Fish that feed on dead skin cells are a nice spa treatment

According to this article in a Chinese newspaper, beauty-seekers in Southern China (and other parts of the world) are soaking themselves in pools filled with a type of small fish that eat human skin:

Garra Rufa, a type of small tropical fish, also nicknamed Chinchin Yu, nibble fish or simply doctor fish, are put in hot springs. As they can live and swim freely in at least 43-degree-hot waters, they are naturally used for the treatment of skin diseases in such spas. When placed in the spa, these fish can feed themselves on the dead cells of the human body, since they only consume such cells, leaving the healthy skin of the human body to grow. The whole process is reportedly free of pain. It won't hurt and the bather might feel a pleasant tingling on his or her skin.
Link. Wikipedia says the fish only do this when they don't have anything better to eat: Link. Image: (Thanks, C.M.)

Reader comment: Jon Power says,

Following your fish-eat-dead-skin story, I'm sure you're aware of the use of fly maggots to clean wounds. The maggots only eat dead flesh and so keep the wound raw and healing. They have a remarkable effect on closing up deep wounds over time, but not surprisingly, people are a bit squeamish of the idea. Link.


  1. The fish will only eat the dead fish off people if they have been starved for a few days beforehand.

    While fish in the wild can go days without feeding, it seems kind of cruel to purposefully starve them in order to get them to nibble on people.

  2. you wouldnt call it crappy if yor husband couldnt hold his children for the deep cuts caused by psoriasis on his hands,,,

  3. “The fish will only eat the dead fish off people if they have been starved for a few days beforehand.”

    Not true – any food source is welcomed whether they have an existing food supply or not. Younger fish or shrimp tend to try new things anyway and are more bold.

  4. i wanna have iit done it looks so coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooolllllllllllllllllllllllll

  5. How could it possibly be cruel to let them eat the skin off your feat. Your feeding them. what’s really cruel is that there are thousands of people if not millions, out catching fish everyday…. To eat. Cruel but we still do it, because it tastes good. We all have to eat.

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