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The downside of fish spas
- Published: 8 Apr 2013 at 09.48
- Online news:
It's a holiday today, so we are recycling one of our most popular stories ever. Having little fish clean off the dead skin of your feet can be a relaxing experience, but there may be a risk of serious infection
For some reason this is one of the most read stories we have ever done. Even now, more than two years after we first published it in March 2011, it still get 30 to 50 readers every day.
The downside of fish spas
Thailand is fast becoming one of the world’s top spots for spa treatments, so it is not surprising that fish spas are big here as well.
They have grown rapidly in popularity in recent years as they have started appearing in shopping centres, walking streets and tourist areas.
Somchai Pinyopornpanch, director general of the Public Health Ministry's Health Services Support Department says there are 1,341 fish spas registered with the Interior Ministry but it is estimated a further 3,000 unregistered spas are in operation.
Fish spa treatment basically involves customers placing their feet into a water tank filled with toothless garra rufa fish – also known as "doctor fish". Within seconds, an army of fish will gather at the customer's feet and nibble the dead skin tissue away. The treatment typically costs 200-300 baht for a 30-minute session.
Most customers find the treatment to be relaxing and it seems harmless enough, but now the president of the Dermatological Society of Thailand is warning that fish spas are not risk-free.
Assoc Prof Nopadon Noppakun says fish spa operators who fail to keep hygienic standards are putting their customers at great risk.
"It's both the fish and the water that could cause infection," he says.
"The point is whether or not fish spa operators change the spa water regularly.
“Let's just put it this way: when we medical practitioners clean a patient's wound, we use sterilised medical tools for every patient and we won't reuse them with the next patient for infection-control reasons," Dr Nopadon explains.
"A customer steps into the spa water and if, unfortunately, he or she happens to have an infectious wound, the infection can definitely spread to other people who step into that very same spa tank."
The risk of infection recently caused 14 US states to ban fish spas.
Adapted from story in today’s Bangkok and a story by Arusa Pisuthipan in yesterday’s Bangkok Post. You can read her full story here: http://bit.ly/exLGCU
downside – the disadvantages or less positive aspects of something ผลเสีย
spot – the particular place where someone or something is ที่, สถานที่
popularity – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people ความเป็นที่นิยม, ความเป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
appear – to be seen; to start to be seen ปรากฏ
register – to put your name and other information on an official list in order to be allowed to do something, e.g., do business, vote, study, stay in a hotel etc ลงทะเบียน
Interior Ministry – the Thai ministry with responsibility over the Royal Thai Police, local administrations, internal security, citizenship, disaster management, land management, issuing national identity cards and public works กระทรวงมหาดไทย
estimated – thought to be a particular amount, size, etc. based on a guess or the best information available ประมาณการ
in operation – working; doing business ดำเนินการ
basically – in the most important ways, without considering things that are less important โดยพื้นฐาน, โดยแท้จริง, โดยทั่วๆ ไป
involve – to be an important or necessary part or result of something เกี่ยวพัน, พัวพัน
gather – to come together in a group รวมกลุ่ม, รวมตัวกัน,
nibble – to take small bites of something, especially food เล็ม, แทะ, กัดทีละน้อย
tissue – the substance that animal and plant cells are made of เนื้อเยื้อ
typically – usually; normally อย่างเป็นแบบฉบับ
session – a period of time that is spent doing a particular activity ระยะเวลา, ช่วงเวลา
relaxing – helping you to rest and become less anxious ซึ่งช่วยให้ผ่อนคลาย
harmless – unable or unlikely to cause damage or harm ซึ่งไม่เป็นอันตราย
dermatology – the scientific study of skin diseases (adjective form: dermatological) ตจวิทยา
warn – to make someone conscious of a possible problem or danger เตือน
risk – the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง
hygienic – clean and not likely to cause illness or disease ถูกสุขอนามัย
standards – a level of quality that is normal or acceptable for a particular person or in a particular situation มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน
infection – a disease or medical condition that is caused by a bacteria or by a virus or a parasite การติดเชื้อ
regularly – done or happening often, especially with the same time and space in between each activity and the next เป็นประจำ, เสมอๆ
medical practitioners – doctors, nurses and other medical workers
wound – an injury in which your skin or flesh is damaged บาดแผล
sterilise – to kill the bacteria in or on something ทำให้ปราศจากเชื้อ
patient – someone who is receiving medical treatment คนป่วย, คนไข้
infectious – able to cause an infection ติดต่อกันได้
spread – to (cause to) cover, reach or have an effect on a wider or increasing area or number of people กระจายไปทั่ว
ban – to officially say that someone is not allowed to do something ห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ