Foot care means more than a coat of polish. Each foot is a network of many sensitivities. There are 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and more than 100 ligaments, and each foot has a super-structure of nerve endings numbering in the high thousands. No wonder pedicures, reflexology, and other foot treatments are more than a pampering luxury. They are a necessity!
Most would say they get pedicures because they like their toes to look ‘pretty’, but they are much more than that. When a nail technician does a pedicure, she will take care of important and necessary hygienic details for you. She/he will clip your nails properly, cuticles are cut back, and dead skin scrubbed away. These basic, yet often overlooked, actions are important for us to maintain healthy feet and legs. If toenails grow too long, the nail pushes against the inside of your shoes, which can lead to ingrown toenails and bruised nail beds. Removing the cuticles allows your nails to breathe so they will continue to grow healthy. With the removal and scrubbing away of dead skin, we activate our body’s regenerative properties by producing new skin cells, which also helps with elasticity. Applying lotion to itchy feet only compounds the problem of itchy skin. When there is a barrier of dead skin, the skin cannot absorb lotion and will ‘sit’ on top of callouses until worn away. This increases the feeling of ‘itchiness’ because your skin is smothering. The brain tells us to scratch it away so the skin can breathe again.
Massage is a big part of your pedicure and usually everyone’s favorite part. When you receive your lower leg and foot massage during your pedicure, your technician isn’t just making you feel better at that moment. The massage they are giving you will last days. Your technician is trained to provide a massage that will help your stress level, as well as increase your circulation, promote elasticity, and ease muscle tension. All of these things are healthy for your whole body! When your lower legs and feet are not hurting, you stand and sit straighter, thus affecting your posture which will result in your back hurting less. When your feet do not hurt as much, you may ‘walk lighter’ and this affects our hip movements and can alleviate lower back problems.
We have adopted an idea that pedicures are for the summer. Actually, pedicures are better in the winter. Having a pedicure every 4 – 6 weeks throughout the year will keep your feet in tip top shape, and your whole body will feel wonderful too!
The most important part of having a manicure and pedicure is the salon or spa you choose. Follow these simple tips to be sure your feet stay healthy and you don’t leave with an infection.
• All salons and technicians must possess a State Board of Cosmetology license. The salon itself will have one in a frame near the reception desk. Technicians must display theirs in plain view at their stations.
• Preferably you want a salon that uses gloves, cleans up stations, and sterilizes nail tools in between each client. Using a foot spa is one of the easiest places for bacteria to grow, and one of the hardest for nail technicians to clean. Also consider the tools that your nail tech is using. In most states, nail tools and foot spas are required to be thoroughly washed in warm, soapy water, placed in a disinfectant solution for a minimum of 10 minutes and dried completely.
• Take the time before your session to watch your nail technician prep for your appointment. Note if they are cleaning the tools from their prior client. If they don’t, ask for a clean set of implements.
Remember to take a moment to know how your salon operates so you can enjoy those nice relaxing moments you are getting pampered.