The awareness in regards to the importance of organics has become more profound in the society today. Everything from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, and to just about every product we see, hear about, and use in our daily lives more than likely has some sort of organic component or option associated with its use.

Medicinal applications are gaining in popularity. Spa treatments are also integrating organics into their practices in some select locations all across the world.

One such organic spa foot care treatment method, though somewhat uncommon and largely unknown, is the fish pedicure.


The process is very simple. The spa client simply immerses their feet in a tub of warm water. Small Garra Rufa fish, a toothless variety of carp, swim on over to the feet, eating the dead skin away. Typically, 100-150 fish are used per treatment.

Proponents of the fish pedicure have enjoyed the softening effect the fish have on their skin. People with psoriasis and eczema have touted its therapeutic benefits.

Origins of using the Garra Rufa fish for therapeutic treatments date back to Turkey over 400 years ago. Word of their popularity spread, and soon Asian countries began opening salons and spas, exporting the fish to Europe. Fish pedicures became a popular treatment throughout the continent, with American interest following suit soon afterwards.

The treatment typically lasts between 15-30 minutes; times varying with what other treatments the client has performed during their spa visit.

The procedure is not without controversy, however. Due to hygiene reasons, the fish pedicure is banned in some places in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has great concerns about the procedure, and advises caution. They maintain that the tub used cannot be completely sanitized when the fish are present. And as spas simply cannot use new fish for each customer, the fish are used repeatedly without disinfection between customers.

Another concern about this procedure is that the Garra Rufa is not a native species of fish. If they are released out in the wild, they could become a major threat to plant and animal life. Great Lakes states are currently spending millions of dollars fighting an invasive species of Asian carp. The release and subsequent breeding of this species out in the wild would further exacerbate the problem.


Whether the concerns are valid or not, for those who love this type of organic foot spa, what matters most is the fact that it is effective and they get to have great looking feet to wear with their favourite shoes.