The foot therapy that was an international craze is now in Mumbai, after debuting in New Delhi and Bangalore earlier this year. It involves immersing your feet in a tank filled with live garra rufa or doctor fish, which exfoliate all the dead skin right off. They use a sucking motion since they have no teeth, so there’s no fear of nicks and cuts. The water is changed daily, UV treated and filtered. The treatment is offered at The Thai Spa at High Street Phoenix and Versova in Mumbai.
You can sit back in the spa’s lemongrass-scented room in comfortable recliner chairs, while your feet are washed in lukewarm water. When it’s fish feeding time you sit on a low stool, with your feet in the tank.
The 50 or so fish headed piranha-style for my feet. At first I thought there was a mild electric current running thought the water, but I soon realized it was the fish nibbling. It’s a tickly-tingly, faint pins-and-needles kind of feeling, and the fish unerringly headed for the parts on my feet with the most dry skin. The therapist Chart from Thailand was as fascinated as I was, since the spa introduced this only a few weeks ago. He gave me a short shoulder massage as the fish nibbled for 15 minutes.
I checked my feet immediately after—they were well exfoliated, but more fish are needed to do a thorough job.
After the fish exfoliation came a reflexology foot massage, while I sat on the recliner with relaxing hot wheat bags around my neck and over my eyes.
Then back to a stool for a quarter-hour stiff back and shoulder massage, which felt like one of those things that you suffer through because you know the results will be great. Which they were. It was followed up by a small terracotta cup of herbal tea. After a tough day of shopping, this is a relaxing 45-minute break.
While the fish were at work, I noticed a tell-tale flotsam which was undoubtedly ahem, fish droppings. I did what anyone in need of a good exfoliation would do—ignored it. But I would definitely not want to be the last person of the day to dip my feet in that water. Also, it would be nice if the therapist started the treatment by giving some information about how safe the treatment was for clients as well as the fish.
The spa offers services from a 10 minute exfoliation only (Rs222, after tax) to a 45-minute treatment (Rs662). For an appointment call 022-30404528 (High Street Phoenix), 022-26322050 (Versova).