Tuesday, December 16, 2014

[REVIEW] Garra rufa fish spa and paraffin hand bath treatments

Last month was my birthday, and one of my presents was a fish spa treatment and a paraffin hand bath. I never experienced it before, so I was very excited about it.

My bestie and I first tried to find a place nearby that offers said treatment, and once we did, we immediately made an appointment. We were lucky to get an appointment on the same day. And because of the excitement I forgot to take my camera with me, so I made a few photos with my mobile. So please excuse the low quality.

The spa we went to is called Fish Spa Albergen, located in Albergen, the Netherlands. It's privately owned and located in a small farm. I was expecting a little town or a city, since I've never been to this area before, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it was an actual farm!

We were greeted by Diana, the owner of the spa, who was very friendly and professional. And after the initial greetings and introductions, we went ahead with the treatment.

First we washed our feet and Diana checked them for wounds, warts, fungal infections (mainly onychomycosis), and once we got the 'ok' we put on plastic bag shoes (do they have a special name?) and moved on to the aquariums. We each got to sit at a separate aquarium, so we don't have to share fish :D

We had booked a 15-minute treatment, because it was our first time and we didn't know what to expect. But since the fish was reluctant at the first 10 minutes or so, Diana was generous to let us do the half hour treatment.

Finally when the fish realized there were feet in the water, they started swimming towards them. And I must admit that I started giggling like a 5-year old! The feeling was weird, ticklish, and honestly, no matter how I describe it I won't be able to do it justice. After the initial ticklish feeling comes the soft massage feeling, and that's when I finally relaxed at the idea (and view) of dozens of tiny fishes nibbling at my feet. I enjoyed it so much! It really is a nice and relaxing foot massage if you can handle the tiny tickles.

While the fish was busy doing its job, Diana told us about the spa, and how she takes care of the fish (she also breeds and sells them for those who want to have a home spa or have a similar business) and she also told us about the benefits of the garra rufa fish treatment.
  • The garra rufa fish removes the dead skin cells. They have no teeth, but they suck the dead skin off your feet.
  • The micro-pulsed suction creates a massage feeling which activates the blood circulation in your feet.
  • After the dead skin cells are removed, the skin underneath is stronger and healthier than before.

After we were done with the foot treatment, we were served coffee and sweets (tea was also offered, but we are the coffee kind of people xD) and chatted a bit, and afterwards we went on to the second part of our package, which was a paraffin hand bath.

Paraffin wax is a mineral wax derived from petroleum. Unlike the wax used for depilatory procedures, which is viscous and sticky to bond to hair and skin, paraffin wax is a soft wax with a low melting point, which means that it melts at a temperature cool enough to safely immerse your skin.

At first Diana gave us a nice hand massage using a hand scrub, and after washing the scrub off it was time for the paraffin bath. As the birthday girl I got to go first.

My first reaction? "HOOOTTT!" And I got called a chicken for that xD So my bestie went ahead first (she's braver than I am!) and when it was my turn again I realized it wasn't really as hot as I thought it was. Once your hand is immersed into the bath, you adjust to the temperature almost immediately, and then it's a pleasant warmth and seeps into your whole body.

I didn't make a photo of the paraffin bath. But you can google "paraffin hand bath" and check the images there if you want to know how it looks like.

The paraffin sits around your hand like a glove, and it feels really nice, warm, and oily! Diana wrapped our hands in a plastic bag, and then into a washing mitt. After about 10 minutes my hands started feeling cold, which was the indication that the paraffin has cooled off and it was time to remove it. Diana removed it for us, and it came off like a glove! How awesome! It left a nice layer of oil on the hands, which she massaged in for a bit and then we were done.

The oil gets absorbed slowly, but it doesn't leave any unpleasant feeling like when you use body butter on your hands. Nope. It's pleasant and keeps your hands soft for a long time. It even smells nice, though I couldn't pin-point what the scent reminded me of.

My overall impression of the spa, the treatment, and Diana's professionalism is highly positive. We're definitely going back there for another treatment in the future.

The Fish Spa Albergen has a website (in Dutch) where you can find out more about it and the services they offer. >>click here for the website<< They also have a facebook page if you prefer to check them out there.

Have you tried either of those treatments? How was your experience?

Until next time!


  1. I've heard of these and am really interested to try, but I don't know if they exist in the U.S. yet.

    1. Sorry for the late reply. They do exist in the US, but to my knowledge, some states have banned them. I don't live there so I don't know where to look for one. You can try googling for a fish spa in your state/area, and you might find something. Good luck!

  2. I`d love to try! I`ve never seen something like this before.