Health experts today issued new warnings about the risks involved with fish pedicures.
Garra Rufa fish have become an attraction at a number of salons throughout the country, where they are used to nibble at the dead skin on people’s feet, leaving behind a smooth surface. Concerns have been voiced by the Health Protection Agency about the risk of infection, particularly to those with diabetes or weak immune systems.
Now a new threat has come to light. Unscrupulous breeders eager to enhance the performance of the tiny fish have been crossing them with the red-bellied piranha. The new Garranha fish have been turning up in the tanks of unsuspecting salons up and down the UK. “I placed my usual order last week,” said Colette Richards, owner of The Pedi Spa in Milton Keynes. “The first I knew of a problem was yesterday morning when a client started screaming. We get a lot of clients with extremely ticklish feet, so at first we took no notice, but it soon became evident that something was wrong when we noticed that the water had turned red.”
Similar reports have been coming in from other areas. New guidelines have now been issued to establishments using the fish to ensure that staff check their clients’ feet very closely for any sort of open wound, which would drive the fish into a feeding frenzy, and to make sure that the fish are properly fed in advance of treatment sessions.
Not all customers, however, are troubled by this new development. “I had a Garranha pedicure the other day,” said Mrs Edna Carter from Halifax. “The whole procedure only took three minutes. It worked a treat and got rid of that nasty deep corn that’s been troubling me for years. The staff were so nice, bringing me lots of hot sweet tea and plasters. And I’m sure the bite marks will heal soon.”
Anyone worried about fish pedicures is advised to buy a pumice stone.