A fish massage or a fish pedicure is a new trend gaining immense popularity amongst both men and women in several countries around the world, however, the health experts have stated that one should beware before stepping into one of these as the procedure can cause the spread of deadly diseases from one host to another. During a typical session, a person puts her feet in the tank of water and allows the small, toothless; Garra Rufa fish eat away all the dead or hardened skin. Although the Garra Rufa fish is stated to only eat the dead flesh and not the healthy skin, it is said by the medical experts that the fish may also carry deadly bacteria such as AIDS or hepatitis C from one person to the next.[irp]
Even though this unusual treatment had been introduced in the western world under the title of Dr. Fish, the United States of America have themselves warned about the negative effects that these sessions may bring with them, and they have taken these warnings seriously by preventing this procedure in 16 of the total states of America. The Beauty Salons state that these treatments are aimed towards calming the nerves and releasing tension via small fish which are trained at peeling the dead skin off the feet.
Additionally, it is also said that the procedure helps with skin diseases such as callus, eczema, and psoriasis. Mona Hamdi a beautician has stated that this new trend has been named scientifically as Garra Rufa is a kind of toothless fish which lives in springs of fresh water and feed on any dead or dying skin cells. The beautician adds that the tank in which the person immerses their feet contains anywhere from 2000 to 5000 fish and the procedure takes anywhere from half to one hour and costs only $ 25 per session.
Even though the trend is relatively new, this technique has been used in Malaysia and Turkey from where it went to America Canada and East Asia. Asmaa Al Saied, a customer who had this procedure done stated that the session is relaxing as you just have to immerse your hands or your feet in the water and the fish does the rest, resulting in the baby soft skin.
Hani Nazer, a dermatologist and the former chairman of the Egyptian National Institute of Research has stated that the fish treatment is extremely serious as it may aid in the transmission of several injections from patients with C Virus or AIDS which is transferred onto otherwise healthy people. This is also since the water is not changed after every session by the Salons.[irp]
An appeal has been made to the officials in the Health Department to put an end to this unhealthy new trend which could cause serious virus outbreaks or severe skin diseases. The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has set up several campaigns for the prevention of this new trend.
Source: Arab News