I live in Byron Bay which is one of the most beautiful parts of Australia. It’s warm enough to swim in the Ocean all year round, and the beaches are gorgeous. And once one is equipped with the best swim fins for snorkeling, the beaches would be a haven for divers.
Paradise for me came at a price however, the warm coastal air is high in humidity and as a keen sportsman (tennis, ocean kayaking and golf) I found myself at times suffering various heat related skin complaints. In late 2009, I noticed I had a red blotchy rash on my back. Now like most men, I can’t be bothered with doctors, so I tried to self diagnose myself off the internet. Big mistake. Apparently I am dying, perhaps of aids, or late stage syphilis. Faced with this grave prognosis, I decided as would many men, to simply ignore it and do nothing.
The one day my wife (who had first noticed the rash) then commented that it had spread to my sides, and upper chest. I inspected myself in the mirror and indeed it had. “It’s a sweat rash ““ get some cream” she said. “Of course! I thought…. it’s just a sweat/fungal rash…. I’m NOT dying.” With that, I decided to continue my “do nothing, I’m too busy” approach. We were in the process of moving house, and since I figured I’d be sweaty packing for the next week, not point in trying to address it.
Then… we ended up going away camping with friend for the weekend…. and I quite forgot to do anything about it. The camping trip to us to the upper Clarence River, one of the loveliest spots I’ve ever camped at. The river was divine; at around 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) it was cooler than the air, but still wonderfully warm.
I had been in the water for about 90 minutes, when “IT” started. I was one of about 30 people in the water, and everyone else seemed fine…. but I started to feel mild discomfort. Something was irritating my skin. At first I thought maybe it was some chemical in the water (tea tree oil stings my skin and tea tree is native to the area) then that it might be some kind of lice (I’d been bitten by sea lice before…. maybe there was river lice?). I tried to catch whatever was biting me…. but could not…. so no… Not lice. The funny thing was…. no one else was complaining of being bitten, only me. And pretty much only one my back….. I turned around to see if I could see anything…. and found to my amazement behind me were hundreds of small fish. I was being EATEN ALIVE! Lol. Now these fish were only a couple of inches long, and clearly could not do me much damage so I relaxed and let them continue, but brought them to the attention of others around me who were not being bitten. I figured…. perhaps my rash had attracted them?
Anyway, after about 10 minutes more I got out of the water and towelled myself dry… and then as it was starting to get dark I went and had dinner at the communal campsite. I then forgot all about it…. till the next day when my wife exclaimed as I was getting changed. “Hey! Your rash is gone.” And sure enough…. it was. I was left with small white patches where the rash had been…. but it was gone. Amazing! Fish, ate my fungal rash. I was cured.
Over the next few months I told many people who looked at me like I was crazy, except for one friend who’d recently come back from China and Bali. Apparently, allowing fish to eat your dead skin / rashes is all the craze. In Bali, there are fish tanks set up almost on every corner. You pay a fee to insert a limb into the tank…. and the fish then eat your dead skin off.
So I’d got this treatment….. for FREE!!!
The effects of this treatment have been permanent. Granted, I’ve not been playing as much sport but the rash was removed totally. So if you see one of those tanks somewhere with hundreds of little fish in it? Don’t laugh. It really, really works.