The Fish Spa gained their popularity with psoriasis and eczema sufferers, the most famous of these spas being the Kangal Spa in Turkey (

It is said that the healing powers of the Garra rufa fish were discovered by a shepherd and his flock in 1917. He stumbled into marshy ground with an injured foot and found the open wound besieged by fish. The wound healed and eventually word got to the outside world about these efficacious little creatures.

Treatment is very simple. The patient immerses the affected part of the body, or the whole body in with the fish. The fish will then feed gently upon the loose skin, removing it in a not unpleasant tickly manner. Depending on the the number of fish working on the body, a treatment can be over in less than half an hour. The fish tend to ignore areas of unaffected skin. The freshly cleaned and exfoliated skin feels smooth to the touch.

There is a certain amount of discussion as to which is the best species of fish for Fish Spa use, however most Spas favour the original, Garra rufa, which is said to be a gentler fish, removing the dead skin by a suction type nibble rather than just a nibble. It has been discovered that Garra rufa apparently actually secretes an enzyme which has been shown to be beneficial to human skin.

The Garra rufa occurs in the river basins of the Northern and Central Middle East, mainly in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran and are now being imported to Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand USA and the UK.

Fish manicures and fish pedicures are increasing in popularity and London’s first Fish Spa for pedicures opened 7th June this year.

In need of a pedicure I arrived at Aqua Sheko, just off Kensington High Street and was greeted by Karen Ho, Founder of Aqua Sheko. Karen believes it is important for everyone to look after their feet. “Winter can be very punishing on our feet. It is easy to forget about your feet when you are hiding them away in boots but it’s essential that we look after them. Fish therapy is an enjoyable and relaxing way to remove a build up of dead skin and maintain smooth, good looking feet all year round.”

Upon arriving at Aqua Sheko you’ll feel as if you stepped into an exotic paradise with its sleek and dark oriental inspired décor creating a restful, tranquil retreat where you can escape the chaos of city life. It’s the perfect place to go with friends or a mini pamper session in your lunch break, as you do not have to remove any clothing to enjoy the benefits of fish therapy.

After getting over the initial tickling from the fish, it became very relaxing and entertaining as I watched the fish nibble and suck on my feet. Thirty minutes of treatment followed by a wonderful foot massage I was delighted to see that I had lovely soft skin again. Next time I find myself in London I may just have to pop back for another relaxing treatment.

45 minute treatment includes:

  • Washing/cleaning of feet prior to treatment
  • Thirty minutes of fish therapy
  • Relaxing massage after treatment

Aqua Sheko is located at 14 Holland Street, High Street Kensington, London W8 4LT. To indulge your feet in a fish therapy session email reservations@ or call 07837 539 325