The feet generally get the least attention in one's beauty care regime. Yet it is of vital importance to healthcare and wellness. Sharmila Chand talks to experts in the field to know more
A trip to South East Asia - to Bangkok, Bali or Vietnam's Ho Minh City - and what do you feel is a must? A foot massage, of course! As the expert hands of the masseurs work on the oh-so-tired feet after walking and exploring the tourist spots can be heavenly as it shoos off the tiredness. For, it is well-known that relaxed feet mean a relaxed body.
In India too foot massage spas are now popping up at airports, swanky malls and private clubs. There is wisdom in it.
Our feet are as important, if not more, as our hands. However, we seem to neglect them most of the time. We tend to worry more about our hands treating them with manicures, nail art, and fancy lotions and creams. The fact is that neglecting your feet can put you in several problems like yellow, chipped, and thick toenails, dry and peeling skin and smelly feet.
First and foremost, the feet should be kept absolutely clean. Filing the nails and scrubbing should be a regular regime, say experts. A foot file or a pumice stone gets rid of dry or chapped areas of the feet. Moisturising them well should be followed. Rubbing tea tree oil every few days helps the skin to heal and repair.
Once in a while there is no harm in having a special treat for your feet. Says well known aromatherapist Blossom Kochhar : "Using aromatherapy oils such as Lavender or Morning Dew for the feet have additional benefits. Apart from the added advantage of foot 'massaging'from a well chosen blend of essential oils, it also softens and enhances the feet."
"One of the most vital foot therapy treatments is Reflexology," claims J. Tara Herron, director, Imperial Spa and Salon at The Imperial Hotel, New Delhi.
Reflexology is based on the principle that all the nerves end at the feet and the specific zones on the sole of the foot relate to different parts of the body. For example, the spinal cord is reflected in the arch of the foot and gentle staccato pressure creates the flow of energy and releases tension in the spine. The points on the toes reflect the sinuses, eyes, and brain activity.
Reflexology is also used to diagnose health problems such as liver and stomach complaints and treat menopausal problems. This therapy is also helpful for those who are too sensitive to have a full body massage. It can benefit stress related disorders by deeply calming the whole nervous system, body and mind. "It's considered a holistic therapy that improves circulation, balancing any fluid retention and soothing weary legs," Herron says.
'Foot Vitality' is another popular therapy for the feet. "It re-energizes skin cells and reflex points in the feet," according to Jagdev Kotech of The Westin Mumbai Garden City Hotel. Initially, a mix of Tea tree oil and Marine salts are used to soak the feet which have antiseptic properties. Then scrub is used to remove dead skin for exfoliation.
A foot massage is followed moving from the calf and focusing on pressure points within the feet. As all organs are connected through the pressure points this massage offers a full body activation. Ingredients of the treatment are walnut, aloe vera, lavender and basil which are good for stressed and fatigued muscles.
Advanced Spa Pedicure and Acupressure Foot Massage are two important therapies offered at R THE SPA of Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi.
Alka Katar, director, R THE SPA, says that both the inner muscles and surface skin of the feet are focused on during the therapy. That includes refreshing footbath, gentle scrub, precision nail cuticle and nail treatment and nail polish/buffing. The acupressure massage is a magical touch that unclogs energy flow, promoting oxygenation of tissue and the removal of toxins.
You are on your feet half the time of your life, so why not give them the attention they deserve?
Shahnaz Husain advises:
If you don't have time to go to the salon and having your feet undergo a foot spa from professionals, try the simple treatment at home at least once a week.
Fill the tub with lukewarm water and soak your feet in it for 15 minutes. Then, give your feet a scrub treatment. The most common ingredients that you can use for scrubs are almond meal, oatmeal or wheat bran (choker). To this, you can add dry ground orange and lemon peels, or even coarse salt or granulated sugar. Orange and lemon peels should be dried thoroughly in the sun and kept in a tightly closed container. Almond meal can also be made and kept in a dry container.
Yogurt, milk or oils can be added to such ingredients. You can use any vegetable oil that is available at home, like sunflower, or safflower oil, sesame seed (til) oil, or olive oil. Mix the scrub ingredients and apply them on the feet. After 15 to 20 minutes, rub gently on the skin with circular movements. Pay attention to the heels. Wash it off with water. Then give the feet a massage with oil or cream. Wipe off excess cream with a moist towel. Mix one tablespoon honey with 50 ml rose water. Apply on the feet. Lie down and relax for half an hour. Wash it off with plain water.