I’m not a doctor.
But a friend of mine who specializes in treating fish issues recently shared that her family got a fish therapy treatment from a “fish therapist” in Mexico.
What’s fish therapy?
According to the National Fish Therapy Association, fish therapy is “a therapy that is designed to help fish recover from various stressors that might otherwise have made them susceptible to stress.
The goal of fish therapy, it is to help them overcome stress by giving them opportunities to recover from their own negative feelings.
The therapy is often used in a combination with other methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, and meditation to help reduce stress.”
What are the problems with fish therapy that you’d like to point out?
First, the idea of treating fish with a fish-themed therapy is not new.
The term “fish therapy” was first coined in 1996 by the Australian author and health educator, Dr. William H. Cohan.
But this particular therapy is a bit of a stretch.
According to Wikipedia, “the name is actually a play on the word fish therapy: fish therapy refers to the treatment of fish as if it were human tissue.”
While the therapy is designed for humans, its efficacy in fish is questionable.
According the FDA, “A 2008 study of a single-dose fish therapy for aortic aneurysms found no benefit, but another study by the same group found no differences in the outcomes of patients after receiving fish therapy compared to placebo.”
Other fish therapy researchers are less convinced.
“It’s not very effective, I think,” says Dr. Joseph H. Raskin, professor of internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University.
“In my opinion, fish can be treated in any environment, even in a hospital.”
So what’s the real reason for fish therapy being used in the United States?
According the Fish and Aquarium Industries Association, “Fish therapy was originally used as a treatment for fish disease [in the 1970s], but it is now being used to treat a wide range of health problems, including a variety of diseases and conditions.”
While fish therapy can help treat fish stress, Raskins believes it’s not the right approach for everyone.
“If you’re treating fish for a condition that’s very difficult to treat yourself, then maybe you don’t need to use it,” he says.
“But if you’re dealing with a chronic illness, maybe you really need to treat it.
If you want to treat fish for cancer, then fish therapy should be part of your treatment.
But I’m of the opinion that fish therapy in general is not for everyone.”
Fish therapy also does not address any of the issues with the treatment that are highlighted in the FDA’s website.
For example, it’s recommended that a patient be free of allergies, a condition where fish can cause respiratory issues and a history of respiratory infections.
“Fish has been a part of my life for a long time,” says Raskis, who has used the fish therapy program for over 25 years.
“My family is from New Zealand, and when I first moved to the U.S., I was allergic to fish.
But when I was older, I realized that I could get by without fish, and it made me feel more at ease.”
The Fish and Acne Foundation’s Dr. Roberta E. Gadd, who is also a clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine, says that the FDA has made it clear that fish is not the only disease that can benefit from fish therapy.
“The Fish and Health Institute is trying to take care of people with various conditions by treating the fish,” she says.
The FDA is currently reviewing its guidelines for fish and other animal products.
“I’m sure there are other diseases that are impacted by fish as well,” Gadd adds.
“What we are trying to do here is get a consensus on what’s best for the general population, and the best for each individual.
It’s not just about the fish.”
What else can I do if I’m having trouble getting fish?
If you or someone you know is having difficulty getting the fish that you need, there are a number of things you can do to try to help.
First, ask your fish doctor about what your health condition is and whether you can try a different fish therapy protocol.
In many cases, fish therapists will be able to provide a more personalized treatment plan that you can use, depending on your health.
Second, if you want a more holistic approach, you can take a fish health quiz, which can help you find a fish that’s right for you.
The EPA is also offering a free fish health assessment service that will help you learn about the health of fish in your area and offer recommendations for how to get more fish into your diet.
You can learn more about the EPA’s Fish Health Assessment service here.
You also might want to get in touch with your local fish club