From the outside you would be forgiven for thinking Coco Nail Bar is a swanky cocktail bar. The blistering day I visited there was a huddle of tourists around the windows taking photos and exclaiming, ‘Was ist das?’ and ‘Sont-ils des poisons!’ The kafuffle was over tanks of tiny garra rufa fish, otherwise known as ‘doctor fish’ with clients dangling their feet in. The fish originate from the outdoor pools of Turkish spas. Unlike popular myth, the fish don’t actually bite you (they don’t have any teeth). They have a unique enzyme called diathranol in their mouths which prevents fast development of skin cells thereby alleviating skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, acne and warts. They can also stimulate acupuncture points helping to regulate the nervous system.
I was asked if I would like a drink from their in-house cocktail bar (I opted for an ice-cold glass of sparkling water as it wasn’t a suitable hour to be drinking). They can also have sushi delivered for you fresh from next door at Ukai Sushi.
My therapist checked my feet for any cuts, then sanitised them with a chemical solution and gave them a rinse. I was then guided over to my tank where I tentatively dipped my tootsies in. I’m not a feet person I don’t like my feet to be acknowledged so it was quite alarming to see the fish swarm towards them. I’m also incredibly ticklish and kicked my last pedicurist in the head however the fish didn’t tickle me at all, their gentle nibbles felt like tiny water jet bubbles and I settled down to watch The Kardashians on a large flat screen TV – just as I began to relax the tourists who had huddled outside came in and actually watched me!
After 20 minutes in the tank my therapist dried my feet and led me to a beast of a chair that once sat in massaged me in places I had no idea I ached. My feet then went through the usual pedicure treatment of filing, clipping and snipping followed by a slick of Essie nail varnish (I chose in a raspberry shade).
My feet were definitely a lot softer in comparison to when I just go at them with a pumice stone and thanks to the fish, the pedicurist didn’t have to file my feet for too long which is generally when someone gets kicked.