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Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Friday, 25 June 2010 13:16 UK
Nibbling fish provide foot therapy in Derby

Gara Rufa fish take foot therapy to a whole new level

A Derby store has brought an unusual foot therapy to the city which involves fish nibbling at your skin.

The treatment requires you to soak your feet in a warm pool teeming with hungry 'doctor fish'.

The creatures, known as Garra Rufa fish, are natives of Turkey and like to eat away dead and scaly skin.

The therapy is said to be good for exfoliating the skin and to promote circulation - as well as feeding the fish.

Canan Cahit of Appy Feet in Derby told us: "It's a natural pedicure with the fish and basically they just nibble away at the hard skin on your feet.

"It's really good for psoriasis and eczema. It stimulates circulation. They go to the pressure points on your feet and it acts like acupuncture."

However, there is no need to fear being eaten alive - the fish themselves have no teeth and their action is more a firm nibbling and sucking with the gums rather than a sharp bite.

Reactions to the treatment have been mixed with initial descriptions ranging from 'tickly' and 'weird' to 'unusual' and 'relaxing'.

Miss Cahit added: "We have the odd one that screams but mostly it's just the first 20 seconds that tickles and then afterwards it just calms down."

And the store denied there were health risks as a result of this treatment saying that the water is filtered 17 times in an hour and that other infection control measures are in place.

Gara Rufa fish originate from an area of Turkey where the heat of the waters mean few nutrients or plants survive.

This makes the fish naturally hungry and, by a happy coincidence, they are also partial to dead skin.



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