In May 2013 we traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic. While we walking near our hotel on Celetná Street we saw a Thai massage parlor (this place is part of chain throughout Prague that ONLY does legitimate massage), in the window there was a women sitting and she had fish around her feet. My initial reaction was, gross…. My husband decided that he wanted a massage and he stepped into the shop as I followed. The women at the desk asked if I wanted a fish pedicure and I told her in no uncertain terms, NO!
My husband told told me it would be a great experience and I would love it. I am always game to try something new and he finally convinced me to try it – with much encouragement from the happy cheerful staff. The cost of the pedicure was 460 Czech crowns or aproximately $25 for 20 minutes. As my husband was led away for his massage I was taken in the back of the shop to cleanse my feet. The girl explained to me that I had to clean my feet very carefully to avoid infection. As I was washing my feet she asked me how fresh my nail polish I have on my toes was. She explained to me that the fish did not like fresh nail polish.
I was horrified, my first though was, “What will the fish do if they are mad?” I told her the polish was 2 weeks old – good news the fish are okay with old nail polish!
She noticed a small cut on my foot and told me the fish do not like cuts – so we had to cover my cut with a band-aid. Of course they like cuts – I think the attendant feared I would get eaten alive! At this point I was terrified and rethinking my decision. But in for a penny in for a pound.
The girl told me the fish would suck and gently nibble away at dry and dead skin on my feet. The fish they use are called Garra rufa. Suck and nibble –oh yes – like tiny polar bears they suck and nibble – a couple of big grown men who were enjoying their fish pedicure in the back of the shop were screaming out loud and saying they couldn’t take it anymore!
With my feet cleaned and my foot band-aided I headed towards the tanks, with thoughts of Jaws in my head. To my dismay the girl told me that they wanted me to sit in the window rather than the tanks in the back of the shop.
So I followed her to the window and climbed the stair to the tank in the window. She then gave me instructions on how to put my feet in the water. Apparently, the fish do not like it if you put your feet in fast. I was 2 seconds from an anxiety attack and really did not know if I could do it. I took a deep breath and put my left foot in the water, all of a sudden a swarm of fish started nibbling on my foot, in fear I snatched my foot out right away. Now I cannot say it hurt but it tickled and felt really weird. I finally put my foot back in and then went for the second foot, but the girl was not pleased she told me I had to put my feet lower. I finally agreed, but when she insisted I put my feet in as far as my knees – that was not happening.
As I sat in the window a crowd gathered and people kept taking my picture. The pedicure was supposed to last 20 minutes but after 45 minutes I was still there, I guess I was good for business
So would I do it again? Probably not! Did the Garra rufa do a good job, absolutely!
[CLICK ON THE IMAGES BELOW TO MAKE LARGER]