Something fishy

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Unless you've been living under a rock in the ocean (no offense to fish or anything), you've probably heard the buzz about the new beauty treatment where tiny fish suck dry, dead skin off your feet to reveal softer, smoother skin.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, vanity makes us do some crazy things. Interestingly enough, though, it actually works.

The Maison De Leumas day spa and cosmetic surgery center debuted the fish pedicure at the beginning of August, and it's the first spa to bring the trendy treatment to the Midwest.

The pedicure incorporates "doctor fish," otherwise known as garra rufa or carp, a toothless, river-dwelling fish found in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia.

So, why would these guys want to suck on your toes?

"They go after the dead skin cells on your feet because it's high in carotene," explained spa director Cheryl Garver. Skin has a low nutritional content, so the fish can eat this stuff all day long.

For the half-hour treatment ($45), you dip your feet into a warm tub of water and let several dozen fish nibble and suck away all your tough, calloused skin.

While this may sound a bit like a Fear Factor segment, it's actually quite relaxing - once the initial shock of being swarmed by dozens of fish wears off.

"We've only had two to three people completely freak out," Garver said. "You may have that reaction at first, but you just have to relax and let the fish do their work."

If you're the ticklish type, be warned: It could be a bit of a giggle-fest while you get used to having every crevice of your foot sucked on. But the end result is smooth, happy, fish-kissed feet.