Body Heat, Fulham
By Fenella Brown
Fish pedicures are everywhere. So much so that you can now get one in almost every beauty salon in the UK. With my feet desperately needing a bit of TLC prior to my holiday, I decided to find out what all the fuss was about. When I booked a session online (via Groupon), I assumed that would include a shape and polish – but realised my mistake when I rang to book an appointment at BodyHeat in Fulham, London, and discovered the 30 minute session was an audience with the ‘doctor fish’ only. Any filing and painting would be extra.
On arrival at the salon I was asked to complete a questionnaire about any ailments I may be suffering from, and given a towelling robe and white flip flops to change into. I declined the robe and adorned the flip flops, before being directed to a marble sink, resplendent with waterfall tap, to cleanse my feet and thus prevent the wee fishes from choking on any fluff that may have been lurking between my toes. I was then fit to be presented to the Garra Rufa fish.
The entrance is on street level but I had to go downstairs and the floor was polished marble so slippery when wet – although the flip flops would help to prevent a fall. The large tanks containing nothing but the fish, were located in a pleasant basement room kitted out with creamy polished marble. Once I was comfortably seated on an ivory coloured leather ‘throne’, I became quite nervous at the prospect of dipping my tootsies, ankles and calves into the water containing what, in my imagination, were piranha fish.However, since the other clients were peacefully reading magazines, and the tanks containing their feet were not bubbling cauldrons of blooded water I, with a certain amount of trepidation, gave up my feet to their fate.
Points out of 10: 6
Ease of application
Initially, having around 30 small grey fish, each with a large eye on either side of their heads, latching on to my feet and ankles and gently sucking, was a bit of an odd sensation and I sat ridged and quietly squealing in my seat. Then, after some minutes wondering whether the experience was comparable to breast feeding, I began to relax and chat to the other two people in the room (one male, one female) in hushed tones. Whenever there was a loud noise, the fish disappeared into a huddle in the corner of the tank, waiting for calm to return, therefore, the staff left us pretty much to ourselves.
Points out of 10: 5
30 minutes was way to short for someone who wears trainers and runs a few times a week. I did find the skin on my feet was less hoof-like – although I would have needed to spend the entire evening with my feet immersed in a fish bowl to have made any real improvement. It was an interesting experience, but I think I’ll return to pedicures from humans until such a time when fish learn the art of pushing back cuticles and applying polish.
Points out of 10: 4
Customer service / Quality
The staff were very friendly and not at all pretentious – unusual for Fulham! Prices vary for a 30 minute session but BodyHeat charge £30 and £50 with a shape and polish.
Points out of 10: 7