Newsletter subscribe


It is your right to have fish nibble your toes

Posted: January 13, 2013 at 11:30 am   /   by


Monday, January 14th, 2013 at 9:30am
The Chambers of Judge George H. Foster, Jr.
Maricopa County Superior Court East Court Building – Courtroom 513
101 W. Jefferson Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85003

PHOENIX, AZ – After a four-year battle with the Arizona Board of Cosmetology, small businesswoman and immigrant Cindy Vong will have her day in court Monday.

The Goldwater Institute is representing Vong in her lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Cosmetology’s unconstitutional roadblocks to her offering a “spa fish” treatment in her salon. After fleeing Communist Vietnam, entrepreneur Vong opened a successful Phoenix-area nail salon. She learned of a special method of foot therapy that uses small toothless fish to nibble on customer’s feet as a means of removing dead skin, and invested her savings to remodel her salon to suit the procedure and import thousands of fish from China.

Demand for the service was booming, but after a few months of providing the treatment, the Board of Cosmetology-citing health concerns-told Vong she must cease the service or she would be breaking the law.

According to the Center for Disease Control, there is no evidence that spa fish services pose health and safety risks. While no comprehensive study has been performed in the U.S., a government-sanctioned study in Britain found that the procedure is safe, and the services are performed there widely.

Unfortunately, the Board of Cosmetology chose to forbid the service, rather than examining the overwhelming evidence that suggests spa fish treatments are perfectly safe. The Board’s arbitrary decision has cost Vong thousands in lost investment and potential business.

“No entrepreneur should be subject to the whims of local bureaucrats,” said Vice President for Litigation Clint Bolick. “Cindy fled Vietnam in pursuit of the American Dream, but she has been met only by bureaucratic roadblocks.”

The trial is expected to last two days. Media wishing to bring cameras into the courtroom should visit the Maricopa County Superior Court website:

To learn more about the case, please visit:

Leave a comment

It is your right to have fish nibble your toes