Taking the weight off your feet

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Martin Moodie

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The commercial team at the new Rajiv Gandhi International Airport near Hyderabad have come up with some pretty exciting innovations over the past few months since the greenfield site opened. But their latest service for passengers surely counts as a true world first.

In order to relax the “mind, body and soul” before flying, the GMR-HIAL team charged with operating the airport, have introduced a new O2 Spa that includes, wait for it, India’s first ‘Fish Reflexology Center’.

Fish Reflexology is described as a “unique and revitalising therapy”, which includes a foot massage – with a difference. 

The passenger’s feet are placed in a warm pool, where they are “nibbled on” by a shoal of Turkish Garra Rufa fish. Reassuringly we are told that the fish consume only dead skin, leaving the feet smoother and healthier.

The O2 Spa – which naturally has been awarded to a sole concessionaire – also offers more traditional treatments, such as massages, pedicures, manicures and facials. No fish are used in any of these plaices, sorry, places.

What an intriguing concept. But this story comes with a health warning to other airport companies planning something similar. The choice of fish variety is crucial. The Moodie Report takes this opportunity to urgently advise airports in locations such as Paraguay, Guyana and other South American countries not to use the admirable but wholly inappropriate piranha fish (below).

While they will accelerate the stripping of skin and thus increase passenger throughput, such fish will be considerably less selective about which portions they ‘nibble’ and may not in fact stop at the feet.

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