By Mary N. DiZazzo

Fish Is For Friday’s!

Ciao bella,

In the summer of 2007 while reading the Cape Cod Times I noticed an article how sushi was getting it's just revenge. In Tokyo there is a hot springs spa “Ooedo-Onsen-Monogatore,”known to be the largest bather’s Eden in Tokyo and most beautiful. A new treatment was added to its menu: Doctor Fish’s “pedicure” and “manicure.” So in the reversal of the food chain the fish dine on you.

The fish imported from Turkey are known scientifically as Garra rufa. There is an old Turkish legend about a Shepard who injured his foot and put it in a hot spring full of these small fish. The foot healed and word spread. A treatment center for skin ailments grew around the springs near the Turkish town of Kangal.

The practice spread through Asia using the small garra rufa. These new employees of the Oonsen have an appetite for dry, flaking human skin. The fish act like living pumice stones, munching off the dead epidermis and leaving behind baby-smooth skin.

The 20-minute Doctor Fish foot treatment is done in an indoor pool about the size of a small koi pond. The 15 minute hand option takes place in an aquarium size tank. Dip your hand in and wait in mild horror.

I chalked this tid-bit up as a cultural eccentricity, only to hear more about how it’s come to the US. As a minor celebrity in Alexandria, Virginia, John Ho, has imported the Doctor Fish pedicure from Chengdu, China ($40,000 for 10,000 fish).

Good Morning America gave him a spot and treated Diane Sawyer (the host) to a Doctor Fish pedicure! He now has 4 active franchises in Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and Missouri. His investment seems to have paid off so far except for a number of states whose Cosmetology Boards have banned the practice with concerns of sanitation. Some salons are stuck with the fish for display only and empty pockets.

The lenient states allowing this service have a point as one State Board Rep from Ohio stated: “Sanitation is what we’ve got to live with in this world, not sterility.” As long as the water is changed between each client most Cosmetology Boards agree it’s harmless.

The fish hostile states include New Hampshire, Washington, Georgia and Texas—so far. Although this controversy has certainly stirred up regulations, I’m going to stick to eating fish on Fridays only!

Buona Pasqua

--Mary N. DiZazzo-Trumbull

Read prior weeks' "All That Zazz" columns at Mary is a third-generation cosmetologist and a Massachusetts distributor of Kosmea brand rose hip oil products. She may be contacted at (978) 470-8183 or