Fancy being fish food?
And to think I ever thought acupuncture was weird. Writing Bh's feature story for this week, The New Alternatives, was certainly an eye-popper. I found out why crystal facials can shake up my chakras, how Native American La Stone therapy can trigger my cranial nerve and how patrons at a posh Hawaiian hotel spa pay to have bird droppings slathered on their faces. Then, just when I thought spas couldn't get more bizarre, I hear about a hot spring in Turkey where tiny fish nibble flakes and dead skin cells off your body like you chomp corn on the cob. Curiouser and curiouser.
The peckish little blighters are known as 'doctor fish', Garra rufa, reddish log suckers or Kangal fish (after Kangal, the town that boasts the spring) and they thrive in thermal outdoor pools, just waiting for flaky people to show up for lunch. Apparently, psoriasis is their favourite dish but they'll also happily gnaw and lick away any type of dead skin without damaging the fresh, healthy layers beneath - it's like being detailed by a thinking micro-exfoliant. And it's said to tingle in a nice, I'm-being-buffed-and-polished kind of way.
The fishy business was opened in the Sixties and the nibblers are now so popular that they've got their own website, www.psoriasisfishcure.com, and a whole tourism trade has sprung up around them. 'Feed fish one day, visit ancient ruins the next' has quite good postcard potential, don't you think? Certainly better than 'snorkel today, slap on some bird poo tomorrow' anyway. I don't care how hot they're looking in Hawaii...