Why you should be worried about visiting fish spas

In the last few years fish therapy has been a fashion boom all over the world. It is commonly believed that getting your feet washed away by fish could cure your dead skin. That is not exactly true...

Resting your feet in water containers filled with fish (ichthyotherapy, commonly known as fish therapy) may sound like fun, but it could be very dangerous for your health. In fact, people with diabetes, psoriasis, or a weak immune system are particularly vulnerable and should not participate in this practice.

Some experts say the risk of infection for users of the treatment, in which dozens of tiny fish nibble at the dead skin on clients' feet, is extremely low but could not be completely excluded. This happens because the water in the fish tank contains microorganisms and bacteria problems could arise from the tank, the spa water, or from one client to another if the water is not changed. If a user is infected with a blood-borne virus such as HIV or hepatitis and bleeds in the water, there is a risk that the diseases could be transmitted.

Putting your feet in a tank where another client was before may become a risk.

However, when correct hygiene procedures are followed, the risk of infection is very low. When following this therapy it is highly recommended that the spa water be changed after each customer. The equipment cannot be conventionally sterilized because the process could harm fish, of which there are approximately 200 in each tank.

These "fish spas", which have long been popular in Asia, have been banned in some US states, including Florida, Texas, New Hampshire, and Washington, due to fears that infections will spread through wounds. Although the risk of contracting infections is minimal, people need to be careful where they decide to go.

Tina Reese

Tina is an award-winning columnist and beauty editor. Passionate about all aspects of makeup and skincare, she spends her days trying out new launches and researching the ever-changing world of beauty trends. Follow Tina’s articles and you’ll always stay updated on who’s who and what’s what of the beauty industry.+ info

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