Calling doctor fish

The tiny fish are being bred in Switzerland to heal skin complaints Keystone

Swiss scientists are testing the medicinal benefits of tiny fish that are believed to heal skin disease.

This content was published on February 17, 2002 - 18:20

Patients in the spa town of Bad Ragaz, canton St Gallen, are the first in Switzerland to test the effectiveness of the so-called "doctor fish", or Garra Rufa, against skin complaints.

The therapy works by submerging the affected skin area for two hours in warm, thermal water filled with 40 to 80 fish, which gently suck up skin particles. The fresh-water fish, which are found mostly in Turkey, are also believed to release a skin-healing enzyme.

The Swiss Association for Alternative Medicine hopes that the treatment, called dermato-phagos therapy, will cure conditions ranging from psoriasis, or dandruff, to neurodermitis.

If successful, the treatment will be offered in Bad Ragaz from 2003.


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