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Doctor Fish Garra rufa: Health and Risk

The Garra rufa fish, or "doctor fish", originates in the river basins of the Northern and Central Middle East, mainly in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. This fish is famous for its ability to eat dead or diseased human skin while leaving healthy skin untouched. A recent fad for "fish pedicures" has sprung up, initially in health and beauty resorts, but soon spreading to shopping malls and salons, where you can pay to sit for a few minutes with your feet immersed in tanks full of the little buggers. For treatment of skin diseases, aquarium specimens are not well suited as the skin-feeding behaviour fully manifests only under conditions where the food supply is somewhat scarce and unpredictable. During their activities of foraging they slough off dead skin. They are simply looking for food which in the wild consists of Aufwuchs. In both marine and freshwater environments the algae–particularly green algae and diatoms–make up the dominant component of Aufwuchs communities. Dermatologists have suggested that the use of fish is inappropriate because it fails to treat the underlying cause of the skin condition. But now a day due to risk concern the fish SPA treatment become banned in many states.


Shreya Bhattacharya

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