Ministry warns against fish pedicure

DUBAI — The UAE Ministry of Health has warned people against using the nibbling treatment (fish pedicure) that uses doctor fish, saying they could contract serious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.


Asma Ali Zain

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Published: Wed 22 Dec 2010, 9:57 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:57 PM

The treatment currently being offered by a number of saloons and spas in the country could lead to severe infections, said Dr Amin Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Medical Practices and Licences at the ministry. “People suffering from skin diseases might infect others easily since open wounds can contaminate the water as well as the fish that absorb the dead cells,” he said.

Used to treat skin ailments in Turkey’s hot springs for the past 400 years, Garra Rufa (doctor fish) are best known to help alleviate a medical condition called ‘Psoriasis’. The fish feeds on diseased and dead skin and gently scrubs the affected areas while exuding ‘ditranol’ (a mild antiseptic) which prevents rapid development of cells on the skin.

Al Amiri said there was no scientific proof that fish pedicure has a positive effect on cosmetic or therapeutic treatment. If used for medicinal purposes, the fish needs to be kept in UV sterlisers and aquariums with automatic water changers.

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