Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Carp diem

Do you want “smooth and attractive feet”? I live in the country so do not keep up with beauty treatments but apparently fish pedicures are all the rage overseas now. More popular than fish, even. Harry Wallop reports that some English towns – Newbury, Windermere, Kidderminster, Aylesbury, Brentwood and Wakefield – have a fish pedicure salon but no fishmonger:
There are 268 fish pedicure salons, according to an analysis of business directories by the Daily Telegraph. Though this is fewer than the 992 fishmongers, as calculated by the Grocer magazine, it represents an explosive level of growth, considering the first salon opened in the UK just two years ago. [. . . ]
The procedure, which is meant to leave clients with smooth and attractive feet, has become very fashionable and many salons hire themselves out for hen nights.
It involves customers placing their feet and ankles in a tank full of about 200 fish, usually Garra Rufa, a type of tiny carp, which nibble away at dead skin.
Earlier this year the Health Protection Agency said it was concerned the procedure could spread diseases from person to person through open wounds, though it said it was unaware of any cases of infection.
So what does Nursing Times say?
Although the Sun has been carping on about warnings and alerts, the newspaper seems to have overestimated the scale of the risk, which health experts have described as being “extremely low”. [. . .].
While the report did acknowledge that the risk of infections could not be completely ruled out, it is important to view this in context and not be reeled in by fishy headlines.
Puntastic. New Zealand’s own intrepid beauty investigator Stephanie Kimpton tried it out in Thailand – that is her foot in the photo above:
I had read about fish pedicures somewhere and when on holiday in Thailand, I saw them. 100 Thai Baht (NZ$4) for 10 minutes. Sold!
Fish therapy has been in Asia for years. The Garra Rufa fish don’t have teeth. They suck at the skin and lift away dead cells revealing nice smooth skin underneath.
Being ticklish and known to boot my pedicurist in the head on the odd occasion, I knew procrastination would be dangerous. I paid my money and got my feet into the tank.
If I knew what I knew now, I wouldn’t do it. Those toothless piranhas are hungry little suckers. They swarmed at my feet, between my toes and up my legs. The nibbling/sucking sensation was not pleasant. It didn’t hurt. It was just very strange. [. . .]
I spoke to a New Zealander on holiday whose husband gave it a go and shared the same tank as her. She said the fish had a party on his feet and completely ignored hers. Could be the fact that his presented a feast, whilst hers were a famine. So, if you’re going to try it, don’t share with someone who has neglected feet or you won’t get your money’s worth.

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