Many Christmases ago, there was a very popular toy called "Tickle Me Elmo." The red stuffed toy would giggle when you press it.
Over the weekend, something reminded me of that toy, I will call it "Tickle Me Nemo (although it is not really a clown fish)." I found myself in the historic streets of Malacca, Malaysia. As I combed the streets with a friend, we found one old Peranakan house offering Fish Spa. For only RM7, you get thirty minutes of serious fish nibbling action on your feet. These doctor fish are said to eat the dead areas of the skin, leaving the healthy skin to grow.
Doctor Fish at work on my feet. (Malacca, Malaysia)
I've never tried it before. But hey, I always am willing to try almost anything. My friend enjoyed this many times in Singapore, spending much more ($38 Singapore dollars for 20 minute fish spa and 20 minute foot reflexology).But these fish in Malacca were much bigger. The owner, a Korean gentleman, encouraged me to try it. With his strong Korean accent, he said this fish was from Africa (not sure if this is true. Fish spas began in Turkey). They were bigger and darker than the usual doctor fish I've seen before.
My friend put her feet in then giggled for a minute or two then she was fine. I, on the other hand, could not get my feet into the outdoor pool under the air-well of the Peranakan house. I was actually terrified of the thought of these big fish nibbling on my toes. After much convincing, I finally put the right foot down. At least twenty fish came feeding on my feet. I was awfully ticklish. I giggled and pulled out my feet. I later realized just keeping your foot down there will eventually make the ticklish sensations subside. When I was brave enough, the left foot went down. A whole other 20 or so fish started nibbling this foot. And then, when I finally relaxed, it was actually enjoyable!
Aside from the exfoliation of dead skin, the micro massage sensations promote blood circulation, lightening of minor scars, easing of psoriasis and minor eczema. The last benefit was probably worth more than the RM7 I paid. It released stress and tension. The ticklish sensation causes perpetual laughter. So next time you find yourself in Malacca and are weary from all the walking, take a break with these docs. Giggle your way to good health!