By Himanshu Guru: The Garra Rufa breed of fish is known as Doctor Fish for its habit of consuming the dead skin of humans, leaving the healthy skin intact and hence providing a therapy.
These species of fish are mostly found in the outdoor pools of some Turkish spas. Small herds of them are also believed to be available in the Northern and Central Middle East. Although this is not a solid therapy till people love to take advantage of this natural healing to fight with skin diseases like Psoriasis and Eczema.
In 2006, doctor fish spa resorts opened in Hakone, Japan, and in Umag, Croatia, where the fish are used to clean the bathers at the spa. Eventually, the scheme was also introduced in spas of India like many other countries.
Doctor Fish hails from the phylum Chordate, class Actinopterygii, order Cypriniformes and family Cyprinidae. This Garra rufa or reddish log suckers are also known as nibble fish, kangal fish, physio fish and doctor fishen.
Despite the truth of doctor fish’s clinical feature, the practice has been banned in many countries as it is considered unsanitary. Also the behavior of some artificially harvested Garra rufas cannot be claimed as safe.
They may act differently, which may be harmful. The process – the Garra fish mainly consumes aufwuchs. Green algae and diatoms, insect larvae, oligochaetes and tardigrades come under aufwuchs. The dead skin cells are also believed to be one among these, which are consumed by the doctor fish.
The Spas make use of the toothless and harmless Garra Rufa Obtusa, since they have been proved worldwide to be the most skillful practice to carry out the natural exfoliation process.
They claim that the effects of these fishes are like a comb on the skin, and they consume the affected and dead areas of the skin, leaving healthy skin to grow. They also maintain that one can completely get rid of skin smear and aging cortex, making the skin pores unobstructed and improving blood circulation.
The treatment by Dr. Fish has been developed to protect and beautify the skin. But the customer is at his own risk to opt for the process. The Dr. Fish Therapy is available in top beauty salons and spas across India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar (Naturals Spa).