What takes you to places? Your ‘will’, of course. But, what part of your body carries out the movement that your will mind commands? Yes, your wonderful feet. They make you mobile and agile. Just how gracefully they carry the weight of your entire body, is truly marvellous!
Despite the huge role that our feet play in our day to day lives, they get limited care and attention. Your feet are exposed to dirt, pollution and sun, all of which take a heavy toll on it along with the physical stress from daily activities. For this reason, your feet need special therapy, known as a pedicure.
The benefits of a good pedicure are not limited to the feet alone.
Have you ever experienced a good feet massage that made you drift you into a peaceful slumber? Many ancient texts and stories, throw light on how steering different points on the feet can actually heal as well as alleviate pain from various regions of the body, promoting health and well-being as a whole.
Some people consider pedicure to be a waste of time or a luxury indulgence. However, this mindset needs to evolve. It is essential to look after every part of the human body and our feet are no different.
Enhanced blood circulation, relaxation of the mind, relief from pain, release of endorphins (the happy hormones) are some of the benefits one gets through a pedicure. Also, many detrimental diseases associated with high blood pressure and mental fatigue can be avoided through regular pedicures.
According to the Vedic scriptures, feet are ‘organs of action’. They make the initial assembly of foundation to support the bodily structures.
Ayurveda, an ancient yet one of the most vastly acknowledged medical sciences also states diverse benefits of a pedicure. An Ayurvedic pedicure not only improves a person’s physical well-being but also improves the psycho-social aspect of one’s life.
You would be surprised to discover how intricate your feet are! They house 7000 nerve networks, 33 intricate joints, and 26 strong bones. Ayurveda states that the various points on our feet are connected to different organs and parts of our body. By applying pressure to those specific points on the feet and massaging it with oil, many Ayurvedic physicians can relieve patients from the corresponding ailments of those body parts.
To understand the correlation of the body parts to the feet you can go through the following analogy. Brain - big toe, Tip of your Big toe – pineal gland, the body of big toe – pituitary gland, the base of the big toe – thyroid. The neck of second and third toes – eyes, neck of third and fourth toes – ears. Cushion like padding at the base of all your toes – lungs, mid-section of sole – pancreas, heel- sciatic nerves (branching from the lower back to each of your hips and buttocks).
Therefore, indirectly many health problems can be healed and prevented by triggering these corresponding reflex points.
Ayurveda also claims a major role of pedicure in one's immune system. On applying oil on the soles of the feet, it travels into the skin through the superficial fascia and deep fascia and finally towards the end of the nerves and stimulates specific neuropeptides secretion. These have significant importance in the immunological responses of the human body.
Foot massage is an effortless yet efficient method of setting out the natural relaxation points on our body that too without ingestion of any kind of harmful drugs.
We have understood the benefits pedicure could give us but what exactly is a pedicure and what does it include?
Pedicure is a kind of pleasure-based treatment that you could embrace yourself with. It basically includes soaking your feet in a warm tub for a couple of minutes followed by a foot-scrub to reveal the fresh skin beneath the dead skin cells and a holistic massage of the feet that would finally leave your skin feeling supple and fresh.
Looking after the sole alone isn’t what pedicure is about, it also incorporates toenail and cuticle caring. Exfoliating the dried, dead skin, and conditioning your feet with a suitable moisturizer and crowning it with a marvelous nail polish of your choice is what pedicure is all about in a nutshell.
In Ayurvedic terms, there is a slight variation with regards to a regular pedicure. Pedicure in Ayurveda doesn’t consider any inclusion of petrochemical-based products, acetone nor nail-polish. It is much more than looking after the cosmetic point of view. The Ayurvedic pedicure includes a feet massage that benefits the internal nervous system and the body as a whole.
It is more inclined towards natural, non-chemical-oriented products, as a result, there are a lot of takers for ayurvedic massages of the feet which include therapeutic aromatherapy as well as reflexology.
After determining the dosha-type of the individual an essential oil is incorporated. In the end, it doesn’t work on the regular belief of one oil or one cream suits for all concepts. It is more customer-oriented and the whole procedure is fabricated based on the person or the client's requirements or suitability.
You can transform your entire Pedicure experience by choosing the right products. Using natural products with Ayurvedic ingredients will help you get the benefits.
The following video shows how you can use these three products as a part of your foot care regime.
This is an easy 3 Step Foot Care routine that you can follow once a week. However, if you want to give yourself a complete salon-type pedicure experience, you will need some tools. Let’s talk about these pedicure tools in the next section.
When one goes through the whole pedicure process, it is required to know what exactly are the tools that need to be employed and how each tool functions.
Also, do take efforts to clean your tools and wash them thoroughly before and after every use. The skin and nails are a breeding ground for many bacteria therefore it is of prime importance to keep the tools that groom them in a sanitized condition. Be careful to store them in a dry place so as to prevent rusting.
It is a tool that is a must in every individual’s personal grooming list. Its function is as simple as the name suggests- to cut or trim your nails. Extremely long nails could hurt you and also house a lot of dirt. But at the same time, cutting them extremely short and exposing the delicate nail bed is also not advisable as it could lead to infections.
Cuticles can become dry or flaky quite easily hence they markedly need exceptional care. A wooden pusher is suitable for soft cuticles and a steel one for comparatively harder cuticles. The cuticle pusher has a very subtle role and needs not to be used aggressively. A gentle yet firm push is all that’s needed. Using the spoon end generally and the sharpened end just for the corners would work.
This tool is used after you are done working with the cuticle pusher. Its function is just to trim in case you have those uneven pieces of rebellious skin mostly present around your nail bed. Working in an upward shift you can raise the dead skin off the nail.
It is not recommended to cut off the entire cuticle as the cuticle protects the nail from any attack of bacteria. Use it only to trim the loose skin. After the pushing and nipping part of the cuticle is executed, make it a point to moisturize it thoroughly.
Need a little bit of gloss and shine on your dull nails? Rest your worries, the nail buffer does exactly that. It helps to smoothen and remove any dry ridges present on the nail, giving you a polished and shiny finish. Buff in one direction only and not in a haphazard manner.
It could be backward or forward, stick to any one direction. Be cautious to not go overboard with the buffer as there is a tendency that its over-use could thin out the nails. Using it once a month in a gentle manner is advisable to prevent any untoward outcome and keeping your nails shiny.
Make it a point to use the finer side of the tip as it would work more efficiently in smoothening the nails. On completing do not skip the application of cuticle oil or even applying beeswax could work.
A nail file is basically used to provide a subtle shape to your nails, giving it the natural ovular shape could be good or else you could even experiment giving it a shape that could be pointier or arch-like and less rounded according to your need and desire.
Nail filer aids by fragmenting the nail very minutely and at the same time giving it the preferable shape. Many kinds of nail fliers could be found which include emery boards, metal files, ceramic, or also glass-coated ones. It is a widely preferred choice to use emery boards as they are comparatively gentler than the other options.
To begin with, nail filing, hold the filer at a 45-degrees angle, and keep it parallel to the nail you want to file. First, begin with the sides of your nail and then graduate towards the center. Do not be very harsh and aggressive, be light, and apply less pressure. File it in one direction to get a polished finish.
Our feet are so used to not getting regular exfoliation, care, or moisturization that many would find the skin, especially around the heels and toes to be thicker. That thick skin is none other than the build-up of dry and dead skin cells and callus over time.
Pumice stone is basically used to get rid of those dead skin cells present on whichever part of your feet. Its benefit is best visible when the foot filing is done after your feet are soaked in soapy lathery warm water for a few minutes. Maybe up to ten would be better. After the skin gets softened, wet the stone and rub generously against the area that needs to be exfoliated. Doing this at least twice a week could keep cracked skin, especially around the heel at bay.
Jumping right to its function, the toe separator helps to keep the toes apart from each other for easier and more comfortable application of nail polish or for grooming each of them. In this manner, they do not even come in each other’s way when either of them is being pampered with your care.
Apart from these tools, you also need a good foot scrub and a foot moisturizer. We’ll discuss them in detail in the next section.
Now as we know the most needed tools for a pedicure including its functions, performing your own pedicure at the comfort and luxury of your home itself would be quite possible and could say is even the need of the hour with the current on-going pandemic situation.
To begin with, nothing beats the traditional natural methods of having a pedicure. With a nil disadvantage, it is most advisable to use natural products in your foot care journey. The following seven steps process could wind you up with the perfect pedicure you require.
It is high time to let go of the dry chipped paint those nails have been carrying maybe even for months. For this dip a cotton ball or cotton pad into the nail paint remover. Place it over your nail for a couple of seconds and gently dislodge and wipe away the nail paint. Using chemical-free and harsh acetone-free remover would be the best shot for a smoother and healthier finish.
Nothing beats the relaxation felt while soaking your feet in that tub of warm fragrant water.
To make that perfect tub of water, firstly take a medium-sized tub or basin. Fill it with warm water, be careful to not burn yourself with overly hot water. Next, add a half cup of Epsom salt to the tub, juice of one whole lemon, a few drops of your shampoo followed by a few drops of your favorite essential oil for the perfect scent, and a few rose petals if available. You could even play soothing music of your choice and allow the ingredients to do their work by keeping your feet soaked in the water for about 20 minutes or so.
These elements collectively help to get rid of any kind of inflammations, pain, and roughness and leaves you with softer skin.
Now comes the time to use the pumice stone and get rid of all the dead skin cells present at the bottom of your feet. Wet the pumice stone and rub around your feet, especially at the places where you feel the skin is thickened and calloused. Scrub and exfoliate it gently, do not be overly harsh. Stop when you feel the skin is becoming even, smooth and supple all around.
Next, take a generous amount of Kama Ayurveda Foot Scrub and rub it all over your feet to create lather. Scrub gently for about 5 minutes. concentrating on the toes, ankle and heels.
After completing these steps, pamper yourself with a gentle massage. For massaging your feet you can use a relaxing oil like Sugandhi Rejuvenating Body Treatment Oil. After that, we recommend using the Kama Ayurveda Foot Cream as it’s an effective feet moisturizer. It will not only enhance the complete process of moisturizing but also at the same time aid in healing any dry or cracked skin.
Take a generous amount, rub it within your palms and gently massage it all along your feet and between the toes, apply slight pressure, and continue massaging for about 5 minutes.
Now, It is time to put on the toe separator from your tool collection for all the further steps.
To begin with, trim your nails according to your need with the help of a nail cutter. Always trim your nails on a timely basis, keeping the nails overly long would not only collect dirt and bacteria but also the pain encountered by an accidental chip-off is quite intolerable.
Next, use the nail buffer to scrub and grind the nail in order to bring back its lost shine and lustre. Finally, utilize the nail filer and give your nails the shape you desire.
Do not overlook this step, this one would help your nail to grow healthily and remain stronger. It would also keep your cuticles clean preventing the growth of any bacteria or infection on the nail. For that apply a moisturizer or cuticle softener like Vitamin E oil, Almond oil, or Jojoba oil over the cuticles and softly rub and massage each of them. You could use a cuticle pusher and gently push the cuticle. Also, use a cuticle nipper only to get rid of the dead loose skin in case present.
(It is not suggested to mess around with the cuticles much as it serves an important role in the protection of your nails, stopping right after moisturizing the cuticle is also sufficient.)
Finally, to end the procedure, apply a base followed by your favorite nail paint color. Apply it evenly over the nails in a single stroke. You could put in a double layer just in case you want it darker and the coat to be present for a longer time. To finish it off seal the paint with a topcoat.
It is advisable to use chemical-free products as it would be beneficial in the long run by preventing drying and chipping-off of the nails.
Here, let’s address some other common pedicure options that one needs to know to keep their feet healthy and soft throughout.
After spending hours standing or the night followed after an on-the-feet throughout the day, anyone would long to relax and give their feet the attention and care it deserves.
For this, you could fill a tub with warm water, add a handful of Pine leaves and Rose petals followed by two teaspoons of Peppermint Essential Oil. Next, massage your feet gently with castor oil. You could gently press the pressure point that is present three finger space below at a hollow just above the bone where the first and second toe intersects. Do this for about four to five seconds. This pressure point would aid in your relaxation and also eliminate or reduce any kind of stress or anxiety. Next, soak your feet in the tub of water and relax.
In case you have small smooth pebbles or marbles, go ahead and add them in the water tub as well and roll your feet over them. They too would assist in comforting the aching feet.
Cracked feet particularly at the heels is a very common issue faced especially during the dry winters. To beat this problem, do the following procedure preferably before bed-time. First, soak your feet in warm water for a few minutes and scrub it with a pumice stone and pat it dry. Next, massage your feet gently with either Sesame or Sandalwood oil. We also recommend regular application of Kama Ayurveda Foot Cream to take care of cracked heels.
Then, use a double boiler to melt a candle, after it cools down, gently apply it on your heels and wait until it solidifies. Go to bed wearing a pair of cotton socks. After waking up, peel the layer of the wax. Stick to this remedy daily and you are bound to find results by the end of a week.
Mostly, nails get chipped either when they have become brittle or too long. To avoid your nails from turning too long, use a nail cutter at regular intervals. Cutting them off not only strengthens the base but also avoids the pain that follows after a long nail gets chipped off. At times it even pulls the entire nail out and that excruciating pain can be felt even at the very imagination of such agony.
To cure brittle nails, one could take half a glass of water, mix it with one teaspoon of gelatine and drink it regularly for two weeks. Or you could also apply warm coconut oil and massage the nail in order to strengthen and improve blood circulation.
Most importantly it is essential to maintain a healthy well-balanced diet that includes sufficient macro and micronutrient and most importantly Folic Acid, Zinc, Calcium, and Biotin as these are indispensable for the healthy growth of your nails.
To end it all, after knowing these facts and information it is important to note that the role that our feet’s play in daily life doesn’t vary greatly with gender, because of which there is no reason why a man should not or cannot be taking care of their feet or have a pedicure. A pedicure stands equally beneficial and essential for anyone and everyone irrespective of the gender or works one does, hence, it is time to bid adieu to that misleading notion.
So, go ahead whole-heartedly and provide the special care that your feet and nails rightfully deserve.
An ayurveda doctor with 14 years of experience in yoga, panchakarma and general wellness. Currently working with Kama Ayurveda, analysing and remediating dermatological concerns and queries of the consumers via in-store, virtual and IVR consultation.