DAY 261: Wearing fish socks

19 May

THE old codger in vest and shorts has to be practically hoiked out of the water by the spa orderlies, so keen is he to get his feet nibbled free of every callous by carnivorous fish.

When it’s my turn, my tootsies are given a cursory wipe-down in a pan of water and then I swivel around on the bench to lower them into the trough. (I say trough, but it’s a fairly fancy trough in a spa primping ‘My Heart Will Go On’ on panpipes.)

The moment my feet make impact with water, hundreds of tiny carp are onto me like seagulls on a chip. I can feel each individual one chomping frantically, but overall the sensation is like being tickled with eels. Some of the sardine-sized tiddlers worm their way between my toes – taking liberties, it feels like – while others work their way up my legs.

I’ve been wanting to try a ‘fish pedicure’ for ages, but they haven’t really done the rounds in Australia, and they’re fast getting banned across the US. These epidermis munchers are supposed to leave you with glossy soft skin, rather than grizzled heels, plus I’m hoping they’ll nosh off the peculiar itchy rash that I’ve been cursed with these last few weeks.

Health officials in the US point out that cosmetology tools need to be discarded or sanitised after each use – particularly cosmetology tools that eat your flesh and then someone else’s – and that it’s impractical to chuck out fish or bake them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. This has led spas to protest that they use individual tanks, regularly clean out water, and install UV light sterilisation. Although, not the spas over here in Kuala Lumpur, which have a more communal, convivial vibe.

Back in my hotel room my feet are prickling. Hopefully they’re just prickling with fear.

Keeper? Probably not one of my greatest ideas.

One Response to “DAY 261: Wearing fish socks”


  1. Hey Man, the highlight reel « Hey man, now you're really living - November 24, 2012

    […] Fish pedicure […]

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