Sep 07

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A Survey of the World – Fish Pedicures

A Continuation of our Survey of the World – Natural World

In our last survey, we explored the efforts to translate the Bible into northwest African dialects.  Let us now travel northeast of Africa, to the country of Turkey, to explore a ritual that disgusts some and seems to help others.

The “reddish log sucker”, Garra rufa, is a small fish native to Turkey and other portions of the Middle East.  It is also called the “doctor fish” for a peculiar reason.  The fish is used in Turkish spas as a way of easing certain skin disorders.  Customers stick their feet or legs in a fish tank and “relax” as swarms of doctor fish nibble at dead skin around affected areas.  There is no pain, only a slight tickling sensation as the fish “feed”.  Supposedly, the fish are quite effective at temporarily alleviating symptoms of psoriasis and eczema.  In the wild, the fish feed mainly on algae, only resorting to feeding on dead skin and the like when their main food source is not plentiful.

From Turkey, “fish pedicures” became popular in Japan, Europe, China, the Phillipines, and the United States several years ago.  However, the practice has since been outlawed in many states, because it is deemed by American health officials to be unsanitary.  While the nibbling of the fish itself is not unsanitary, dirty water that is not cleaned frequently could promote the spread of diseases through open sores on the legs and feet.


Disgusting?  Cool?  Heck, I’ll try anything once.  Just wish they could train a fish to give really good back scratches.




Next up:  Turkish Delight!!







Permanent link to this article: http://conversaving.com/2012/09/07/a-survey-of-the-world-fish-pedicures/

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