Most pedicures involve soaking your feet in a tub of warm water. Doctor fish pedicures are no different, except that the tub of water also happens to be filled with starving fish that consume the dead skin off your feet. The idea might be disturbing to many people at first, but others who have tried it swear by it.
So how does it work? Many pedicures involve removing dead skin using razors, but doctor fish provide an alternative. When you stick your feet in a pool of doctor fish, they should immediately begin feeding on your dead skin. They don't have any teeth, so they can't bite off healthy skin. They can only nibble at the dead, flaky skin with their lips. Many people describe the sensation as ticklish, similar to the feeling you get when your foot falls asleep. Usually a 15 to 30 minute soak is enough to leave your skin feeling soft and smooth, but the fish can't get the job done on their own. A regular pedicure follows the fishy footbath [source: CBS News].
There is some concern about whether doctor fish pedicures are sanitary because the process often involves using the same fish for multiple treatments, and most cosmetology rules require equipment to be discarded after each use [source: Odell]. That's what's behind all the cosmetology board bans on the use of doctor fish. In places where they are legal, however, doctor fish treatments continue to thrive, and in some parts of the world they are used for much more than just pedicures.
Keep reading to find out what other benefits doctor fish might be able to provide.