A “Fish Spa Pedicure” was a phrase I had not heard of before my arrival in Bali. When presented with the opportunity to give one a go, I had to say “Yes”. That was my motto for being abroad, after all. Whatever it was, I was in baby! Well, in this case, saying “Yes” meant kicking off your flip-flops in the middle of the mall to give my toes a dip in the “fish spa” for a pedicure – in a foreign country.

What Is A Fish Spa Pedicure?

Fish spa pedicures gained popularity in 2011, shortly before my stay in Bali. A fish spa consists of a small tub filled with lukewarm water and several small fish called, Garra RufaThey call these little workers “doctor fish” because they eat away at the dead skin cells on your feet, a said method of exfoliation. This is supposed to result in cleansed, refreshed and healthier feet.

Health Concerns & Benefits

Like most everything, there are claims for and against the fishy foot fetish. Some states have banned this practice due to cleanliness and although it is low, there is a risk of infection. On the other hand, there are health claims that in addition to providing smoother and softer feet, fish spas can serve as a treatment for athlete’s foot, psoriasis, and eczema.

My Experience

While it was fun, it is not something I’m dying to do again. The novelty was exciting and the nibbles were ticklish but I can definitely understand the hesitation in terms of cleanliness.


“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” ― Gustave Flaubert