Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Austin Bans Fish Pedicures

October 10, 2008 01:31 PM
by Isabel Cowles
Authorities in Austin, Texas have banned fish pedicures, citing safety concerns.

Fish pedicures deemed unsanitary after all

Authorities in Austin, Texas have banned the use of carp fish pedicures, which became popular this summer.

The unique spa treatment involves dunking feet into a tub of water filled with a school of about 100 fish that eat away skin flakes. Because they have no teeth, the fish are unable to bite live skin.

Susan Stanford, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation explained that the agency was concerned about potential infection risks from fish nibbling on multiple customers’ feet. In addition, Stanford noted, foot baths and holding tanks can't be sufficiently disinfected, because the procedure might kill the fish.

No consumers have reported getting sick from shared schools of aquatic pedicurists. Still, Stanford said, "It is in the realm of possibilities. We are erring on the side of safety."

The Virginia salon Yvonne Hair and Nails, began offering the option about seven months ago. Owner John Ho discovered the carp when searching for an alternative to the use of foot-filing razors, which have raised sanitary concerns with health officials. “‘I know people were a little intimidated at first,’ he said. ‘But I just said, “Let’s give it a shot.”’ Customers were quickly hooked,” the Associated Press reported.

Although Ho claims to be the first American salon owner to use carp, the practice has been spreading through spas and salons in Asia. “The fish, as many spa goers say ‘kiss the skin,’ ridding it of all affected and dead skin areas, leaving the healthy skin untouched to continue to grow and repair,” Health Spa Guru explains.

Video: Doctor fish pedicure

Related Topic: Other unique spa treatments


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