Fish Pedicure: Review of Its Current Dermatology Applications

Cureus. 2020 Jun 30;12(6):e8936. doi: 10.7759/cureus.8936.


Ichthyotherapy or fish pedicure is a unique form of biotherapy in which the species Garra rufa or doctor fish is used to exfoliate the skin and potentially aid in healing diseases, such as psoriasis. The practice has gained popularity since its origins in Kangal Fish Spring in Turkey; however, safety concerns, especially among immunocompromised patients, remain. This article reviews the studied dermatological benefits of ichthyotherapy and theorized mechanisms of action. Included are cases examining both infectious and noninfectious complications of this procedure. This review highlights the need to educate susceptible patients about possible adverse effects and the need for more studies assessing this procedure.

Keywords: complementary medicine; crypinidae; fishes; psoriasis.

Publication types

  • Review