We've had the live snake exfoliation treatment
, now tout la America
is apparently poised to put a toe in the water, shared by shoals of tiny skin nibbling fish.
Immersing feet - and even the whole body - into a tank full of garra rufa is all the rage in Turkey and China, where it is used to treat skin disorders such as psoriasis. The fish pedicure has now arrived in the US and salon owner, John Ho, points out that the toothless garra rufa, which feed only on dead cells, are a "bladeless and environmentally friendly" alternative to sloughing hardened skin.
If the idea of feeling like a contestant in a televised Japanese endurance competition doesn't put you off, spare a thought for the poor garra rufa. They probably don't find it especially "environmentally friendly" to share their pool with the smelly feet of a stranger.
Garra rufa spawn in river basins in Syria and Turkey, where they are protected for fear of over-fishing for export (presumably to Chinese - and now American - spas). They can be aquarium raised. However, it turns out that acquarium specimens are not well-suited to skin-eating. Unless, that is, they are kept on a near starvation diet and then it seems that the dead skin cells of homo sapiens begin to be quite attractive.