Today I had my first ever fish pedicure at Aqua Sheko, a trendy new “fish spa” in Kensington, London. I was very excited to try out this unusual pedicure treatment which involves plunging feet into a tank full of Garra Rufa fish which then suck and nibble away dead skin cells. It’s been massive in Japan for years.

If you’re fish phobic, you probably don’t want to read on!

So apparently, these Garra Rufa fish are found in hot springs in Turkey and have been used for softening and cleansing the skin of bathers for centuries. Their suction−cup mouths gently lift away dry skin without damaging the healthy new cells underneath, to reveal soft, supple and smooth skin. So they get a good feed, while your feet are exfoliated. Everyone’s a winner!

When I arrived at Aqua Sheko, my feet were washed by a very sweet therapist (the poor thing having to touch my sweaty, swollen, sock-marked feet after a long, hot day!). I was then sat on a comfy seat at my very own tank.

I did squeal embarrassingly loudly when I first dipped my feet in. These fish are not shy – they get straight in there! Below is a photo of some of the fish having a good nibble on my unattractively swollen feet. You can click on the photo to enlarge it to see their hungry little faces.

And below is a video of the fish darting around (I took the sound off because it’s just chatter from surrounding customers). They move pretty fast!

The sucking and nibbling doesn’t hurt at all… I would describe it as a bit of a “pins and needles” feeling. Kind of tickly and tingling. Not at all painful, and actually quite pleasant! And the fish didn’t just go for obvious areas of dead skin, they nibbled all over, even my ankles!

While despairing at my swollen, sock-marked feet, I noticed the girl next to me (who had started a while before me) already had very nice feet… slim-looking and well-presented. She also had noticeably fewer fish attacking her than I had. The fish must have been disappointed with her lack of dry, uncared-for skin!

The fish started to get full and lose their appetite on me towards the end of the 30 minutes, with only a handful still sucking away rather than the entire shoal.

When my treatment was up, my feet were washed and dried again, leaving me with baby soft, light-feeling feet. I could still see the moderately dry skin on my heels, but the entire surface area of my feet (including the topsides and soles) felt smoothed over. Meaning, if I were to put a pair of tights on, I would no longer snag them all the way down while shoving my scaly foot through. Now there’s an attractive image for you.

A fish pedicure including a relaxing foot massage at Aqua Sheko normally costs £45, or £30 for the express 25-minute fish pedicure and feet wash. However, I paid just £12 for a 30 minute fish pedicure (no massage) through (not an affiliate link). If you haven’t heard of Wahanda MobDeals, honestly, where have you been?? So there’s a daily deal where if enough people sign up (and they always do), the deal’s on, and everyone gets a top quality spa treatment for a jaw-droppingly low price. It’s a no-brainer really. But just remember to book your appointments early because when there’s 900 or so sign-ups, the convenient time slots fill up fast.

You can find out more about the fish pedicure at

So what do you reckon? Will you be having a fish pedicure any time soon? Go on… it’s fun! I went alone, but it’d be great for a girly laugh!

36 comments on “My first fish pedicure at Aqua Sheko fish spa: Review

  1. Wow! I saw this on TV a couple of years back, but it was either in Japan or America…I am so glad it’s now in the UK…is definitely such a cool idea…I really wanna go! Stupid question i guess, as they prob wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise, but it doesn’t hurt the fish right? Also do they change the water after each person has had their feet in it?

  2. @Eemas: You should try it! I totally recommend it! Regarding your question, which isn’t stupid at all, this is what it says on the AquaSheko website: “Our eight state-of-the-art tanks are filtered and fed by a constant oxygen supply to ensure clean water and a healthy environment for the fish. In addition, they are sterilized using ultra-violet lights to minimize bacteria growth. We are committed to our clients´ comfort and safety and therefore we operate according to strict hygiene practices. Clients are provided with disposable slippers, and required to wash their feet and remove any chemicals within lotions and creams prior to submersion. Sore and broken skin is therefore not permitted in the pools.”

    So it is very sanitary and the fish are kept happy too.

  3. cool! I think I will…I just didn’t like the idea of killing the poor fish for the sake of my feet!! Is one of those nature’s mutually beneficial things….like those birds who hitch a ride on like rhinos backs and then eat all the insects that try and get in the rhino’s eyes!! lol!

  4. @Eemas: Hahaha I hadn’t heard of those hitch-hiking birds! That’s hilarious! I love nature’s little tricks like that. Yes I guess it is one of those mutually beneficial things!

  5. How AMAZING! I can’t wait to try and will book via Wahanda too. Did it tickle? How cute are those fish. Emma Bunton spoke about this on This Morning the other day too

  6. O my this sounds kinda insane. I need to start checking out wahanda thats an amazing deal!

  7. i saw this in japan. i wanted to try it out so bad (my whole body) haha but i was backpacking so it was too expensive. still i wont pass off the opp next time!

  8. I so want to try this! I remember seeing it in Singapore years ago and have always thought it made a lot of sense 🙂 Jealous you got to try! I must book myself in 🙂 haha

  9. @Wande’s World: You’re going to love it!

    @Verônica Bacco: Yes it’s quite tickly but in a nice way!

    @jojoba: It’s not scary at all (apart from the initial shock of putting your feet in the tank)! Really, you should try it!

    @Chelsea White: I’m sure it’ll hit Canada soon!

    @Anonymous: The fish are cute yes!

    @Lucy: I was a little like that too when I first put my feet in. My initial reaction was to pull them back out again. But you get used to it quickly!

    @Mercedes- Ms Purple Make-up: This salon only does the treatment on feet at the moment. But I’m sure if you look around, there will be somewhere offering the same for hands. I’d be up for that too!

    @Lopo Champalimaud: Ooh thanks for popping by to read the review! There seems to be a lot of interest in fish pedicures at the moment…

    @Imo: Yes, check out Wahanda… but I warn you, it’s addictive!

    @sami: Hahahaha wow you could get your whole body done??? Your skin would be so soft afterward.

    @BeautyGeeek, Kishmat-Lola: Haha well, with the current weather I’m not wearing tights at all – but if I *were*, they’d be perfectly snag-free.

    @Laura: Yes, book yourself in! It’s really fun!

  10. WOW – I really want to try this, only my feet aren’t really dry xD. Hehe. Btw, have you tried lush lemony flutter cuticle butter? i think it works as a really good night treatment for feet and hands =D. It moisturizes my feet so it looks healthy =). Hehe. XXX

  11. @Linda Phuong Tran: Lucky you not having dry feet! Mine are permanently dry. In fact, my skin is dry ALL OVER! I haven’t tried that product from Lush… sounds like it smells nice though!

  12. Hehe, well my feet used to be dry before i used that xD. just to clarify =P. highly recommended, get a sample form lush if you can =D. X

  13. Oh my goodness! I’ve only seen this on TV and I thought it was very interesting. I would like to try it sometime…I get the feeling the fish may start attacking my feet at astonishing rates due to the lack of care I’ve been giving them :/ You look beautiful in that photo, by the way!

  14. Oh wow I’ve heard about this on tv a while ago! That’s so neat you go to try it out. Sounds like a lovely fun experience.
    Your so funny in your post describing your feet haha! I don’t think they’re as bad as you say they are.

  15. Coool!!! I’ve always wanted to try this but actually where I live we don’t have stuff like this 🙁 How does it compare to getting a normal pedicure???

  16. @Just Making it Up: Haha yes I’m much less embarrassed of my feet around fish than other humans!!

    @WillWorkForMakeup: Aww thank you for your compliment! Oh, you should see my feet most days – they’re horrible! I don’t know why they’re so dry and crusty looking!

    @Natalie: Yes, my feet *are* as bad as I say!!! They swell up really quickly in this heat, plus they’re wide already!

    @Tammy: A fish pedicure isn’t going to get rid of all the hard skin on the heels like a normal pedicure where they attack your heels with a file. But my feet did feel very soft and smooth afterwards all over.

  17. You tempted me! I hadn’t heard of Wahanda before, signed up, have been looking at the mob deals as they came through, and what do ya know? Fishy pedicures yesterday! I snapped that one up…not the same place you went to, but still v much looking forward to it….thanks so much for the tip! Emma x

  18. Ooh. I have a friend with a fish pond full of fish that do the same thing…. it’s very relaxing (except the last time I was there the neighbours were slaughtering a pig)!!!

    They aren’t little Turkish fish, I’m not sure what kind, but they suck and nibble and it feels soooo good!

  19. How likely that the fish gets full half way through or if there will be more people having a treatment before me the fish wont have appetite by the time i turn up 🙂

  20. Sounds amazing!! And the decor of the place is cool too

  21. @Anonymous: Hahaha good question. I don’t know whether those fish ever get full! Or whether the salon owners have a system of preventing fish from being too full before the next customer!

  22. A fish pedicure is genuinely benefical.We run several fish pedicure spas across the country.We may have a branch neear you,
    Regardless who you choose or who is nearest to you we have yet to see a fish a pedicure that does not operate to a high standard.Your feet are washed prior to entering the tank,and if you have any cuts or fungal infections you will not be permitted to proceed.We also have a quick questionaire to fill in.
    There is an interesting article at which shows you what the Garra Rufa fish looks like.Some overseas fish spas do not use the Garra Rufa fish so it’s nice to see what they look like.
    Again every fish pedicure we have checked out in the UK has used the Garra Rufa fish.
    The HPA is investigating the risk of infection from fish pedicures but as they have been carried out for 400+ years without one case of infection those facts speak for themselves.
    Fish pedicure spas work to a high standard anyway but if the HPA wishes to set guidelines we will be happy to comply.
    We find people enjoy the treatment both for the social fun of taking friends etc and the result of the pedicure.
    There are several fish pedicure spas now so there is a high chance that you will have one nearby.
    Nice article Helen,well written and nice video.
    Full body fish pedicures are available,it is hard to find the outlets that do it but if you’d like to know drop us an email we’ll do our best to find one for you via our suppliers.
    Best of luck everyone!

  23. Oh dear, rather than use my normal salon, I thought I’d try this. Before parting with my £20 I did ask that it would remove hard skin build up, to be assured it would.

    After about 15 mins into the 30 mins booked, I noticed the fish did seem less enthusiastic and seemed to be having a nap on the bottom of the tank. Was it because I’d gone in later in the afternoon & they were full after nearly a full day of feeding? was it that my feet posed a challange to far? I don’t know, but I came out with most of the hard skin intact.

  24. Wow! Really interesting to hear about your experience of a fish pedicure. Fish Pedicures are now very popular in London.

    Great to see you have made the move from London to Manhattan! Congratulations!

  25. @Eemas: I was thinking the same, but apparently the answer is no: the fish are not killed. They are well fed, and maintained in an acceptable environment. The feet/hands of customers are cleaned so that they don’t risk contaminating the environment and the fish.

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