So there’s this big wall ad at our main MRT station for “Fish Reflexology” over @ the aquarium on Sentosa. We checked it out when we were there the other day, and it was like $35sgd for half an hour. The idea intrigued me, but no way was I paying $35. Yesterday, however, we went to the Quin Ho Fish Farm (think aquarium fish, not eating fish), and they had the same sort of thing. They called it “Fish SPA”, and it was only $10sgd there. This prospect really excited me, and luckily, I talked Kerri Lynn into doing it with me. They have this large, shallow pool that you sit on the edge of and stick your feet into and these different fish come up and nibble on your skin. There were a bunch of tiny ones, a few medium sized ones, and one large one. A quick Wikipedia search, combined with the brochure we got there, tells me that the tiny ones were species Garra rufa, and that the species Cyprinion macrostomus is also often used. Both species are commonly known as "doctor fish". Apparently the concept originated in the Kangal district of Turkey, and the fish are native to river basins in the Middle East. The water in these river basins can get quite warm (up to 37ºC, which explains why they can keep the spa waters at bath temperatures), and the fish are normally algal grazers. The basic concept is that in the absence of algae in the spa pools (as the pools are treated by UV sterilization), these fish nibble off the upper, flaky layer of your skin, sort of an exfoliation. It’s also purported to be able to heal mild skin diseases such as psoriasis and athlete’s foot, as the fish supposedly inject a small quantity of Dithranol (commonly found in psoriasis cream medicines) and an enzyme that helps to normalize the skin. The little ones tickled, and the really large one felt somewhat like sandpaper. It was really hard for me to not bust out laughing at points cause my feet are somewhat ticklish. My feet definitely feel softer after the experience (I really noticed when I took a shower that night), plus I just think it’s an awesome story. Definitely worth $10.
P.S. Seadragons are probably the coolest animals ever.