Friday, May 30, 2008

Soothe your sole

Today was our first day out in Bangsar, the area of Kuala Lumpur that we're staying in. I guess it's kind of like Wrigleyville is to Chicago - a neighborhood within the city. Lots of restaurants and boutiques.

After brunch at La Bodega, we headed to Garra Rufa Fish Therapy. Customers stick their feet into one of the spa's "ponds," and small fish come up and eat the dead skin off. Yeah, that's right. Instead of a foot scrub, why not exfoliate those tootsies with fish?

Here's the deal: The store imports the garra rufa fish (aka nibble fish or doctor fish) from the Middle East. Lchthyotherapy, as it's scientifically known as, has been around in Turkey forever as a treatment for conditions like eczema and psoriasis. And now it's growing into a posh spa treatment here. Garra Rufa Fish Therapy definitely has a chic atmosphere: black wallpaper, huge mirrors and tanks with exotic fish - the kind that don't eat you. There's two ponds with about 6,000 garra rufa and a wooden deck to sit on and hang your feet over. What's nice is that it doesn't have spa prices - 38RM for 30 minutes, less than $15US. Plus, they have Happy Hour specials - have fish eat your feet, then grab a beer.

It's hard to describe the feeling when you first put your feet in there. I was freaking out a little. It kind of tickled, kind of grossed me out. But as you sit there, you get used to it and it starts to feel like an electric current running through your lower legs. It's hard to tear your eyes away from all those fish swarming your feet; if you focus on one fish, that feeling intensifies. When my half and hour was up, my feet definitely felt softer but I think it'd take more than one session to really make a difference. But it's the experience that counts.

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