Doctor Fish Nibble Your Dead Skin

By: Kristian Dupont - Published: • References: china.org.cn
How would you like to be nibbled on by hundreds of "reddish log sucker fish", hungry to devour your dead skin cells?

Spas in Turkey, the middle east, Japan and China feature Garra Rufa, also known as "doctor fish", a species of fish that live in hot water. These fish consume dead skin cells directly off the bodies of people bathing in the hot spring, leaving living skin intact. This can be used as a treatment for skin diseases such as psoriasis, or it can simply work as a hi-profile skin cleansing. These spas are becoming increasingly popular. The procedure is painless; some would even say the process causes a pleasant, tingling sensation.

Wikipedia says, "The term doctor fish is the name given to two species of fish (Garra rufa, discussed here, and Cyprinion macrostomus). They live and breed in outdoor pools of some Turkish spas, where they feed on the skin of patients with psoriasis. The fish are like combfishes in that they only consume the affected and dead areas of the skin, leaving the healthy skin to grow, with the outdoor location of the treatment bringing beneficial effects. The spas are not meant as a treatment option, only as a temporary cure for symptoms, and patients usually revisit the spas every few months. Some patients have experienced complete cure of psoriasis after repeated treatments, but due to the unpredictable nature of the disease, which is strongly influenced by endogenous factors, this may simply be regression towards the mean.

"The nicknames nibble fish, kangal fish, and doctorfishen are commonly applied to both species of doctor fish. Outside the medical context, Garra rufa is called reddish log sucker."