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Do Doctor Fish treatments actually work?

Reader’s E-mail:

All over Thailand I see tanks of ‘Doctor Fish’ to place your feet inside. Do this actually work and is it hygenic?

Reply from Thailand Info

Treatment with Doctor Fish (garra rufa) has been shown to help relieve, but not cure, the symptoms of psoriasis, which is a skin condition. Whether the fish is those tanks you see will do the job is questionable.

Garra Rufa Fish

The garra rufa fish does not actually eat the skin, it is in fact searching for insect lavae and other microscopic sources of food. If the fish aren’t kept hungry then then they will make much of an effort to pull away dead skin in their search for a meal.

Doctor Fish

It is Helpful if Done Properly

To get a proper Doctor Fish treatment then you either need to go to a proper clinic or make the journey to Turkey where these fish come from. There have also been questions raised over the hygiene – it is banned in several US states.

Doctor Fish Treatments in Thailand

This said, my wife did a 15 minute session in Hua Hin for 150 THB, found it relaxing and didn’t get any health problems after. Using a Doctor Fish treatment has to come fairly low down on the scale of risky things a tourist can do in Thailand – you are probably in more danger taking a Taxi from the airport to your hotel!

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