Fishy goings on in Watford

Garra Rufa fish pedicures are currently all the rage so Hertfordshire Life editor Clare Bourke decides to find out what all the fuss is about

Garra Rufa fish pedicures are currently all the rage so Hertfordshire Life editor Clare Bourke decides to find out what all the fuss is about

I have always been a bit squeamish so the thought of sticking my feet into a tank of 100 to 150 little fish was not something I was looking forward to. But a job is a job so when I was offered the chance to try it for myself at Appy Feet in the Harlequin shopping centre, Watford, I threw caution to the wind. And I am so glad I did.

On arrival at the store – one of 26 owned by the ever-expanding company – I was greeted by the very cheerful and friendly Luke Miles who welcomed me enthusiastically and took me through to the tanks.

There are 12 tanks in three sets of four, each with its own comfy perch, which makes it an extremely sociable experience as you never know who you will be sitting next to.

Health questions out of the way – to make sure I don’t have any cuts, sores, veruccas, blisters or athletes foot – it was time for a quick rinse of my feet and then I was positioned on a seat with my feet resting on the edge of my own individual little tank below.

Luke could sense my nervousness so suggested I might want to put one foot in at a time or just my heels first. After a lot of deliberation and false starts I finally took the plunge and put both in at the same time. Immediately my feet and ankles were covered with the tiny fish – no more than a couple of inches big and some much smaller – which started nibbling.

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Ok, I admit it, I let out a total girly squeal that could be heard a long way off but once I had got over my urge to yank my feet back out and run away I actually started to enjoy it. The fish simply nibble all the hard skin off of your feet leaving them fresh and revitalised. It’s also good for circulation too and can be used on hands.

They do really tickle, especially when they are between your toes or on the sole of your foot, and it is the weirdest sensation – one you can still feel even after you have removed your feet and dried them.

The 15 minutes was up all too soon and left me wanting to go back for more. Luke tells me it is popular for staff outings – I can see why – and that the shop has a wealth of regular customers who come in every week.

Appy Feet doesn’t take appointments but it’s a quick turnaround so is never a problem. As Luck explains, ‘The best thing is it’s only a 15 minute treatment so the waiting time is never very long. Plus people can come through and just have a look before they decide to give it a go.’

The water is changed each night and sterilised eight times a day so there’s no need to worry about cleanliness.

One of the best things about the place is how much the people who work there seem to love their jobs, Luke being one of them: ‘We have such a good time here, I love working here. Everyone who comes in is excited to be trying it and everyone comes in happy. Plus it’s great to watch people’s reaction.’

Indeed, shrieks of joy, surprise and trepidation are all too common as I found out just on my visit, and I could see exactly what Luke meant. Will I go back? Most definitely – and I’ll be taking a few friends along with me too!

How much does it cost?

Foot spa treatments - �10 for 15 minutes, �20 for 35 minutes

Hand spa treatments - �5 for 5 minutes, �10 for 15 minutes

Try it for yourself?

Appy Feet in is situated on the ground floor of the Harlequin Shopping Centre, close to the Palace Car Park. The store is a walk-in service with no appointments but waiting time will generally be no longer than 15 minutes., 01923 251979

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