Saturday, 23 October 2010

Sleeping With The Fishes

A few months ago I signed up to be a member of livingsocial - an organisation that notifies you of daily deals within your chosen city, via your email. A limited amount of deals ranging from spas to cookery, are available to members at a discounted rate and for a short period only.

I had been receiving deals in my inbox for relaxing massages to indoor rock climbing and as interesting as they may be nothing really caught my eye. That was, until last Wednesday the subject header read Zoola Fish Pedicure. Intrigued, I clicked on the message and found I was pleasantly surprised.  I'd heard about this therapy in Malaysia and some of my friends there had experienced this treatment before. I should probably explain the concept of 'fish pedicures' before I continue because it really is much better than it sounds.

Garra Rufa fish also known as Doctor Fish feed on dead skin cells, allowing healthy skin cells to grow whilst leaving your feet feeling as soft as a baby's bottom. The treatment originates from spas in Turkey where it is common for sufferers of psoriasis to immerse affected areas into the tank allowing the fish to 'fin'ish (sorry I couldn't help myself) the skin cells off.

Three vouchers at £27 for half an hour of fishy fun instead of the usual price of £54? Bargain! Whats more, there's a free livingsocial itouch app so forget a paper print out of your purchase. Make yourself feel all warm and fuzzy inside by doing your bit for the environment and use your itouch application instead; what a stroke of genius.

So yesterday, I setup a date with my two best friends nicknamed 'Husbies' (don't ask). We met up in Camden (which was as usual, full of interesting individuals sporting bright pink hair and platform boots) and according to the itouch app there were two possible locations for our Zoola fish pedicure, both in Camden. The first location turned out to be slightly misleading so we gave up and decided to try the other site which was located in Stables Market. The stall numbers above each business in the market was in no particular order at all and after 20 minutes of circling the vicinity like vultures, we found it.

When we got there two ladies were already sitting in one of the tanks together looking as if they were having a good laugh. We shot a look at each other nervously and giggled like a bunch of teenagers. The friendly attendant handed each of us a clean white hot flannel to wipe our feet with before immersing them into the tank of hungry little fishes.

To be quite frank I was a little reluctant, judging by the way they were darting around I feared I might leave 30 minutes later missing a toe or two. As we sat on the edge preparing to dip our feet in schools of little fishes began to swim towards the surface in a flurry of excitement. I felt a little like Wendy from Peter Pan, walking the plank above a sea of ravenous crocodiles. Having said that the experience was nowhere near as terrifying.

The water was tepid understandably for the benefit of the fish, as I imagine warmer temperatures would do more damage than good. As soon as we immersed our feet ankle deep, the fish got to work sucking away as only they knew how. Dead skin cells had absolutely no chance against these little swimmers.

The sensation was somewhat bizarre. It felt a little like tiny bubbles but I could definitely feel a sucking sensation, not to mention the fact that it was rather tickly.  It took me at least 10 minutes to get used to the feeling as generally I am quite ticklish and so I had to bite the bullet and just deal with it. After all, I wanted to get my V.F.M and I wanted to see how effective the treatment was. The Husbies seemed to be feeling the same as me but they got over the initial sensation much faster than I did.  Though once we got carried away with the latest gossip, the tickly feeling became quite subtle.  After the session was over we were given a towel to pat our feet dry. 

It wasn't until I got home later that evening that I had a chance to determine how effective the treatment was. I was quite literally stunned. My feet were as smooth as a baby's bottom - just as they had guaranteed on their website.

I am fish-hooked (sorry haha)! On a scale (okay that's the last joke, I promise) of 1 to 10, I give my overall experience an 8. I'm almost certain I'll be going back for more and I definitely recommend it. I'd love to hear of your experiences.


  1. That is possibly the weirdest thing I've ever heard of. But I like it. I am very tempted to give it a go but also a little concerned that it would be just to much of a tickle-fest for me...

  2. oh my god, that's crazy! I have to say that unlike Natalie i am totally NOT tempted to do this, aaagh!! hahaha.

  3. Nats ... DO IT .. DO IT!! TREAT YOURSELF!! All that decorating/interior designing must be getting tiring ... you gotta try it!!

    Jane ... It was very effective and it didnt hurt at all. But I can see where you are coming from, I was quite squeamish at first!! Ad to think that in some countries, they have tanks for people to immerse their entire body into!!! *eek*

    By the way, thank you both for your feedback!!

  4. I think I would jump out as soon as they began darting towards me lol - definitely no VFM there.