Experience a full body fish nibble

Soothing Soles in Hitchin has been offering up fish pedicures and manicures for three months now. They opened their “full body nibble” tank last week, with reporter Laura Burge the first to try it out.

EVERYONE by now will have heard of fish spas. You put your feet (or hands) in a tank full of fish, and let them nibble away at your dry skin.

But the concept of putting your whole body in is a new one, with only a handful of companies offering it in the country, and certainly none in this area.

Soothing Soles in Hitchin, however, has decided to lead the way by opening up a full body nibble tank. And when they offered me the chance to try it out, it was too good an opportunity to miss.

I must admit that my main concern was treading or lying on the fish. Although there were a few issues (the fish trying to go places they shouldn’t, for example), I’m happy to report that the number I have killed remains at zero.


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The fish - or Garra Rufa as they are known - immediately went for my hands and feet when I (very slowly) got into the tank. But after relaxing for a few minutes, they dispersed all round the tank. It was bliss - I particularly liked the sensation on my neck and back.

I was also slightly worried beforehand by the fact that I’m rather ticklish. Having kicked someone in the face (accidentally) before when having my feet tickled, I was worried of a similar scenario - perhaps emptying the tank of the garra rufa and water - but it was a far cry from that. Imagine being in a tank full of sparkling water or champagne. It is, I imagine, like that would be.

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It is only by chance that Sarah Humberstone and Violet Endersby, who own the shop, came across the business opportunity to open the spa.

Sarah said: “We were on holiday in Great Yarmouth and walked past one, and I said to Violet, ‘I’d love to have a go at that’.”

“Violet was a bit hesitant as she’s got quite sensitive feet. But when we got in, we just loved it. It was such a nice environment, and we thought how lovely it would be to do something like that.”

The pair opened the shop with the idea that it could be used as somewhere to relax and unwind. They want to encourage people to go back, as opposed to many of the novelty spas in markets and shopping centres which are intended, usually, for a single experience.

It’s even proven to help with psoriasis and eczema, improve blood flow and circulation and relieve stress and fatigue.

While I can’t say whether it’s helped with any of those, I can certainly vouch for the fact it’s relaxing, fun and makes you feel pretty great afterwards. My skin felt softer, and I felt chilled out.

Although I tried it with others in the shop able to see, those who are a little shy can also rest assured that there is a curtain which can be drawn round the tank.

It certainly seems that it will be in high demand. It was through customers asking about it that spurred Violet and Sarah on.

Violet said: “Everyone kept asking about what it would be like to have a full-body spa, so we researched it on the internet, but couldn’t find anything.

“We had the full body tank specially made to our designs. The fish originate in the Middle East – but ours came from Wolverhampton! Not quite as exotic, but we decided not to have them shipped in for their sake.”

To find out about booking an appointment, telephone 01462 435055, or visit www.soothingsolesfishspa.co.uk

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