Garra Rufa Labs provides information to those who want to learn more about garra rufa fish. Commercially and non-commercially, garra rufa fish are used and loved by tens of  thousands of people all over the world for a very special and distinguished reason: its ability to remove dead skin from one’s body. As the global interest in the garra rufa fish and its potential on the beauty and health market rapidly increases, a lot of incorrect information can be found on the internet. Garra Rufa Labs is established to provide its knowledge and experience of the garra rufa fish and the fish spa market.

Although the actual healing abilities of the garra rufa fish on people suffering from skin disorders have never been scientifically proven, the stream of health seeking tourists to the thermal waters of Kangal in Turkey has been flourishing since the global discovery in the late 1960’s. These days, an annual 60,000 people from all over the world visit the so-called hot springs in Kangal for the treatment of their skin diseases, which is mainly psoriasis.

Fish that heal skin disorders?

It is often said that the Kangal garra rufa fish carry a special enzyme, called Dithranol, in the mouth. Dithranol is a medicine that is applied to the skin of people suffering from psoriasis. As Dithranol is extracted from a tree (the Araroba tree, which grows in tropical rainforests around the Amazon River) it is impossible that this is the enzyme that can be found in the saliva of the garra rufa fish. However, it is possible that the enzyme of the garra rufa fish shows similarity to the vegetable Dithranol and, therefore, has a positive effect on skin disorders.

Be sure to use original garra rufa fish

The Turkish government soon discovered the commercial touristic benefits of the thermal treatment spas in Kangal and banned the export of the Kangal garra rufa fish in 1996. Therefore, all garra rufa fish that are sold these days originate from breeding facilities. Often the garra rufa fish that are offered are cross-bred, look-a-like fish or garra rufa fish that are from the second or further generation in line. There are only a few companies in the world that offer first line or F1 original Turkish Kangal garra rufa fish, be sure to order from Garra Rufa Europe to acquire the correct ones.

How to order garra rufa fish.


The treatment with garra rufa fish took a radical turn when, in 1996, a Japanese man introduced a Doctor Fish Spa in his beauty centre. As garra rufa fish nibble dead, scrappy skin from a person’s body, the treatment was offered as a cosmetic skin peeling to his customers. Within days, people from all over the city gathered around the Doctor Fish Spa, stunned by the instincts of this special fish. The hilarious reactions of the people undergoing the treatment instantly made the Doctor Fish Spa a unique attraction in the province. Since then, the Doctor Fish Spa has rapidly spread throughout Asia, mushrooming in countries like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. In Bangkok, one can today find a single street with 31 shops offering the Doctor Fish Spa treatment!


Starting in 2007, the first Doctor Fish Spas opened in America. The treatment with garra rufa fish was banned for several years because of the use of fake (and much cheaper) doctor fish, called Chin-Chin. These Chinese bred fish grow teeth and can cause little, bleeding wounds on the skin. Hygienically, this is the worst thing that can happen in (public) pools. At this moment, only the original garra rufa fish can be used in America.


There has been no report of Chin-Chin fish in Europe this far and it seems that America has set an example for the rest of the world. Professional European Garra Rufa companies have been established offering complete Fish Spa Concepts, like the Garra Rufa FootSpa© Concept that thrives in countries like the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, France and Italy. In Europe the term “Garra Rufa Spa” is often used instead of “Doctor Fish Spa” to indicate the use of original Garra Rufa fish.

Garra Rufa Nederland