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Last Updated: Tuesday April 18 2006 13:45 GMT

Fishy treatment for clearer skin

Garra Rufa fish
If you're thinking of having a bit of pampering, how does having your toes nibbled by peckish fish sound?

Not keen? Well, it's catching on in a big way in Japan, where people are flocking to have dead skin eaten off their feet by tiny Garra Rufa fish.

The toothless little fish, originally from Turkey, can only nibble at dead skin and flesh.

"It doesn't hurt at all. Just kind of itches," 23 year old Yuka Nogami told reporters at Hakone resort.

The fish evolved in very hot springs where very few plankton or other animals live.

That means they had to take what they could get - often the dead skin cells of passing animals.

And, even more grossly, the so-called doctor fish start eating each other when times get really tough.

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