Thursday, January 15, 2009

The FISH PEDICURE comes to Aspen Hill

Would you pay money to have a bunch of fish gnaw away at the dead skin on your feet? I heard there was a place in Alexandria that you could go to for this exciting beauty treatment. And now it's available in northwest Silver Spring, in the Aspen Hill shopping center right next to Panera.

click on the picture to see the fishies nibbling on the footsies

I have to admit I am somewhat intrigued by this method of exfoliation. I've imagined my feet in the water with all the little fish in there nibbling away. I like being nibbled upon and always have. When I was in second grade my class had a pet mouse or hamster, or maybe it was a guinea pig, in a cage. One day I stuck my finger in there and he came over and started ever so gently chewing on my finger. "Oooh, he must really like me!" I thought. It didn't hurt at all - I kind of enjoyed how it felt. I was really feeling the love. This went on for about five minutes when all of a sudden my finger started bleeding a little bit.

I got yelled at by my teacher and by my parents and I had to get a tetanus shot - they decided to take their chances with the rabies apparently, because they told me "If he has rabies you are going to die." And I had this vision of myself loping down the street foaming at the mouth like that dog in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and falling down dead next to the curb. Fortunately the cute little whatever-it-was rodent did not have rabies.

So I'm imagining this fish treatment, which I first heard about from a friend who really wanted to do it, and I was thinking that it might feel kind of good to be chewed on by a whole bunch of little critters instead of just one. I was kind of getting off on the idea. Do I have a "getting nibbled" fetish maybe? I've definitely had some good nibbling experiences. The whole mouse thing was absolutely worth it, in spite of everything.

All of a sudden, just as I was taking this picture, an old hippie-looking dude with long gray hair and an army jacket walked by and "the fish are great but the fumes are unbearable - it smells like a glue factory in there." Was he speaking from experience? Hmmm.....

Okay I definitely do not want to be chewed on by a bunch of fish who may have been chewing on that guy's toes earlier in the day. That's disgusting. That's how diseases are spread. Who would voluntarily engage in such an unsanitary activity - even if they changed the water, it's still gross. Do they rinse off the fish in between treatments? I only want super clean fish chewing on me.

How did they come up with this anyway? Why would the fish want to eat dead skin off of my feet? How do they know which skin is dead? If you keep your feet in there long enough will they chew all the way through to the live skin? Will they keep chewing after you start bleeding? Maybe that's their goal. Why are these fish so desparately hungry that they'll eat dead skin from feet? Do they starve them poor fishes? If they're not hungry do you still have to pay? I don't like the idea that they'd try to get the fishes hungry enough to eat dead human feet skin. That's not very nice at all.

Do you know anyone who has had this foot treatment? I think I've talked myself out of it, mostly because of the germ factor. To me this is one potentially delightful sensation that is definitely not worth experiencing.

On a less disgusting note, tonight's sunset was rather pleasant!
UPDATE: Commenter #13 wrote an absolutely fabulous post last fall about his fish pedicure. Follow this link - it is both insightful and entertaining. Also, it seems that some states are now beginning to ban the fish pedicure, including Texas, Washington state, and New Hampshire.


rachaelgking said...

Oh, thank goodness. I thought you were going to say you actually went through with it.

Although I AM intrigued to hear from someone who does... vomitous!

Connie said...

I thought it was not allowed in the US because, well, how can you clean and sterilize a fish... and it still be a healthy, happy, hungry fish? How dirty do fish get anyway?? I read somewhere it might be allowed if separate tanks were used with clean water for each customer...?? It's popular in Asia - but so are a lot of things... perhaps it would be a good dare.

Anonymous said...

EW! ::shudders::

bozoette said...

I'm actually kinda tempted...but not enough to actually do it.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I've never actually considered this - and you make it sound even less appealing with the idea of an unsavory predecessor... I think I'll continue to pass.

Barbara said...

I'm intrigued enough to want to find out what it's like. It's possible that the fish excretions counteract the bacteria left behind by the last nibbled client.

I could be persuaded if someone else did it too. Am I nuts? Maybe I have a nibble fetish, too!

Cyndy said...

LiLu - vomitous! Yeah!

Connie - I have the same concerns on behalf of the fish, and on behalf of the cleanliness of this procedure. The fish have to stay wet with the water from the previous customer when they switch them to another tank or they would die, right? On the other hand, the really gross stuff that they've eaten is already inside them so maybe it won't get on the next person. I need to stop thinking about this!

Sassy - Agreed, I'm grossing myself out now.

Bozoette - Me too. But I have a friend with a brand new pond that has goldfish in it so maybe I'll go over there one day next summer and see if the fish are biting!

Kate - yeah that guy really made me think twice about it.

Barbara - Fish Excretions??? Wait, I temporarily forgot that urine is actually sterile. Maybe fish shit is too. I really want to feel that nibbling sensation, but I'm pretty sure I'm not to be able to bring myself to experience it. But I hope you'll do it so that you can tell me what it's like. That would be awesome!

Kristin said...

The whole thing skeeves me out. Is that fish-ist of me?

Cyndy said...

Kristin - Well if you had dead skin on your feet and they were hungry and you denied them a potential meal, I would say that's just a little bit sel-fish, and not like you at all! Ouch, that was bad...sorry!

LP said...

I wanna go! From years of walking around barefoot outdoors whenever possible my feet are pretty tough. I think it would take a fish a really long time to work its way through to any layer where germs could be transmitted to my bloodstream.


Laura Walker said...

Hi Cyndy, it's Laura! It's so funny you just blogged about this, because I did this yesterday!! I went to the Korean sauna with my boss and coworker Sarah and we really wanted to try it out, so we went for it.
Here's how it was set up: There was a big pool with all the fish swimming around and you just sit on the edge and dunk your feet in (there are no individual pools). As soon as you put any part of your body in there, they start nibbling! At first, I didn't know if I could leave my feet in there; it was so weird. It was kind of freaking me out, but I left them in there. Soon, I had about 30 fish nibbling each foot. They don't seem to just eat the dead skin, though. They were nibbling my leg, too. It was a very interesting experience, and my feet did feel a little softer after about 20 minutes. I'm not sure I would do it again, but it's definitely a good story :) I think you should go for it!

Cyndy said...

Tom - It will be interesting to see whether curiousity wins out over germphobedness. I'd have to go someplace besides Aspen Hill in case that grungy dude is a regular customer.

Laura - Hi! What a funny coincidence that you just got the fish treatment, in Korea no less! Well maybe I'll go for it, but not anytime soon. Thanks for the inside information!

Unknown said...

Didn't freak me out!

Cyndy said...

Darren - your orange toenail polish kind of freaked me out though. Your fish pedicure post is awesome! It sounds like those fish tanks may very well be a whole lot cleaner than some of the lakes and streams I've dipped my toes into. I'm glad they take some sanitary precautions.