Natural Fish Spa Day In The River Khanom, Thailand

Natural Fish Spa Day In The River Khanom, Thailand

Natural Fish Spa Day In The River Khanom, Thailand

Khanom is the unspoiled natural charm of Southern Thailand. I remember a trip to the natural fish spa at the Tontarn Resort and Spa in Kuan Thong sub-district of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand.

There was a rage for fish spas where these “Doctor Fish” are kept in glass tanks in shopping malls and even night markets.

You may see the fish spa tanks in Malaysia and in Bangkok, Chiangmai and other cities. However, in Khanom, experiencing the natural fish spa in a  river setting is what Thailand does best to promote eco-tourism.

NATURAL POOLS

Tontarn Resort and Spa has a natural fish spa set in lush nature sitting on a stream with outdoor pools. The pools teem with Garra Rufa fish, also called “doctor fish”.

This small species of cyprinid fish is native to river basins of Turkey. The Turkish people find the healing properties of the fish to alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema.

The beautifying effect that Garra Rufa fish have on the skin is quite dramatic. These little fish will only eat and remove any dead skin, leaving healthy skin to grow.

There is two marked difference of the natural spas in comparison to normal fish spas. For starters, these fish are larger and could measure up to three inches. Secondly, there are hundreds and possibly thousands of fish in the interconnecting pools.

Natural Fish Spa Day In The River Khanom, Thailand
A fish spa in a natural river setting is what Thailand does best to promote eco-tourism. Photos: Doris Lim
Natural Fish Spa Day In The River Khanom, Thailand
There are timber decks to sit around the pools in the cool settings. Photos: Doris Lim

FISH SPA TREATMENT

The experience of the fish gently nibble away at the skin of the feet can be quite ticklish at first. The fish will only nibble away dead skin.

Many people will scream out when the fish start nibbling. Even though the sensation is just ticklish, many are apprehensive to put their feet into pools full of fish.

Garra Rufa fish don’t bite but gently suck the dead outer layer skin off. During the removal, the fish produce an enzyme that has a vitalizing effect to grow the new skin.

As I had a pedicure a week before my trip, the fish only took a few precautionary nibbles. I had a good laugh looking on. My companion screamed whenever he put his feet into the water. His rough soles and hairy feet was a magnet for the fish. Most of the fish in the pool would leave other feet to “attack” whenever he dipped his feet in the water.

Natural Fish Spa Day In The River Khanom, Thailand
This boy was screaming loudly when he saw the fishes swimming in the pool waiting. Photos: Doris Lim
Natural Fish Spa Day In The River Khanom, Thailand
It’s fun to go in a group to try this relaxing treatment. Photos: Doris Lim
Natural Fish Spa Day In The River Khanom, Thailand
The fish will only nibble away dead skin and the sensation is ticklish to most people. Photos: Doris Lim
Natural Fish Spa Day In The River Khanom, Thailand
A closer look at “Dr Fish” cleaning the soles and cuticles around the toes. Photos: Doris Lim

TICKLISH? YES!!!

Most visitors will laugh or even squeal as it is can be ticklish depending on your sensitivity. It is quite relaxing to soak your feet in the cool waters.

At the end of almost an hour, we got up from the ponds. Our feet felt soft and silky. The new skin feels softer and healthier.

We were informed by the operators that the local elderly are fond of this popular treatment as the process helps promote blood circulation.

It was an enjoyable experience and definitely a lot of fun!

PRECAUTIONS

According to Wikipedia, this species of freshwater fish is used for treating skin diseases. Garra rufa, the Red Garra is a nibbling fish, a small species of cyprinid fish that is native to rivers, streams, ponds and lakes in Anatolia and the Middle East.
Since the early 21st century, Garra rufa have been integrated into a spa treatment where they feed on the skin of patients with psoriasis. The doctor fish treatment is found to alleviate the symptoms of psoriasis, however, this is not a cure for the disease. There is no cure for psoriasis that currently exists. The use of the fish as a spa treatment for the wider public is still widely debated on grounds of efficacy and validity.

For visitors suffering from psoriasis or other skin conditions or sensitivities, do check with the spa first. 

WHAT’S ELSE ON THE FARM?

Tontarn Resort and Spa has a sheep farm and shares the paddock with goats and alpacas. This is one of the many ecotourism hot spots for sustainable travel in the Land of Smiles.

Tontarn Resort and Spa | 100 Moo 1, T.Khuntong, A.Khanom, Near Center,
Khanom (Nakhon Si Thammarat), Thailand, 80210 | Telephone: +66 81 945 0263

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