Fish spas bite back at low risk

Jenny Ivers feature on 'Appy Feet'.
Jenny Ivers feature on 'Appy Feet'.

FISH pedicure spa owners have spoken after a health report said there was a “very low” risk of infection associated with the popular craze.

Treatments where people put their feet in tanks of tiny Garra rufa fish, which remove dead skin, hit the national headlines last week when the Health Protection Agency’s guidance was published.

It revealed fish tank water contains microorganisms, with the potential for infection transmissions, although this is likely to be a very low risk if hygiene standards are adhered to.

But those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions, like diabetes or psoriasis, were advised to avoid the indulgence.

“I have got a few friends who are nurses and they say you’ve got more chance of getting Hepatitis from a door handle on a toilet when people haven’t washed their hands” said Angela Peacock, owner of Fish Feet Limited in Chesterfield’s Tesco Extra.

“There isn’t any evidence that anyone has caught anything from a fish pedicure.

“We’ve had visits from the health inspector and everything’s been fine, we‘ve just got to keep up to the regulations.

“I imagine there are people who are just not knowing what they’re doing and opening (fish spas) up.”

Fish pedicures have proved controversial - with some US states banning the practice. Appy Feet, founded by Renishaw’s Christina Wright, led the movement in the UK.

A statement said the responsible business’ top priority was the safety and wellbeing of both customers and fish, with strict guidelines and industry regulation in place.

It added: “Appy Feet has a specially designed filtration system, developed and managed by a marine biologist, which sterilizes the water up to eight times an hour, and the UV systems used ensure no diseases can live in the water.”