Doctor Fish

After walking around the streets of Seoul for hours, my tired feet came across a sign for SPA, and had to stop. While South Korea is well known for its day spas (known as Jjimjilbang), another fun treatment to try is by Doctor Fish. My friend explained that hundreds of little fishes nibble on the dead skin off your feet. The result is you have a gentle foot massage.

The treatment is offered at a spa that has massages, nail treatments and more. For roughly $9 per person, you can soak your feet in a small aquarium filled with Doctor Fish. The fishes variety were Garra rufa, that are actually known to eat dead skin and often used in spas.

At first, when I put my feet into the cold water, it felt rather odd. The tiny fishes made their way towards my feet and started biting. It certainly wasn’t painful, ticklish at best. I could feel the larger fishes a bit more. Normally, when people try this for the first time, some laugh, others are afraid. I  got use to the whole idea in about 5 minutes.

The effectiveness of Doctor Fish is questionable. I have read that the fish in aquariums do not have the same effect as the ones in pools and hot springs. Some states in US have made it illegal to provide doctor fish pedicure service, but it is still offered in many countries including Japan, Croatia,  China, Belgium, the Netherlands, South Korea, Singapore, Bosnia, Hungary, Slovakia, India, Pakistan Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Czech Republic,  Romania, Spain, France and Norway.

My feet looked much cleaner, softer and relaxed, so all I have to say is try it once for yourself!


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Sucheta Rawal

Sucheta is an award winning food and travel writer, who has traveled to 80+ countries across 6 continents. She is also the founder and editor of 'Go Eat Give' and author of 'Beato Goes To' series of children's books on travel.