This article was first published on InsideIreland.ie in July 2011.
After the coldest winter on record for 47 years, it seems a majority of us are now breaking out our summer gear the second the sun is shining.
However, after weeks being huddled under layers and layers of clothes, we might not be as ready for the sunshine as we first hoped.
One area which causes great concern, especially for the ladies after a long winter wearing socks, tights and boots, is the feet. Yet thanks to a new beauty therapy concept, unsightly ‘winter’ feet, are a thing of the past.
Aqua Foot Spa is a fish therapy concept spa, which offers an organic pedicure experience using Garra Rufa fish. The small fish, often referred to as ‘Doctor Fish’, nibble on the dead or damaged areas of the skin surface to leave feet feeling softer and smoother.
Whilst the thought of skin-eating fish is peculiar to some, thousands of people have already experienced the new treatment, saying it is a must-do activity.
Michael, who is the manager of the Aqua Foot Spa branch in Lisburn, says he already has a series of regular customers using the treatment.
“We have a young guy who comes in. He’s 20 years old, but since we’ve opened just a few weeks ago, he has been in 19 times already. He loves it and says it’s really relaxing. A lot of people who play sports would come and use the fish pedicures too.”
Michael added that a number of women are also recurring customers to the spa, especially after a long day of hitting the shops.
However, it is not just the uniqueness of this new therapy concept which is capturing people’s attention, but also the health benefits it boasts. As it is a totally organic experience, no chemicals are used in the treatment – just the small fish themselves – which feed on the damaged areas of the skin. Aside from leaving your feet softer and smoother, they feel rejuvenated and look much nicer.
The treatment has also been reported to help those who suffer from aching and problem feet, to those who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Another thing to mention is, despite the fact that the fish ‘eat’ the damaged skin, it doesn’t hurt one bit. Trust us, here at InsideIreland.ie we experienced the Aqua Foot Spa for ourselves, and it was certainly an experience!
The Garra Rufa fish actually have no teeth, so they ‘gently lick and suck away’ the dead skin. The result is a slightly ticklish pedicure at the beginning, which then shifts to turn into a highly relaxing and pleasurable experience.
There are also no risks with the pedicure, as you have your own Foot Spa station. Each station has its own water filter system which sterilises and filters the water within minutes of it being used, ensuring that no ‘water sharing’ with anyone else takes place.
There is also a fantastic social element to the treatment because as there are others having the pedicures at the same time at different stations, you bond with each other and chat away freely; usually over what they think of the treatment.
And if you’re not having a conversation with the person beside or opposite you, you can be guaranteed that an intrigued individual will pop their head around the corner and ask what the treatment is like, as they too, think about giving it a go.