The Gara Rufa or Doctor fish is used in spas, particularly Turkish baths, to help alleviate skin disorders in clients. This fish variety which also goes by the name the reddish log sucker, helps in skin treatment by feeding on the affected and dead areas of the skin.
Gara Rufa – General Background and Information
Known in several monikers including Kangal fish, nibble fish, doctorfishen and physio fish, the Gara rufa thrive in rivers of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran and many other countries in the northern and central Middle East. These inch-long underwater species survive for four to six years, and are suitable treatment fish for the first four years of their lives. Gara rufa fish are best cared for in clear warm water with a temperature of between 20 to 35 degrees Celsius. Although this fish variety is widely used in spa resorts, their use is banned in several Canadian provinces and American states due to concerns about the issue of sanitization.
Skin Eating Fish – Mode of Action
Aside from psoriasis, these skin eating fish are also used to address other skin disorders such as calluses and eczema. The nibble fish gently suck the skin, taking away the dead skin cells and leaving the healthy cells intact. They regroup at the bottom of the tank when there is no more skin available for chewing. The popularity of these skin eating fish has prompted spas and beauty to use them for pedicures in patients without skin illnesses, a practice that has ignited debate among dermatologists. Health regulators in several countries deemed the fish unsanitary because they cannot be disposed after a single use and could cause transmission of skin infections even if the tanks and water are cleaned.
Garra Rufa Spa – Maintenance Tips
A Garra Rufa spa should always keep its fish tanks clean to benefit not just the clients but the fish as well. Standard-size tanks should contain only 120 to 220 fish, while a full body garra rufa system can house 700 to 1000 fish, except when they are larger than the standard size. Lower water temperature is bad for the fish because it reduces their desire to feed. To keep the temperature consistent, thermostatically controlled heaters may be used. These swimmers do not have teeth, so one indication that they are not authentic Kangal fish is when they feel like pin pricks when sucking on the skin.