, etc.). The fish rid the dermis of unwanted scales.

Now it's getting trendy!

More and more Asian spas are offering this fish therapy as a pedicure. The fish used in these famous pools is a freshwater fish, which answers to the sweet name of Garra rufa or Cyprinion macrostomus.

After the vogue in Asia (China, Singapore, Japan, Korea...) even the Americans are getting into it: see this Associated Press report here and this other from CBS there ...

"We come out with soft feet".

Fish pedicureMy sister, back from Siem Reap, Cambodia, tried the experience in a local center. She was quite satisfied: "We come out with our feet all soft!"

For my part, I'm not very sure to become a customer of this kind of thing. I do not like them too much, in fact, fish eating dead skin. An old grudge of a diver ...

Since I have my own wetsuit, long of course, I don't fear the overzealous cleaning fish anymore. But I remember well that I hated being pecked by these damn bugs, while diving, when I rented a shorty for the trips.

It doesn't hurt, no. Only, when I had a nice scab on my knee, it was sure to be swallowed by one of those gluttonous fish. Then, it was hard to heal properly... I still blame them.

And you, it tempts you, the fish pedicure ?


Added the 22.11.2011 → And the shrimp manicureyou know?


  Between Two Journeys

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  1. Hello Marie-Julie,

    I was also surprised, while searching on the web, to discover that there were so many spas, especially in Asia, offering this kind of fish therapy or fish pedicure... And I had a lot of fun discovering the American reports on the subject.

    As for the prices in Cambodia, I didn't really talk about it with my sister. But as she made a rather quick visit, on the heels of a trip to Singapore, just to see the temples of Angkor, and as it was her first time there, I don't think she has much to compare it to. She stayed in a nice guesthouse in Siem Reap, apparently, but of a good comfort and not really in the category "small price" I think. We'll wait for her to come back to the blog and leave us a little comment with her impressions...


  2. Good evening everyone!

    As for the fish doctor, for 3 dollars I thought it was funny, and my feet were actually softer when I came out... But that doesn't mean I'm going to become a fan... No... especially since I still have psoriasis-eczema on my feet...

    Prices in Cambodia...? Honestly, I don't know what to tell you. Coming from Singapore, I obviously found it cheap... There the beer was 5 US dollars while in Siem Reap it was 1,50 dollar...

    Then, I think that the town of Siem Reap has developed a lot compared to a few years ago, with all that it is necessary to satisfy the "vulgar" tourists; but again, arriving from Singapore (big business city), I found all that rather authentic; in spite of the bars, restaurants, and the night market!

    Our guest-house (Villa Loti) was very cute, comfortable, a little outside the center and we paid 44 dollars the night for 2 persons, breakfast and airport transfer included. I believe that it is in the 39 dollars for a single person.
    The pass for the temples of Angkor cost us 40USD per person for 3 days.

    That's it! In any case, I only stayed 3 nights in Siem Reap... and I can only think of one thing... going back!!!!!!!

  3. @ Alimata: Always a joke! 😆
    I also like shrimps better, they are nicer. They don't come and peck at you, but only oblige when you come to meet them. Instead of pretending to be a moray eel, with its mouth open, like you, I have often presented them with my fingers to manicure...

    @ Helen: Thank you for all these details, Sister!

  4. The fish cleaners, I do not like too much, it stings!!, am cozy skin side, especially at the feet 😉
    Besides, often there are fake cleaners hidden among the real ones that take a piece of your skin right off 👿
    I do like the cleaner shrimp though with their beautiful antennae that feel all over you before entering your mouth, it tickles nicely... 🙂
    As far as business is concerned, I don't really believe in "fish pedicure". It is too limited, even anecdotal. In our western countries, wouldn't the market be rather the "fish epilator" or even the "whale waxing"? 😆 ➡

  5. Never tried these fish-massage, but actually we cross a little everywhere ... in Singapore too!

    This article (or rather its comments) will have had the merit of teaching me that Hélène is your sister, I had never noticed... shame on me, especially since she had sent me a nice little email via my blog !!!!


  6. Yeah... 😉

    I had sent her to visit your blog, before she went to Singapore, since you are the specialist of "what to do and where to go from Singapore when you only have a few days? Which was precisely her constraint...


  7. After the "fish therapy" and the "shrimp spa", a brand new concept of exotic pedicure: the "piranha foot jacuzzi"!!!! Too good!
    I shudder.
    It's a little bit like "Teeth of the Amazon" your thing...

  8. Sorry, Sha-Ka, I doubt you'll get many answers to your question on this blog, which is dedicated to Asia and diving, not to medical topics. But you never know?

    In this post, I was just ironing out this new unusual "fashion" in spa treatments, especially in Asia. I think that when it comes to skin problems, fish only remove the scales. If they can bring relief at the time, I would be surprised if they heal the disease itself.

    If you cross-reference the words "psoriasis" with "fish doctor" in search engines, you may find testimonials from people who have actually tried this remedy, for medical reasons and not just as a pedicure "treatment".

    Good luck with your research!

  9. Ok thanks for the answer, I also doubt that they can heal, but if they can already remove in a faster way the crusts that form it would be already good 🙂

  10. It's great, for those who love good sensations. How to get some, these little fish for Christmas gift? Please let me know 😀 Happy n8t to you all.

  11. 😉 😀 Hello to you citizens, to see them play they are great, Corinne, Santa Claus works miracles, happy birthday to you, to all of you. 😆

  12. @Anne: As for me, I have never tested it. And I'm extremely ticklish under the soles of my feet... I hadn't thought of that! I don't think I could stand it either!
    😡 😆

  13. I just came back from Indonesia where I could try fish therapy in Jakarta and Bali (Ubud). I thought it was great.

  14. Good evening,
    One should not confuse the Chin-chin which has teeth. And the Garra Rufa which does not have any, so it sucks. Slight tickling and nice relationship with the fish. A real moment of relaxation and pleasure, even afterwards.
    I didn't have to go to Asia, just near my home in Haute Garonne. Here is the site:

  15. Hello,

    I would like to set up a massage center with fish in Morocco, could you give me all the necessary information to set up a project of this kind.

    Thank you in advance


  16. yuck... I just won a pedicure in an institute in Valence to "bathe with the garra rufa" I really don't feel like it, I'm repulsed by it and I'm afraid of tickling... I have to offer it... lol... you didn't make me feel like it at all (I didn't have any yet)...

  17. I just tested this treatment with two friends in Paris.
    It was nice to feel these little critters. Moreover, admiring this dance around the feet gives a feeling of relaxation. Thanks again to Régine for having this idea!

  18. In Malaysia 3 years ago, the three girls I was with tried it, but I'm way too ticklish to have dared to put my feet in the water.
    At the time, it was almost unknown in France, now you don't even have to fly to Asia to try it. So it loses its charm, I think.

  19. Hello,

    For me, if I test it, it might be more of a gag than anything else. One little thing and I'll be laughing so hard I'm ticklish.