Garra Rufa Fish Suck

We’ve all been subjected to the whistles that make bird sounds, the giant bubble machines, and the man who sings into a traffic cone, but now London tourists are being seduced with a new delight to the senses.

Over the last year or so, fish tanks have been popping up around the capital, hungry for the taste of tired and sweaty feet. Yum.

Above the water, young girls hold hands and giggle, blokes start exhaling and staring into the middle distance like they’re on I’m a Celebrity…, and the rest are just mesmerised by the shoal of fish sucking away at their tootsies.

Below the water, hundreds of tiny (toothless) black fish are nibbling away. Some are gripping to your ankles and half are poking out of the water, some are sliding between your toes and some are fluttering underfoot – this is not an exercise for the ticklish.

Garra rufa, or doctor fish, have been used for years in the Middle East, and with Londoners now jumping at the chance to spend a few minutes with the aquatic creatures, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

To be fair, it is a bit of a laugh. As one family member takes the plunge, everyone else seems to get just as much enjoyment from watching them squirm (the person, not the fish). In fact, whole crowds of passersby stop to watch the weirdness.

Did my feet feel any different afterwards?

No, not really. Although it claims to be beneficial to your skin, it’s not going to slither into my beauty regime any time soon. But my feet did feel mighty clean. Which is odd, because they had just had a bath with a load of yucky little animals.

If you are still uncertain, have a dry run to see how you get on. Put some Müller Light between your toes and invite your cat to lick it off.

It’s a lot like the fish thing – your feet will feel gently exfoliated, although a bit ticklish, and you will feel a bit grubby and wrong.

Do it in your front window, and you may even draw a crowd too.

Give the fish a whirl at:

Aqua Sheko
14 Holland Street
High Street Kensington
W8 4LT

Tel: 020 3489 8336

Zoola Fish
822 The Stables Market
Chalk Farm Road

14 The Pavement
Claphan Common

Tel: 0207 627 1500

Image by DoNotLick, Jennifer Boriss courtesy of Flickr

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