IT’S the latest in beauty treatments — and now a fish pedicure is available in Henley.
Char’s Nails and Beauty in Greys Road is the first salon in the town to offer the treatment.
Customers submerge their feet into a tank of 140 garra rufa fish, which nibble at dead skin cells and leave softening enzymes on the surface of the skin.
Char Law, 36, who used to run the business from her home in Twyford before moving to Henley four years ago, said: “I did some research after reading so much about it in beauty magazines and went to Brighton to try it myself. I was amazed by it.
“At first, it tickles a little bit but once you get over that, it’s like a very gentle massage and the enzymes carry on working afterwards.”
Mrs Law, who is in business with her parents Clive and Sue Sanchez, believes the treatment will replace normal pedicures and that it is “fantastic” for people suffering from psoriasis or eczema.
She said: “I have had pedicures all my life but had never had such soft feet as after I had it done in Brighton — they felt like a young child’s feet.”
Mrs Law paid almost £5,000 for the fish and to have the tanks installed as well as refurbishing the salon. The pedicure, which costs £20 for 15 minutes, originated in Turkey.
The toothless fish, which have a life expectancy of nine years, have to be kept in water at about 30 degrees and require nutrients to supplement their diet.
As the popularity of the beauty treatment has grown, critics have called it unhygienic. They say there is a risk of infection because the same fish are used on all clients.
But Mrs Law said: “We have huge filters which work 24 hours a day and the water is being constantly filtered as you have the pedicure and there are UV lights to kill all the bacteria.” Clients’ feet are cleaned and checked before a pedicure by Mrs Law or one of her five staff.
A launch party to celebrate the arrival of the fish will be held on Sunday from 10am to 4pm, when wine and nibbles will be served.
Vouchers will be given to the first 20 people who arrive and discounts are available to people who make bookings.
A raffle will be held in aid of the Chiltern Centre for disabled children, which is also in Greys Road.
For more information, visit www.charsnailsandbeauty.com or call (01491) 412593.