Wednesday, 8 June 2011 12:00 AM
When I was invited to try Aqua Sheko's fish pedicure, I accepted with enthusiasm. Then I thought about for more than five minutes and the idea of fish sucking the dead skin off my feet began to fill me with trepidation.
Now, I know this blog is about unusual things to do in London, but I think this is about the most unusual thing I've ever done. As the appointment drew nearer I become more and more apprehensive - hoping I wouldn't freak out and completely embarrass myself.
Aqua Sheko fish spa is located on Frith Street in the heart of Soho; the entrance is small, unassuming and dominated by a large gleaming reception desk - where a small courteous receptionist sits. The receptionist escorted me downstairs, to the mood lit basement to where I would get my treatment.
I became more and more nervous with every step - I don't even like feeling seaweed on my feet and legs in the sea let alone fish! Down in the basement was a row of 12 chairs with fish tanks at the bottom of each one.
There were five other people also having the pedicure and they seemed perfectly relaxed. So, it can't be that bad I thought. I sat down on the chair and watched the fish dart around excitedly. I took a deep breath and plunged my feet in. Now to say I didn't freak out at all would be a lie; I plunged my feet in and I took them straight back out again - the therapist smirked. Feeling silly, I just took a deep breath and I plunged my feet back in again and the fish swarmed over them.
Their little sucker-like mouths, sucking on my feet was a strange feeling - a mixture of a slight tickling sensation and mild pins and needles. It doesn't hurt and when you get used to it, it becomes very relaxing and you can get a bit memorized by the fish swimming about and feeding off your feet. The fish seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The welfare of the fish is paramount to Aqua Sheko. The tanks are filtered and sterilized by industrial grade systems that ensure a healthy and safe environment for the fish and the clients. The fish, known as Garra Rufa, are naturally found in hot springs near Kangal in Turkey and have been cleansing the skin of bathers for centuries.
Even though at first I was unsure about the whole thing, I can't argue with the results as my feet had never felt so soft. Overall it was a pleasant experience and I thoroughly enjoyed the back and shoulder massage I had afterwards. You can also have a foot massage. So if you are looking for something unique to do in London then this is it!
By Catrin Hughes
Aqua Sheko deluxe hand or foot fish therapy with head and shoulder massage or foot massage: £45.