Natural lakes with thermal hot springs at the core are undoubtedly beneficial for a variety of skin issues.Lake Vouliagmeni in Athens, is no exception – beautiful rock surroundings and mineral enriched waters form the basis of this established day retreat – but take a closer look, and you’ll also find a unique type of doctor waiting for you in the water in this natural fish spa.
Living in the natural sea and thermal spring waters of Lake Vouliagmeni, just outside of Athens city
centre, are shoals of Garra Rufa, otherwise known as Doctor Fish. These small fish naturally set to work at sloughing off any dead skin cells on your body, whilst you take a ‘relaxing’ swim in the water. The fish are said to help at cleaning the skin and providing a type of ‘massage’ whilst they do.
Vouliagmeni is therefore a lake with a difference. Whilst it might feel slightly odd to swim amongst the mineral waters and nibbling fishes in a colossal lake, you understand this is a natural phenomenon, which can in turn just be a bit of fun, if you don’t want to take the healing properties idea too far.
As the benefits of the Garra Rufa fish were discovered, Doctor Fish spas began to emerge across Europe, with differing points of views on their effectiveness and levels of hygiene standards. These type of outlets took the concept of destinations such as Lake Vouliagmeni, and turned them into initiatives for the mass providing Fish Spa treatments on the high street. Yet, it doesn’t seem quite so natural or beneficial, whilst sitting with your feet in a glass fish tank the size of your sink.
Is it for Me?
Lake Vouliagmeni is a beautiful natural lake, with the additional healing properties of the thermal waters, and the skin exfoliating Garra Rufa. You can spend a morning or afternoon at the lakes, taking a dip in the water and having lunch in their lakeside, decked café. If you’d like to have a bit of fun and experience Doctor Fishes cleaning techniques in their natural surroundings, take a short drive out of Athens and have a dip at Lake Vouliagmeni. You’ll have an experience, but don’t expect the full skin diagnosis – these Doctor Fish are just for fun.