When it comes to beauty treatments, more spas are looking to the animal kingdom for ideas. There are the snails, whose mucus leaves a trail of anti-aging and skin-rejuvenating properties on the skin of spa goers. There are the skin-eating fish pedicures and the bee-venom facials and the python massages. Now eels may be invading a spa near you.
The Guardian reports that some spas in China are offering an immersive full-body exfoliating experience where spa goers can climb into a bathtub filled with tiny eels, each about the size of a pencil. The eels will then proceed to eat the dead skin cells off the beauty seeker’s body. If you can stand the treatment, the result is supposedly smoother, softer skin.
While spas in the U.S. haven’t started offering the eel baths yet, UK health inspectors have been tasked with keeping an eye out for the imported treatment. A spokesman from the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH), which represents health inspectors, told the UK’s Daily Mail that it was vital that any new beauty treatment be subjected to a risk assessment to consider its impact on the public or the animals involved.
The Guardian also quotes Wendy Nixon, a health and safety consultant, who told CIEH that there were problems with the procedure, especially for those wearing loose-fitting swimwear. Men in particular may want to avoid this particular exfoliating technique. In April, The Daily Mail recounted the cautionary tale of Zhang Nan, a 56-year-old man from Hubei province in China. The paper quotes him as saying: “I climbed into the bath and I could feel the eels nibbling my body. But then suddenly I felt a severe pain and realised a small eel had gone into the end of my penis.” A three-hour operation later and Nan was eel free.
No word on whether his skin was any softer.