Thursday, 30 May 2013

Legit or fad: Doctor Fish foot treatment

I have just returned from my epic trip to Japan and Thailand. I will post more on the trip later (plus I have a couple of giveaways up my sleeves!). I must say that I am really struggling with this Sydney weather. It was 39 degrees when I left Bangkok and now it's raining and 15 in Sydney.

Anyway, I am going to introduce a new segment to the blog - Legit or Fad - where I take beauty treatments or products for a test drive to determine whether they are a legitimate product/service that works or just a gimmicky fad.

I will start off with Doctor Fish - the spa treatment that you see all over the place in Thailand and other Asian countries.

Doctor Fish promises to remove dead skin on the feet and leg and is used to treat skin disorders such as psoriasis. 

What they say (from the Dr Fish Thailand website):
  • Removes excess dead surface cells, calluses and bacteria
  • Cleans and clears pores
  • Protects and rejuvenates skin cells
  • Eases, prevents and heals the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis
  • Promotes blood circulation
  • Stimulates acupuncture points and modulates the nervous system to relax the body and release fatigue
  • Natural exfoliation for a smooth and healthy skin


I don't have any skin diseases on my feet but they are covered with layers of dead skin so I thought this might be a good opportunity to get rid of it.

How it works: I was in Koh Samui, Thailand and there are Dr Fish Spas everywhere. You wouldn't have to walk more than 100m to find one. You choose how long you would like your treatment to go for - 20, 30 or 60 minutes. I chose 20 minutes for 200 Baht (about $AU6). You then place your feet in a tank that has been filled with Garra Rufa fish. Apparently, these fish don't have teeth but use enzymes to dissolve the dead skin and treat any eczema or psoriasis. If you are feeling particularly brave there are also full body tanks that you can submerge yourself in. I didn't go there - was too scared where the fish might end up!

The second you put your feet in the tank, thousands of hungry fish make a beeline for your feet. Initially, it is unbearably ticklish. I was screaming out hysterically. The tickles subsided but I still felt really squirmy in my stomach. Finally, I got used to the sensation of a thousand fish sucking on my feet but it took a good 10 minutes to reach that stage. Then I pretty much just clock watched until my time was up. I have to admit that I did get a little bit bored just sitting there. Thankfully, my mother in law came along to keep my company (and to take some photos). I'd suggest either going with a friend or taking a book (or iPhone!) along.

After the treatment my legs felt all tingly. It was actually quite a nice sensation that lasted for about 30 minutes - it felt a bit like gentle pins and needles. But, other than the nice tingly sensation there was no difference to the amount of dead skin on my feet. I really don't think that the fish did anything at all.

Perhaps one might obtain positive results if they had a skin disease like psoriasis or eczema when they tried the Dr Fish treatment but I have my doubts. My verdict is that this treatment is a fad - nothing more than a quirky experience to do when on holidays.







Have you had a Dr fish spa treatment before? 

Are there any other spa treatments out there that you have wondered whether they are legit or just a fad?