Fish Pedicure Service: Good Idea for Salons?

You’ve probably heard of salons offering fish pedicures to their clients but would you do it? Do you think your clients would respond well to the option of a fish pedicure or do you think they would simply say, “Icky!”?

Offering fish pedicure services has already captured the attention of many salons and their client’s. But some states, such as Maryland, Texas and Wisconsin, have banned this service for hygiene and health concern reasons. In the United States, the first fish pedicure service was available in 2008 in Virginia. Since then, more states and more salons are trying it.

What Exactly is a Fish Pedicure Treatment?

The treatment consists of putting your feet in a tank of water filled with hundreds of Doctor Fish, or Garra rufa fish, which are tiny non-violent fish. They simply will suck off the small patches of dead skin from your feet. They feed on dead skin tissue and calluses. The fish have no teeth and are not interested in the live skin. The treatment will not hurt; it will tickle more than anything.

The issue at hand is that salons should and need to dispose of or sanitize products after they use them on their clients and since those fish probably “nibble” on clients throughout the day, according to health officials, it’s considered reusing a product. But getting rid of the fish after each treatment and bringing in brand new fish is too expensive and there’s no possible way to clean and sanitize a fish without killing it.

It’s also been stated that salons starve the fish so when clients dunk their feet in the water, they are hungrier than ever. Animal rights groups are not happy about this. But an abundance of customers have said that it’s a relaxing treatment and their feet have never looked and felt better.

Want to offer a Fish Pedicure? Remember:

  • You need to empty out the water and sanitize the water tank after each treatment.
  • Clean and sanitize your client’s feet before they even enter the water.
  • Be aware that it is expensive to get the treatment started. Sources say that it can cost thousands. Cases have been reported where salon owners spent $40,000 to get fish pedicures offered at their salon.
  • Be aware that any small cuts or scrapes on the feet could expose your client to bacteria that may be in the water. You may want to think about examining your client’s feet before you allow them to receive the treatment.
  • Do some “fishing around” first. Talk to people who offer fish pedicures at their salon. Find out what they say about the treatments and what their clients have to say about it.