Dr. Kiss Fish

People warned me, “Don’t do it!” “It’s a scam.” It’s disgusting.”

But finally my curiosity got the better of me and I entered the realm of… duh duh duh… Dr. Kiss Fish.


Apparently these place are in many cities and countries, though I haven’t seen them before, not even in crazy California. I have a pronounced disposition to try out massage and other body work in foreign countries (the medicinal baths in the Czech Republic, Germany, or Italy, inexpensive massages in Costa Rica or Mexico, water massage in New Zealand, and even a chair massage that I can’t even begin to describe while I was at Asia Beer Fest in Singapore, by a guy wearing enormous sunglasses and angel wings.)

So fish nibbling at my feet? Why not?

The technique is supposed to be quite safe, especially if you get the true breed of kiss fish, not some imposter fish. The Dr. Kiss Fish shop in Venice’s Cannaregio has the garra rufa breed, who will “kiss your feet and your hands softly. Much more than just a massage.” I had to read and agree to the sign on the wall that I had no infections, and I had to wash my feet first (they didn’t even provide soap! How effective is that??)

Then I plunged my feet into the illuminated blue box of fish. They glommed onto me faster than ants at a picnic. When I looked at the guy sitting at the box next to me, I saw that he didn’t have nearly as many fish nibbling at his feet. My feet were either really tasty or really…. well, I guess I’d rather not admit to it.



(This is a rather calm moment for the fish.)

The nibbling sensation is quite strange. The fish even try to get between your toes. I got a ten minute treatment and spent at least the first few minutes just telling myself, “Fish are not eating my feet. Fish are not eating my feet. This is all in the interest of having an experience.” I suppose my feet felt better afterwards. For the rest of the evening, I thought about these fish nibbling my feet, that’s for sure.


About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
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8 Responses to Dr. Kiss Fish

  1. Loved your post! I tried this in my hometown a few years ago and was surprised how ticklish it was! It didn’t feel like they were eating my feet, it just felt. . . weird.

    Last week I was in Siem Reap in Cambodia and I saw a sign for one of those places, with the slogan ‘Feels Weird but Nice!!’ which I thought was funny, and quite apt!

    • Thanks for writing to tell about your experience. Has anyone else out there tried this in another country? I see from Jenny’s comment that I won’t be able to try it in California!

  2. Jenny says:

    These fish pedicures were briefly popular in California before being outlawed due to health regulations (basically, fish aren’t sterile).

  3. ytaba36 says:

    Never mind the fish, how many other feet have been in there before yours? Thanks for undertaking this experience and telling us about it!

  4. Yeah, not a pleasant thought either!

  5. Rudolf says:

    You can better eat fish your self….;-)

  6. Ah! You can get revenge if the fish bite you!

  7. Nancy Schwalen says:

    I have seen videos of kiss fish in Asian locations. My feet are ridiculous ticklish so I think the experience would have me squirming. I guess they are supposed to be eating away the dead skin. But I thank you for trying it out and describing it.

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