The Things We Do for Beauty

While strolling along the cobbled, rustic streets of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico in the baking sun, we happened upon a popular store for beach wear called Wayan. What we saw was more than batik beach wraps, flip-flops and bikinis. In the entrance of the store, we saw a large tank filled with tiny fish all darting around the water in a mad frenzy. This tank was actually a type of spa treatment, in which one submerges their feet into the water to have these little creatures nibble the dry skin from the feet. Strange, but interesting. With their long grey bodies, and little fins, I compared them to a great school of sharks from an aerial view in an airplane. The theme from Jaw’s immediately started in my head.

I first saw this treatment on The Real Housewives of Vancouver, where Jody Claman raved about her silky smooth feet thanks to these little nibblers. The tiny fish are called Garra Rufa fish, and were brought in from their native Turkey, the store manager told us. She also told us that they do not have teeth (as I originally assumed) but they suck away the dry, scaly skin from your tender tootsies. Suck away the skin?! Sound like vampire fish to me. Thanks but no thanks. I think I will pass on this one. Kadesha, my step-daughter,  decided to give it a try, as she always was a brave soul.  I on the other hand, decided to observe and cringe, along with her daughter Kyelle, who was simply fascinated at the sight of them and pointed in delight. For the cost of 200 pesos (roughly 20 dollars US) Kadesha submerged her feet in the tank and let the fish feed, or suck, her feet for 15 minutes. Instantaneously, the little critters went to work, attaching themselves to the soles of her feet, especially around the heel region. Kadesha let out a scream and then a laugh, and then another scream, as she felt the sensation of this odd feeding frenzy. So what did it feel like? She said it more or less tickled, feeling like someone lightly grazing their nails on her soles. Once she relaxed (or stopped screaming) she described the sensation as somewhat soothing. The fish gathered like clumps around her heels, balls of the feet and ankles, completing covering her skin.

So what was the outcome? She described her feet as soft and silky post-treatment. (Jody Claman was right.) I suggested to Andy that he give this treatment a go. Those fish would have a feast on his scaly heels, just sayin’. I can just imagine one fish saying to the other, “hope you ate light earlier Ralph, we really have a big job to do here!”

So if you’re ever strolling the streets of Fifth Avenue in Playa Del Carmen, listening to the sweet sounds of Mariachi, and your feet are feeling a little lack luster, why not feed the fish and soften your feet all at once?


Kadesha, after the screaming.

Kadesha, after the screaming.


12 thoughts on “The Things We Do for Beauty

    1. I was wondering the exact same thing so I asked the manager. She said the fish are fed fish food once a day. How stuffed must they feel from all that dead skin and fish food??

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