Posted by: Tommy | May 9, 2011

Dr. Fish Spa

One thing we’ve quickly learned in Asia is that spa stuff – massages for me, manicures and pedicures for Emily and Anna – is extremely cheap.  Like, $6/hour for a massage.  Despite the nice prices, Anna and I haven’t really taken advantage of it too much (Emily has, though).  That changed, for me, when I discovered the Dr. Fish spa.

It’s not really a spa, per se, but an experience.  And it’s not a massage, but a treatment for messed-up feet.  And I have some messed-up feet.  It’s been over a month since I was trekking Annapurna, but my feet are still covered in the drying, peeling blisters from those 2 weeks on the trail.  I thought that the Dr. Fish spa could help me out.

Dr. Fish is a crazy, crazy idea.  It’s weird, creepy and a little ticklish, too.  It’s basically a big tub of water – filled with minnows.  You stick your feet in it, then watch as hundreds of tiny fish eat away at the dead skin on your feet.  After finding out what it was, Emily and I both wanted to try it.  Anna thought the minnows looked too much like worms (she doesn’t like worms) so she passed, but did come sit and talk to us.

My reaction to Dr. Fish spa

As soon as I stuck my feet in the water, the minnows attacked them.  And I immediately removed them.  It felt SO gross.  But I’d already paid for 20 minutes, so I put them back.  After awhile, it felt kind of like hundreds of tiny bubbles encasing my feet.  Emily had her feet in the water at the same time – but she didn’t have giant patches of dead skin, so she wasn’t as popular with the fish.

Which foot looks tastier?

The lady running the spa clock may have shorted us a couple of minutes, but I didn’t care.  I was just glad to get the hell out of there.  It was another weird cultural experience, one that I thought was worth sharing.



  1. The real test is are your feet getting better faster after Dr. Fish Spa? Time will tell.

    • Sadly, no improvement. I still have giant patches of dead skin all over both feet.

  2. Different cultural experience is an understatement. There is an ecologist somewhere who is thinking there is something superior and very GREEN about this. Me, like you Tommy, am grossed out. But did your feet get better? I, like Valarie, want to know.

  3. OH my, that’s what I do at the river EVERYTIME we visit. I, however, give a treat to my minion minnows ,as the treatment is FREE. I place a Cheeto (crispy style,of course) between each of my toes & watch them swarm in for a feast! I think it’s wonderful! XOXOXO Kita

  4. LOL! A couple of spas in the Dallas area tried this at one time. Apparently it wasn’t popular enough to take off! haha

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