Doctor fish

1 11 2011

After a Sunday devoted mainly to traveling (altogether, about 10 hours) and Aikido (about 4 hours practice), my dear friends in Hangzhou took me to a bath-sauna experience.

A really great place, another level respect to the smaller place I use here in Hefei (not complaining, still my only sauna place over here!!). But this one in Hangzhou, that serves also as hotel (mmhh.. next time in Hangzhou for a weekend I might decide to stay there!), has many more “attractions” than the one I am used to.

This reminds me more the ones I visited in Shanghai: the place was extremely well cured, both in the design and furniture details. Several pools with different temperature water (got that also in Hefei, a little smaller and quite dirtier water though!). An extremely good sauna: in Hangzhou they managed much better to deal with the air draft problem that they got in Hefei. Especially the door in Hangzhou had a good insulation and thickness: even if the sauna oven was placed on the entrance door side of the room the temperature of the sauna was quite stable and high. The buffet was amazing! Even better than some Shanghai places! I was not so hungry (no, I’m not sick!) but I enjoyed trying a few special things: seafood, soups, buns, meats, and much much more..

But once all these comparison detail are set aside, I can step to the main topic: in the male bath area (not sure about the female one) there is a special pool: a small one full of tiny fishes, apparently some sort of micro carp, otherwise called doctor fish! This pool is for a special skin treatment, that in Western countries refers
mainly as a pedicure session, but in China it is recommended for the whole body.

doctor fish

So you enter the pool, sit (or, if unsure, just let your legs in the water), and keep still. Then lots of these tiny fishes (that do not have teeth!!) will come to nibble at your skin. Doctor Fish are attracted to and feed on the dead and unhealthy skin cells on the human body, leaving the skin feeling smoother and softer. The feeling is.. weird! True that the fishes do not have teeth, but it seems like tiny needles poke you everywhere. It is not a bad feeling, even if in a couple of body areas, where the sensibility is quite high, the little pokers made me jumpy! And at every movement, they all swim away, for the returning to the “lunch table” as soon as the waters are calm again!

Somebody moves concerns about the hygiene, and I admit I did not even think about it until reading the page.. but at the same time it was a little disturbing seeing some of the dead little fishes just floating around.. and wondering if they were dead for the previous meal, or for what I did offer them.. and anyway what effect on the water I was immersed in! 😉

What does not kill you, makes you stronger!

I think this rule applies to.. China! As a whole!!

FUNNY THING OF THE DAY – Last night the taxi driver could not clearly understand the address he was supposed to take me to. Not uncommon. So, to be sure, he decided to write down on a piece of paper the address and get my confirmation.. because for him I was able to read written Chinese!!! In fact, of the street I wanted, I did know the first character, so I said yes, that one, as soon as he wrote it. But this is a further limitation of Chinese language for me: different from Japanese, where if unsure one can write using the phonetic hiragana and katakana, in China nobody would write pinyin, because the same sound belongs to several different characters, so it would be just more confusing.