Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

The fish pedi

with one comment

So, I’ve read about the pedicure where you let tiny fish nibble the dead skin off your feet but I’ve never got around to trying it. 

I always told myself that was because the closest spa that offered it in Dubai was just too much of a drag to get to, but perhaps it was actually because I was a little dubious about it. 

Apologies for the unphotogenic feet... not my strong point. Photo credit: DD.

See the little blighters tucking into my toes. How do you direct a fish to “focus on the heels”? Photo credit: DD.

I’ve read that the treatment can spread all sorts of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV, and then there’s the worry about the everyday hygiene of plonking my feet into a tank that’s recently had someone else’s skanky toes in it.

Still, it was a hot day at the top of a dusty mountain in Santorini – just a tick too early for beer o’clock – when I saw a spa offering 10-minute treatments.

“What the heck?” I thought, throwing flip-flops to the wind and booking myself in on the spot. I’m pleased to say the manager washed my feet with antibacterial soap before she let me anywhere near her 10 tanks of doctor fish.

“Give me the hungriest ones,” I joked, thinking about the masses of rough, dry skin that’s built up on my heels thanks to a life led in flip-flops.

“Okay,” she said. I don’t know if she said anything else after that because I was too busy screaming. While I was expecting anything from tickling to electric shocks, nothing prepared me for the urgency with which the cloud of fish attached their mouths to my feet – like iron filings to a magnet. For the first minute, it was all I could do to sit still, while a big-eyed DD looked on, hand clamped over mouth in horror.

I couldn’t say it hurt – tickle would be more accurate, but not in a particularly pleasant way, and, after a minute or two, I settled down. Occasionally a ferocious fish nipped a bit too close to the bone (hopefully only in a literal sense), which wasn’t nice.

But the fish didn’t eat the dead skin off my heels – instead, they focused almost entirely on the tender skin between my toes. There is no dead skin there, and the feeling, as the little bodies wedged themselves, wriggling frantically, in that sensitive nook between my toes, verged on the unpleasant.

I suppose what you all want to know is: did it work? Were my feet baby-soft and smooth afterwards? Absolutely not. I couldn’t feel any difference at all. But it did pass the time till beer o’clock.

Edited to add: I’ve since invested in a “Ped Egg” and a tube of Compeed . Together, they’ve worked miracles on my cracked heels.

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Written by mrsdubai

August 19, 2013 at 8:32 pm

One Response

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  1. Bravo for trying! Personally I now feel ill….I can hardly sit still for a pedi…..goodness knows how I would react to ‘tickling’ fish…..

    Dubai Mum

    August 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm


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