Experiencing A Fish Pedicure In Prague, Czech Republic

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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.

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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!

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Annemarie is a Mom whose daughter (Robyn) has left the nest and now she is traveling the world experiencing everything the world has to offer. You can find her sipping martinis in some of the most exotics locations in the world, having a beer at her local pub or canoeing on a beautiful lake in the Adirondacks.

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11 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Chris June 19, 2013 at 11:28 pm - Reply

    I almost had an anxiety attack for you in reading this post. I can’t believe you went through with it. How come your husband was having a massage and didn’t treat his little tootsies to a fish pedicure? Are you braver than he is? Personally I would have also had “Jaws” thoughts and run like hell.

  2. Annemarie June 20, 2013 at 12:05 am - Reply

    LOL yep it was crazy and ya I was scared as hell…. but really no guts, not glory right???

  3. Cathy June 20, 2013 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Great story!! I would love to try that, but I don’t know if I would have the nerve.

  4. Allie June 20, 2013 at 4:16 am - Reply

    I don’t know if I could sit there long enough to get it done!

  5. Dawn June 20, 2013 at 6:16 am - Reply

    This creeps me out, but I would force myself to try it!

  6. Pamela June 20, 2013 at 7:52 am - Reply

    I’m actually in Prague right now. However, I will not be doing this – fish freak me out and the fact that they’re eating you is tooo weird.

  7. Ali August 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    This type of pedicure freaks me out. For some reason, I just don’t think it’s sanitary.

  8. Anna B May 28, 2014 at 8:25 am - Reply

    I wish they had these in New York. I’m jealous.

  9. Anna B May 28, 2014 at 8:27 am - Reply

    BTW I just read your “author box” & I think what you’re doing is pretty cool. I’ll bet your daughter is really proud of you.

    • Annemarie LeBlanc May 28, 2014 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anna!

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