How Do They Disinfect the Leeches?

Actually, as it turns out, they don’t. The FDA approved leeches and maggots as “medical devices” a few years ago and with all this talk about fish pedicures, I thought maybe I could make some correlations. But no, the company that “makes” maggots for medicinal use calls them “disinfected.” But that term has more to do with how they are bred. Maggots don’t last long and they only get used once. Leeches are treated as hazardous waste and are usually destroyed after use, or used for breeding new leeches.


Anyway...this is about pedicures.


Those fish pedicures, to be exact.


I wrote a blog on my MySpace page about fish pedicures a while ago. I think I managed to convey my initial reaction to the subject and I won’t bother reiterating it here. But now a salon in Washington state has been told they can’t offer them there (a decision the industry is cheering) and I’m just not sure I quite agree with that either.


On one hand, I can’t quite manage to grasp the popularity of the treatment. I have pretty much decided it’s the novelty factor that makes it popular.


On the other hand, before we go making any declarations or judgments, maybe we ought to really look into this. Maybe we should not be so quick to vilify a new idea or technique just because it uses a live animal or because it originates from another country or because it’s being introduced to us by a specific salon demographic. Think about it — why does it bother you so much? Because I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, and I honestly can’t find a really good reason to be against the idea. (I sure as heck would rather see salons using fish than Credo blades.)


I doubt we’re going to be seeing a mass onslaught of fish pedicure salons — those little suckers (literally) are expensive! Where are these salons getting that kind of money? And I can’t say I’m interested in getting one of these pedicures, let along offering them. But I’m disappointed to hear such loathing and resistance to new ideas.


One article I read about the closure of the salon in Kent, Wash., quoted an inspector who said there just isn’t a precedent for this type of service, so there’s no regulation available for it. That’s a poor excuse for outlawing it. Find a good reason. Don’t shut it down just because it’s never been done before.


I’m all for new ideas, even wacky ones, but I also support doing the necessary research to ensure the safety of my clients before bringing a new idea to my service menu. But if the FDA can manage to approve maggots as “medical devices” maybe flesh-eating fish aren’t such a bad thing either? Point is, we don’t know yet. And as long as we insist on jumping to conclusions or making snap judgments, we never will.




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