Last night, I went and sat with my feet in a pool full of hungry fish who fed on my skin.
I’ve been wanting to go to Dr. Fish for ages, simply because it’s just so weird. Starting out as a treatment for psoriasis in spas in Turkey, they’ve caught on more in Asia than in Europe, and are now popular spa treatments just like having a massage or sitting in a steam room.
The doctor in question is a shoal of small, flesh-eating fish in a shallow pool. You sit on the edge and put your feet into the water, and they start to eat. However – and I feel this is important to mention! – they only eat dead skin cells. I suppose it could be compared more to exfoliation than to having your feet ripped off by piranhas.
I went with some friends to the local Dr. Fish, in a rather swanky cafe with the best coffee I’ve tasted so far in Korea. We had some coffee and cakes, and then Korean Friend One went to inquire about the fish treatment. We ended up getting it for free because they didn’t have many fish in the pool just then, and so had to take turns rather than all going at once. And it was great fun.
First, you wash your feet.
Then you go over to the pool and look dubiously at the fish swimming around, all hungry and mad-looking.
Then you put your feet in and they go crazy. The water is all stirred up as they see your feet and rush towards them, darting and swarming, until it looks like there’s a big, living cloud around each foot. And yes, it tickles like mad.
Alex, Irish Friend One, and myself had the most popular feet. When our feet were in the water, the fishies almost completely ignored everyone else. At first we were quite flattered at all the attention, until someone pointed out that our feet must be in terrible condition, since the fish only eat dead or diseased skin. Ah well. All better now!
Although it was unbearably ticklish at first, it became very soothing and relaxing. Afterwards, my feet tingled all night. Irish Friend One and I want to go back some evening when we can spend a few hours there, sipping chilled wine and perhaps reading a book. :) Terri and American Friend One, on the other hand, screamed the place down after barely dipping a toe in the water.
I guess having live animals feast on your flesh is not for everyone.