It sure sounds like a fishy tale but it seems true. There is a type of “live” fish called doctor fish that you can use for psoriasis treatment. For this treatment, you allow the fish to feed on the affected part of your skin. The more dead skin your have, the more these tiny fishes will come to you. Doctor fish is also known scientifically as Garra rufa.
The practice of using doctor fish to treat itchy skin was first used in the small towns of Kangal and Sivas in Turkey, where the fish are endemic. The spa in Kangal has been a psoriasis treatment centre since 1988. With no apparent cure for this disabling skin disorder, people from all parts of the world flock here for psoriasis treatment. Here, they get their first experience with the doctor fish nibbling away at their skin. Although psoriasis is the most widely known skin disorder treated here, dermatitis, eczema and most other itchy skin conditions also benefit well from the treatment.
The doctor fish have large appetites, as the high 36°C water temperature cannot produce enough nutrients for them. So they would get into a feeding frenzy when they come across scabby skin. The older and thicker your affected skin is, the more delicious it is to them.
However, not to worry. The fish apparently only loves dead skin. They will leave your healthy skin alone. The result? Those who experience having doctor fish to treat itchy skin emerge from the water with healthy, glowing, fully buffed skin.
If you would like to give it a go, then this is what you need to do at the spa: immerse yourself in the pool eight hours a day for 21 days. Before having breakfast each day, you are supposed to drink a minimum of three glasses of healing water on an empty stomach. You are also not allowed to take other medicine or medication during the period.
It is said that their mouths are made for licking and nibbling away the psoriatic plaques and scaly skin. The saliva in the mouths of doctor fish is the vital element in the treatment; others also credit the selenium-rich waters (1 gram per liter concentration) of the spa plus the high altitude Turkish sunshine (ultraviolet is beneficial for psoriasis treatment). The effects are temporary; psoriasis treatment using doctor fish to help is by no means a cure. However, the benefits can last for a few months.
Some of those who have experienced this unconventional psoriasis treatment have gone on to set up their own doctor fish spas in other countries. You can now find spas with doctor fish to treat itchy skin in Germany, Ireland, and Austria. There are also spas in Asia such as Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. One other benefit when you go to these spas for psoriasis treatment is the chance to interact and bond with other psoriasis sufferers. Having psoriasis can be a depressing affair but it sure helps to know that you are not alone.