Tender Soles

Your feet keep you up and running every day. But what have you done for them lately?


 Body & Soul























1. Perform pedicures at home with foot and nail care items ($1 each at major retailers) from e.l.f. cosmetics 2. Hardworking feet need proper care and pampering 3. Gently nibbling fish exfoliate the feet during a pedicure at The Spa on Ivanhoe Row 4. Boots Botanics Foot Soak ($7.99 at Target) cleanses and smoothes; add to cool water to refresh your feet 5. Reflexologists say that targeting pressure points on the feet promotes healing throughout the body

Here in Florida—especially in the summer—sandals and flip-flops regularly expose our feet to public scrutiny. So a little TLC is key to keeping up appearances. A professional pedicure can make your feet look healthy and attractive, and the cost of around $25 is a small price to pay for routine upkeep.

But for those who want more than a mere trim, exfoliation and polish, the more exotic foot-care options available in Orlando range from enhanced pedicures to flesh-nibbling fish to reflexology massage, to name a few.

For example, you can get a pedicure with a hot stone foot-and-leg massage that relaxes muscles and relieves stress ($60) at Baldwin Nails in Baldwin Park. Or try a citrus aromatherapy pedicure, with its mood- and energy-lifting tangerine, mandarin and grapefruit essential oils that soften and smooth the skin ($65) at The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes Spa. For a truly unusual experience, The Spa, on Ivanhoe Row, puts a dozen or so garra rufas (carps native to Turkey) to work on feet soaking in water. The small, brownish fish gently nibble (it’s a painless, slightly ticklish sensation) on the skin, exfoliating the feet ($30).

You can do a lot of foot maintenance at home between pedicures, such as moisturizing and exfoliating. But first, you should wash your feet properly every day.

“A lot of people think that if they shower every day, their feet are getting clean; that’s not true,” says Dr. Geovanny Chico of Orlando’s Center for Foot and Ankle Medicine and a spokesperson for the Florida Podiatric Medical Association. Chico recommends using a pumice stone or cleansing scrub to gently exfoliate the soles and sides of the feet, followed by a thorough washing with soap and water.

After drying the feet, apply moisturizer but not between the toes, advises Chico. Doing so could encourage bacterial and fungal growth.

While pedicures may leave feet looking pretty and polished, the ancient art of reflexology—which assigns particular parts of the body to specific pressure points on the foot—may help promote healing whatever ails you. The Spa’s acupuncturist, Arturo Diaz, says sensitivity in any area of the foot can indicate a problem elsewhere in the body. Reflexologists respond, says Diaz, “by putting pressure on certain points of the foot, which sends a signal to the brain to promote healing in that area.”

Chico says the medical establishment hasn’t embraced reflexology as a proven therapy, but “in my opinion, it may help,” he adds. “The longest nerves in the body are from the lower back to the tip of the big toe, so reflexology massage can be a good thing.”

At the end of a long day, a good soaking remains an effective treatment for tired feet. Chico says cool, rather than hot, water is better for that purpose. 

“Your whole body will feel refreshed,” he says. “There are millions of nerve cells in your feet; by stimulating those nerves in a positive way, it produces a positive energy throughout the body.”

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