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Healing With The Fishes

By Mattie Lennon

We all know somebody suffering from Psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious disease affects the skin and joints. It causes red scaly patches to appear on the skin. The scaly patches caused by psoriasis, called psoriatic plaques are areas of inflammation and excessive skin production. The cause of psoriasis is not known, but it is believed to have a genetic component. Factors that may aggravate psoriasis include stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking. There are many treatments available and over the years everything from Coal Tar to mare’s milk has been put forward as remedies. While medical science hasn’t yet discovered the cause the effects can have a devastating effect on the sufferer. The disorder can lead to low self-esteem, depression and rejection (perceived or otherwise) since some people believe Psoriasis to be contagious (which it is not.)

A Clare woman, Theresa Dillon was a sufferer. She went on a “girlie” holiday to Turkey in 1999 and; “While in Kusadasi, Turkey I met a restaurant owner when out for dinner who overheard us talking about my skin. Metin then proceeded to tell us about the Fish "Garra Rufa"and where people come from all over the world to bathe with them.WOW! We couldn’t really get a grip on this one but decided to check it out ourselves, and off we went with directions from Metin(now my husband of 7 yrs).It was in Sivas ,near the capitol Ankara and it was fantastic but with a twist of strange/unreal. When in Rome! I gradually got in to a large outdoor pool with hundreds of small fish, and they began to lick and nibble my dead skin from my body homing in on the more damaged skin eg: psoriasis. My skin was soft/even/felt cleansed and of course a little redness left but this goes with the help of the sun. I was only there for 2 hours, can you imagine if I stayed a week?”

Theresa returned and decided to do something for the 200,000 psoriasis sufferers in Ireland. She had worked for years in her father’s Pharmacy, is a qualified Beauty Therapist and spent seven years with Dell in Limerick. With her background in technology and Pharmaceuticals she was the ideal person to set up Skin Therapy Ireland.. She says, “I brought this to Ireland, to provide some form of help to these people. “I am looking for a ‘Dragon’ .a person with experience in a field of bringing a business to its best. . . It is based on the Turkish model and the Fish are from turkey, and you bathe with them but in our case you have your own private tub because of Hygiene reasons and in a European country it is not possible.”

According to an article in the “New Scientist” “Bathers . . . spend hours immersed in the warm water while the 10-centimetre-long fish gently nibble away at their dead skin. Such exfoliation treatments are becoming increasingly popular in Japan and China too, and the result may amount to more than a pedicure. It now seems that doctor-fish treatment in combination with UV light may offer a new way to help people with the skin disease psoriasis.

The “Doctor fish”, Garra rufa, belongs to the minnow and carp family. The fish strike and lick the psoriatic plaque - or plaques of other skin diseases - which have been softened by the water. This clears away the scales, causes minor bleeding, and exposes the lesion to water and sunlight. This may also cause drainage of pus in patients with abscesses.

You will find Skin Therapy Ireland at;


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