Fish-based pedicure - is this a new outsourcing paradigm?
The other day, I saw a somewhat disturbing article online about a spa in Virginia that's offering "fish pedicure":
Rather than having the nice young Vietnamese woman use a pumice stone to soften up that hard, yucky skin on your heels - as is done at "my" nail salon - Yvonne Hair and Nails started using garra rufa, also known as the doctor fish, to nibble away at that dead skin.
To date, the salon has served up 5,000 folks, who soak their feet in warm water while their dead foot skin is munched on.
Owner John Ho, who had heard of the practice (done in some Asian spa), said that customers were, at first a "little intimidated."
Well, "intimidate" wouldn't be the first word that came to my mind.
Perturbed, maybe. A tad(pole) grossed out, even. But not intimidated.
...described the tingling sensation created by the toothless fish: "It kind of feels like your foot's asleep."
Okay, if I were going to have fish eating my dead skin, I'd prefer them to be toothless. And, because they're toothless, that have to go for dead skin, and can't get to live skin. Which is a reasonably good thing.
Still, the prospect of putting my feet to soak in a tank that contains 100 or so tiny little fish - which, presumably, are exercising other bodily functions while in between swimming and eating - is not in the category the way other nail salon features are. (In this category, I'd put the hand and lower arm massage, which is free. And looking at the fun names for the OPI nail polish. Current fave - and current pedicure choice - Any Man in a Portugal. (Coming up with OPI polish colors - now there would be a fun job.)
Besides, the treatment is pretty costly: $35 for 15 minutes, $50 for 30 minutes. I pay $35 (I think) for a combo mani-pedi. Of course, that doesn't count tips and, presumably, you don't tip the fish. Although, of course, the fish aren't trimming your nails, applying multiple coats of polish, and sticking those foam toe-separators on your feet.
Ho wants to branch out and franchise his pedicure business, and is considering "full-body" treatment that would take care of psoriasis. (As the woman married to the man with the driest skin on the face of the earth, I'll have to ask him what he thinks of the idea.)
The full body concept is used in Turkey, as well as in spas in Asia (and one in Croatia, so wikipedia tells me).
Wiki also lets us know that, while garra rufa (a.k.a., the reddish log sucker) makes a fine aquarium fish, you can't just pluck them out of your fishbowl and have them start grooming you. In order to get them to eat dead skin, you have to deprive them of other sources of food - meaning that dead skin is right where you'd expect to find it on the Food Pyramid: absent.
I do hope that my nail salon won't be investing in fish tank pedicure systems anytime soon.
But this did get me to wondering whether we're missing any other ways in which we could use our friends in the animal kingdom - obviously in edition to the multiple ways we exploit them already, wrote the woman who's sitting in her suede moccasin slippers, having just eaten some of last night's doggy-bag steak for dinner, and having earlier in the day used some nice brown eggs to help make those brownies to bring to family gathering this weekend.
Are there any other mundane little tasks we might want to outsource?