Fish Kiss Spa, Aztec Spar, Torquay

PUBLISHED: 01:16 17 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:23 20 February 2013

Anna Turns gets pampered from head to toe at Aztec Spar, Torquay

Fish Kiss Spa
Anna Turns gets pampered from head to toe

Even as a reflexologist, the concept offish nibbling away at my feetto clean them was a strange one! However, I waspleasantly surprisedon my visit to Aztec Spa in Torquay.

On arrival, Rebecca Laight introduced me to her400 Garra Rufa fish, her pride and joy, which live in four tanks at one end of the relaxation area of the spa. After her nine-year-old daughter first saw this fish spa on American television, Rebecca searched for somewhere to try this experience for herself. Although thisorganic pedicurehad recently become all the rage in London and the Midlands, the nearest location was Bristol, where Rebecca and her daughter tried it and became complete converts. Its definitely not a gimmick it actually works and youll feel great afterwards, says Rebecca, who decided to bring these fish to Devon and opened her Fish Kiss Spa in February this year. Since opening, it just took off, says Rebecca, who is now heading for a busy summer season.

Sometimes I feel like I have become a marine biologist! says Rebecca, who works as a dance teacher, but since opening she cleans out the fish tanks daily tokeep fish in their optimum environment. Water is constantly filtered and refreshed, as much for the health of the fish as for that of the next customer. The fish are so important to me, and I make sure they have scheduled coffee breaks so they only work for 45 minutes out of each hour, explains Rebecca. This way, they are always hungry and ready to clean feet, so the customer always receives a great treatment.

As I immersed both my feet into the spa tank, I couldnt ignore theinitial intense tickly feelingas the minnow-sized fish begin to suck away at your dead and loose skin. The Garra Rufa fish from Turkey also produce an enzyme containing dithranol,a natural healing enzymethat is found in most rejuvenating therapy creams, whichstimulates the growth of new skin cells.

"One of the major health benefits isrelief from psoriasis and eczema, explains Rebecca, because the fish target the plaques of sore, red and thickened skin. The lady next to me, a weekly customer, finds the fish spa is a much more effective treatment for eczema than any prescribed creams have been.

After theinitial intensitywears off, it feelsquite comfortable. After 30 minutes of natural exfoliation and micro-massagemy feet feltsofter and totally relaxed.

After a brief break in the cosy relaxation area, an underground retreat with a rainforest feel, head therapist Liz Downs took me through to her treatment room for a Visible Brilliance facial. She used indulgent Elemis products on my skin and rosewood essential oils. As well asdeep cleansing and face packs, the treatment included a relaxing arm, hand and scalp massage. To finish, Liz gave mytoe nails a shine and polish, and I felt totally pampered.

A world away from conveyor-belt-type treatments, the atmosphere in the Aztec Spa gavea sense of escape from the real world, and with such friendly and attentive staff I felt indulged.

Above all, the Fish Kiss addsan element of noveltyto the more traditional spa treatments I will certainly recommend it!

Aztec Spa, Falkland Road, Torquay. 01803 400190,

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