Fish Foot Spa Pedicure Review

What is a Fish Foot Spa Treatment?

If you’re into finding new ways to relax your feet, perhaps you’ve considered a fish foot spa pedicure. This type of foot treatment involves sticking your feet into water with a school of Garra Rufa fish. Also known as Doctor Fish, Nibble Fish, or (less attractively) Reddish Log Suckers, these little fish are native to the Middle East.

Gerra Rufa Fish Foot Spa
Recently, Garra Rufa fish spa pedicures have become all the rage. Originally popularized in Asia, they’re now used by people all over the world use them. Due to their novelty factor they are increasingly popular in both the UK and the United States.

A fish foot spa pedicure consists of a client placing their feet in tanks of warm water containing the tiny fish and the fish supposedly nibble the dead skin off of the foot. This is said to leave the foot feeling refreshed. Other claims made in advertisements and by adherents include helping to clear athlete’s foot, reducing foot odors, and even stimulating accupressure points, helping to stimulate the nervous system and relieve foot fatigue.

Fish Foot Spa Risks

Anything that helps your feet to relax has to be good, right? Well, not necessarily. There are rising concerns that Garra Rufa spa treatments can cause some major health concerns, especially for diabetics and people with autoimmune disorders.  People with psoriasis should also avoid getting them.

Garra Rufa Pedicure Spa Fish

Garra Rufa Fish

Fish water contains potentially harmful microorganisms, so there is the risk of infection either from the water itself or from germs picked up from other people using the same pool. Those with the above conditions are particularly susceptible to infections, so this danger ought to be carefully considered. Perhaps a good alternative is a fish-free at home foot spa.

Many states have banned fish spa treatments due to health concerns. An Arizona lawsuit was declined when a spa owner stated that her constitutional rights were violated when she had to stop the pedicures. However, the judge later ruled that since the water and fish could not be cleaned after each procedure as medical  and cosmetology tools are required to be, the law would stay intact.

If you do go to a spa for this treatment, you can reduce your risk of infection by not going right after you’ve shaved your legs, or had a leg wax. (source)


To me, spending money to have fish nibble on your feet (actually, they’re not even nibbling. They’re toothless carp!) just doesn’t seem worth it.  It seems from research that it is just not sanitary and risking your health for a few minutes of comfort is just not worth it. Also, there’s no proof that this treatment actually accomplishes anything

There are plenty of salons offering wonderful foot pedicures that are just as relaxing. Or, you can buy a home foot massager and save the cost of going to a spa at all! You could even get a fish tank with it so you can satisfy your need to watch fish while relaxing your feet!

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