One of the fashionable ways to have pretty feet in Bangkok, Thailand is to get a fish pedicure. First started in Japan a few years ago, fish pedicures are now the latest thing in Bangkok. With fish pedicure spas opening up all over the city, what is a fish pedicure, how much will it cost you and where can you go in Bangkok to get one?
What Is a Fish Pedicure? – A fish pedicure is a spa treatment in which a customer immerses their feet in a tank of warm water filled with garra rufa fish. Garra rufa fish swim around the feet and eat the dead skin off the feet, leaving your feet soft and callous free.
Are Fish Pedicures Legal? – Apparently, in the rule-obsessed United States, 14 states have now banned the use of fish for fish pedicures saying it cannot be proven that it’s sanitary. Fish pedicures are perfectly legal all over Asia and some parts of Europe and, as it was invented by the Japanese, who are just about the cleanest people in the world, I’ll side with the Japanese health authorities before I’ll side with the American ones. In Thailand, getting a fish pedicure is completely legal, with salons and spas popping up all over Bangkok.
How Long Is a Fish Pedicure in Bangkok? – Most Bangkok fish pedicure salons have two options – 15 minutes or 30 minutes. I’ve had several fish pedicures and, while I thought the 15 minute pedicure was effective, I would recommend paying the small extra charge for another 15 minutes. It makes a big difference.
How Much Is a Fish Pedicure in Bangkok? – Most fish pedicure salons and spas in Bangkok charge between 125 and 150 baht ($3.75-$4.75) for 15 minutes and 200-250 baht ($6-$7.50) for 30 minutes. With charges in the US spas that can still legally do fish pedicures running between $30-$40 an hour, as you can see, Bangkok spas are far far cheaper.
Are Fish Pedicures Sanitary in Bangkok? – All of the spas I have used for fish pedicures are very sanitary. Each customer is given a clean foot towel on arrival at the spa. You are then asked to sit on a stool in a small shower area where the spa employee washes your feet with a disinfectant soap and warm water. After drying off your feet, you are shown to a tank where you sit on the side on a cushion and slowly immerse your feet in the warm water.
What Does a Fish Pedicure Feel Like? – At first, a fish pedicure feels a little uncomfortable. It tickles when the fish start to nibble on your feet and it’s a little disconcerting. Within a few minutes though, you honestly get used to the feeling, then can settle back and enjoy it. You’ll notice, as the fish nibble away more of the dead skin, less of them will stay around your feet. Why? Simple. Because they only eat dead skin, there’s not much left to eat after a while.
What Should You Do After a Fish Pedicure? – At fish pedicure spas in Bangkok, the spa employees recommend getting a fish pedicure once to twice a month and, in between pedicures, using a moisturizing lotion on your feet nightly.
Do Fish Pedicures Work? – Yes, they do. The Japanese rave about them and now so do the Thais. I see an enormous difference in my feet when I get a fish pedicure in Bangkok. My feet are soft, with no callouses. All the dry skin on the ball and heels of my feet completely disappears, as does the dry skin around my nails and on my little toes. I’ve tried everything before to have nice soft feet. Who knew that 15 minutes in a tank with a few fish nibbling at your heels would make such an enormous difference.
Are Fish Pedicures Healthy? – Remember, you’re in Asia, where US rules don’t apply (thank God!) And yes, fish pedicures are very healthy. Studies show they promote fresh skin growth, they get rid of dead cells making your feet smell a lot fresher, and they make your feet look younger. The fish seem to enjoy them too!
Where Can You Get a Fish Pedicure in Bangkok? – Honestly, fish pedicure spas are all over Bangkok. Many of the shopping malls now have them, as does Chatuchak Market and various other markets.
So, if your state is one of the 14 US states that has banned fish pedicures and you’re not going to Japan any time soon, why not get a fish pedicure in Thailand? Perfectly legal, inexpensive and fun.
Photo – copyright Tracy Hunter, Creative Commons