How far would you go for beauty? Would you let an expert work bird poop (sorry) into your pores... or dunk your feet into a pool of flesh eating fish? Okay, so this sounds a bit absurd and almost morbid, but when professionals of beauty charge high prices for obscure treatments, fanatics of the newest trends go running. We count on professionals to introduce treatments that are both beneficial and safe, so there must be some reason for the fish pedicure and geisha facial - reasons explored below.
Note: these are not for the unadventurous spirit.
The Geisha Facial
Uguisu no fun (nightingale droppings) has been used for centuries by Japanese Geisha's and Kabuki actors to cleanse the face of heavy stage makeup while replenishing it with moisture. The active ingredient in uquisu no fun is guanine, a nucleobase and amino acid that adheres to skin layers and creates a reflective glow. Guanine is often used in a powdered dust form to add shimmer to beauty products. The scent is neutralized and the droppings sterilized, so sit back, relax, and see what mid-town Manhattan has been raving about for the past year.
Spa owner Shizuka Bernstein: "I'm always trying to bring Japanese culture to my spa... I heard my mother talk about this treatment when I was a little girl." (Reuters)
IMO, the Japanese know a thing or two about health and beauty - judging from the obscene amounts of green tea and sashimi that body and beauty aware people drown in daily... and that Okinawa has the world's longest life expectancy. So I'll take Shizuka's word for it and go for a Geisha facial the next time I am in NYC.
The Geisha Facial at Shizuku in NYC - 1 hour $180.00
The Fish Pedicure
This is a somewhat controversial treatment, marked illegal in Washington state due to sanitary concerns. But on the east coast, lives the first nail spa to offer the fish pedicure in the United States. The "nibble-fish" is called garra rufa and is a tiny toothless carp that feasts on dead skin. It is said to relieve symptoms of psoriasis, remove bacteria and promote mineral absorption into the pores, and some even say, cure non-skin related diseases.* The mighty nibble fish!
It began in Turkey in the 14th century when two brothers sat amongst the nibble fish in a natural hot spring. When word spread that it had cured skin ailments after just one bath, locals enlisted hot springs as an anecdote for many ailments.
Turkey attracts millions of tourists annually in search of time-honored rejuvenating treatments. And because these fish are protected by the Turkish government, you will likely be able to find an oasis to dip your tootsies into... but due to popularity of the hot springs, don't expect solitude. If travel to Turkey is not on your agenda, look for a spa offering a fish pedicure in your area. Word is spreading, but the odd-duck fish pedicure is still rare in the US.
Yvonne Hair and Nails - Alexandria VA I $55.00 for a 20 minute soak and pedicure
*These are beauty treatments - not officially recommended by doctors to cure disease.