You may ask yourself first what a fish pedicure even is!? Well, this time it is alright to think about it in a literal way, because you would be correct to think that the fish pedicure is exactly what it sounds like! Yes, fishes are swimming between, under, and above your feet during your pedicure treatment indeed. The fish pedicure, also known as the fish spa, is a well known treatment in certain parts of this world, where the person dips their feet in a bowl of water filled with small fish called Garra rufa.
Garra rufa are sometimes referred to as what may be called, doctor fish, since they eat away the dead skin on the foot. These small fishes are your solution for those awful and dangerous foot razors (which by the way not only are terrible for your skin and feet, but using a razor on the foot is a banned practice nowadays anyway, and for good reason). Doctor fish are utilized in the pedicure to expose newer skin, after they have eaten your dead skin off of your feet. Too gross for you, then maybe this is not the right treatment for you, but at least you learned of something new! And maybe in the future, when you are feeling adventurous, you will try this type of pedicure treatment!
Garra rufa are native to the Middle East! This fish species has been known to treat medical conditions such as skin diseases, like psoriasis. In a controlled setting one particular study performed in Austria at a medical university actually demonstrated the effectiveness of fish pedicures in the treatment of psoriasis, which demonstrated promising results.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is not aware at this particular time of any published reports on illnesses resulting from fish pedicures, but this does not mean that you dive in head first at the next place you see performing this treatment to receive one! Let’s use the noggin, and make sure to research because there are risks involved! Using the Garra rufa in itself is not bad, but there can be vital problems that are associated with this treatment if you do not do the correct research, or the place of business does not do what they should in order to make this procedure a safe treatment. Let’s examine some of these negatives, and see why your state may have banned this type of pedicure treatment.
Each state has the authority to ban the fish pedicure. Currently, over 10 states have actually banned the fish pedicure, and for particular reasons that are listed below:
Most of the bans are based on at least one of the following reasons:
• The fish pedicure tubs cannot be sufficiently cleaned between customers when the fish are present.
• The fish themselves cannot be disinfected or sanitized between customers. Due to the cost of the fish, salon owners are likely to use the same fish multiple times with different customers, which increases the risk of spreading infection.
• Chinese Chinchin, another species of fish that is often mislabeled as Garra rufa and used in fish pedicures, grows teeth and can draw blood, increasing the risk of infection. (scary huh!?)
• According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Garra rufa could pose a threat to native plant and animal life if released into the wild because the fish is not native to the United States.
• Fish pedicures do not meet the legal definition of a pedicure.
• Regulations specifying that fish at a salon must be contained in an aquarium.
• The fish must be starved to eat skin, which might be considered animal cruelty. (vegans and vegetarians be aware)