Last weekend I was treated to a spa break in the gorgeous Warwick countryside. The hotel was beautiful complete with a heated outdoor pool and numerous Jacuzzis.
A Garra Rufa fish pedicure was listed as one of the treatments I would receive during my stay. My initial impressions of a fish pedicure is that it is little more than a gimmick. I have watched as tourists line up in the middle of Oxford Street Selfridges, with their jeans rolled up to their knees, on a manic Saturday afternoon, to stick their feet in the fish bath for five minutes. They laugh, take some photos, dry their feet and then move on. This doesn't strike me as the most luxurious or beneficial beauty experience. When I told a friend that one of my spa treatments would be a fish pedicure she exclaimed that "fungal diseases are common as the water is not cleaned properly". Great, thanks for that.
Luckily, my experience did not match any of the negative preconceptions.
Upon arrival at the spa I was handed a fluffy white robe instantly setting a luxurious and relaxed tone. I completed a form giving a breakdown of my foot health history, detailing the last time I had fake tanned my feet as tanning agents are harmful to the Garra Rufa fish. My feet were soaked and cleaned by the therapist before I was allowed to gently lower them into the bath of expectant fishes. I imagined the fish would tickle my toes but instead it felt like lots of tiny needles frantically probing away. After five minutes I started to relax and really found the needle-like-nibbles strangely satisfying.
Fifteen minutes later my experience was over. The beauty therapist dried and moisturised my feet and I examined the results - they felt much smoother and were noticeably less dry. One week on and I am definitely fungal free and very much craving another fish pedicure after a sunny weekend hiking for miles around London. Perhaps I should brave the crowds and join the queue in Selfridges...!