On Saturday I treated myself to a Garra Rufa Fish Pedicure at the new Dr SpaFish at the Mall, Bristol (or the Galleries as it used to be called). At £10 for 15 minutes, and with a walk-in, no appointment system, it's tempting Christmas shoppers in Bristol at the moment.
I rocked up at the shop on Saturday afternoon at about quarter to four. The shop was manic, with customers waiting and loads of shoppers just passing by and looking in. With a very open shopfront, and the fish tanks separated from the shop by just a low barrier, anyone passing could just pop in and have a look at the fish and gawp at those people having a pedicure. The front of house staff seemed very flustered, as if they weren't expecting so many people there, and having difficulty controlling the random public who were just wandering in around the waiting area. However, the staff were very sweet, and I think that their fluster was mainly due to the bad design of the shop, and the random people who were milling around, rather than the fault of the staff.
They only have 8 fish tanks, arranged in 2 groups of 4, so you have to wait until one is free. I had to wait about half an hour, which wasn't too bad. As I was on my own, they managed to squeeze me in more quickly than the larger groups and families who were there. Once I'd been led behind the barrier, it was considerably less manic and chaotic than at the front of the shop. I was asked to remove my shoes and socks, roll up my jeans and given a bowl to soak my feet in for two minutes. I was then led to the tank, where a friendly attendant told me to put my feet together and slowly lower them into the tank.
The fish immediately swam up and attached themselves to my feet. There were a lot of them, and it was at first a tickling feeling. It wasn't unpleasant though, just very odd! For some reason, my right foot was more popular than my left, and my right ankle in particular. Some of fish started eating my cuticles and others were eating my toes! Bizarrely, they ignored the areas of my worst hard skin on the soles of my feet - I'd have thought that would be their favourite, but maybe they weren't that hungry!
Two ladies next to me couldn't stop giggling, but I got used to the tickling quite quickly. I think I could have done with a half and hour session, rather than 15 minutes, as I was quite enjoying it! It was actually very relaxing, and the fish were fascinating. Anyway, all too soon, it came to an end, and I had to take my feet out of the tank, dry them off, and get them sprayed with disinfectant.
So what was the end result? Were my feet silky smooth with no hard skin? Well no, there is a difference with some softer areas, and my cuticles are tidier, but there is still far too much hard skin! Perhaps a longer session in the tank would have made a bigger difference, but I would have had a better result using a pumice stone for a couple of minutes.
For a novelty, it's quite fun, especially after a hard days shopping. I'd get it done again, because it feels quite pleasant and relaxing, but not because it works that well! I should also add that the cheap price, the very open nature of the shop, which makes you feel you are in a goldfish bowl (literally) and the garish colours, logo and very cheap and cheerful shop fit do not make this a luxury experience. It's fun, but it's not a special treat or a 'spa'.
Have you had a fish pedicure yet? It seems like they are springing up everywhere at the moment!
Thanks for reading! xx