SARASOTA COUNTY, FL – A popular way to get a pedicure is now banned in the state of Florida. Ladies have been lining up for fish pedicures, but now the Board of Cosmetology has put a stop to it.
It’s Gina Dello’s day off, and there is only one reason she came to AJ’s Salon and Spa — to get a fish pedicure. “It just sounded like something unusual and weird, and it’s my day off, and I thought I would try it…but no more.”
The tanks at the spa used to be full of fish. Customers would put their feet in the water, and tiny carp would eat away the dead skin on their feet. Customers say their feet were very smooth afterward.
But last month, the Florida Board of Cosmetology banned the pedicures. “The main issue is the requirement to clean the utensils between customers, and that’s not something they felt could be done when using a live animal.” Plus there’s a state rule that prohibits animals or pets in cosmetology salons.
At AJ’s, the owner said he did 200 fish pedicures a week. People paid $35 to have fish eat off their feet. “It helped my business, especially in recession time, it really helped. But law is law. We cannot break law, so we shut it down,” says Johnny Tran of AJ’s Salon and Spa.
Tran’s Sarasota County salon was actually the first in the state to offer the fish pedicures, but the owner says these tiny carp have been around for centuries. They were used in ancient Asia to help cure Psoriasis.
Now the fish will be sent back to the supplier, and the custom-made tanks are empty. And the owner of AJ’s says he’ll just have to look for another way to catch the attention of customers.
State regulators say salons have to stop doing the pedicures immediately. Inspectors will be looking for violators. They say they don’t think there were health risks with the fish pedicures, but banned them just to be safe.
Note: Last year Spavelous warned spa owners not to invest in expensive equipment prior to checking with the state on their regulations. Read Garra Ruffa Article