I could hear shrieks of “Yuck”, “This really tickles” and “I feel like I’m in Khatron Ke Khiladi” as I walked into the new Kenko Reflexology and Spa on Vittal Mallya Road. Curious, I peeked into a tank to look at the culprits of the commotion. As I watched, schools of tiny Garra rufa fish, each no longer than an inch, worked busily on the feet immersed in the water.
A quick glance at the services on offer showed that a variety of reflexology, acupressure and body massages were also available. I opted for 10 minutes at the fish spa and 20 minutes each of back, hand and foot reflexology.
The spa has three tanks; at a time, three persons can have their feet cleaned at a tank. But before you can dip your feet into the water, they are cleaned with soap and rubbed with specially formulated enzymes to neutralize any lotion or ointment residues.
When I plunged my feet into a tank, 80% of the fish abandoned the feet of the lady next to me, as if on cue, and took to mine. She was rather disappointed. “I was just beginning to enjoy it,” she complained. Fresh food attracts fish too, I guess.
The good stuff
Hundreds of little brown fish nibbling on your feet, and yet it doesn’t hurt at all. The fish don’t have teeth and exfoliate naturally by sucking off the dead skin. It’s a bit ticklish to begin with, but a few minutes later, you begin to relax.
The fish therapy also eases minor eczema and psoriasis. If you are there for either of those reasons, there is a separate tank where slightly bigger fish get to work on your feet.
I followed up the pedicure with reflexology. The massage suite is located away from the spa—and the shrieks. A quick 20-minute massage is just that—quick. This spa does not require a change of clothes and since it is centrally located (just a kilometre from MG Road), you can actually step out of office for a quick massage. The masseuse kneaded my back with her elbows, knuckles and fingers for a relaxing few minutes. Once my back and hands were taken care of, I was led to a recliner for my foot massage and even treated to herbal tea and some figs.
Fish therapy has been banned in US states such as Texas and Washington over concerns about the bacteria and viruses that might thrive in the water. Vandana Virwani, Kenko’s promoter in India, says they take extra precautions to ensure the water stays clean. “We treat the water with 2,000W UV sterilization to kill bacteria and virus every day. To filter out big particles such as fish food, we use a sand filter and make sure we maintain a neutral pH level in the water. The water also undergoes an ozone treatment to break down liquid waste into oxygen and natural water,” says Virwani.
She points out that there is a separate dip pool for those with skin ailments. Kenko claims all its therapists are trained to identify foot diseases and don’t allow customers with open wounds and deep cracks to undergo the therapy. There is, however, no doctor at the spa.
For a 10-minute session at the spa, you pay Rs175. The reflexology sessions start at Rs400 for just hands or feet for 20 minutes, going up to Rs850 for 60 minutes.
Open from 10am-10pm, all days of the week. Contact 080-42110304 for appointments.