Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

'Doctor fish' clear skin disease

Samantha Grayston being nibbled by flesh-eating fish
Ms Grayston spent several hours a day in a pool with the "doctor fish"

A woman with the skin condition psoriasis has travelled to Turkey to sit in water and be nibbled by flesh-eating fish in a bid to find a cure.

Samantha Grayston, 38, from Kent, said she returned from her three-week trip to find the "doctor fish" treatment had worked and boosted her confidence.

She spent six hours a day at the spa near Kangal in eastern Turkey.

Psoriasis occurs when cells replace themselves too quickly, often causing

emotional as well as physical distress.

Ms Grayston said: "People do tend to stare at you. It's because they just don't know what it is. It makes you rather insecure - it upsets me."

But then she travelled abroad for her treatment, which she said felt like "fingers tapping on your body".

The fish work by chewing away the excess cells caused by psoriasis, allowing the mineral water to reach the skin.

The spa water is rich in selenium - a mineral with skin-healing properties.

Afterwards, Ms Grayston said: "My skin is looking absolutely brilliant for the first time ever all over my body.

Ms Grayston's skin before (left) and after (right) her treatment
Ms Grayston said she no longer worries about how people will react

"My skin is smooth. You can still see that I have psoriasis - but it's pink rather than red."

She added that she could now go out without worrying about what people would see and how they would react.

"I don't need to worry because I know they can't see it," she said.

Her fiance Graham Smith said: "When she walks out with her shopping, her shoulders are back and her head is up.

"She's not conscious of anyone looking at her or checking out the redness of the skin.

"She's actually got a suntan for the first time and she smiles all the time now."

Ms Grayston, who paid 2,500 for the treatment, said she expected its skin-clearing effects to last 18 months.

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