Absolutely not! Often when people come in for a Reflexology session, they will apologize for not getting a pedicure first. I always tell them that it is NOT necessary to have a pedicure. In fact, the callouses can be helpful for a Reflexologist to get an accurate reading of the feet! In addition, you may have heard that it is important to take breaks from wearing nail polish. For more on this as well as how to take care of your nails "post-polish", see below in our "Tip of the Month". If you are looking for more information on what all those bumps, cracks and callouses mean then consider coming in for a Foot Reading and Reflexology session!
Wellness Tip for August: Under that Toenail Polish
So as I write this post, we are about mid-way through summer and it's about time to refresh the toenail polish. After removing the old polish, you may notice that your nails are dull or even have a white or yellow hue to them. What's going on here?
Our nails are even more absorbent than our skin. When we apply polish, some of the pigment actually gets absorbed by the nail and this dries out the nail. (This is why it's hard to get that polish off!) Many of the chemicals in polish removers also have a drying effect that affects the colour and integrity of the nail. Very dry nails can be prone to crack and both these factors put us at risk for bacteria, mould or yeast to grow under the nail.
To avoid these issues, consider taking a week or so off from wearing your polish every 1-2 months to give your nails a break. Using vitamin E, or coconut oil on your nails at night can help restore their natural sheen and strength. Essential oils such as lavender, geranium or grapefruit have antibacterial properties and can also moisturize when you massage them into your nail bed and cuticles. If you get pedicures regularly, check with your salon to make sure they are using moisturizers and avoid excessive use of harsh chemicals to remove your polish. In any case, it is a good idea to let your toenails spend at least some time "au naturel" this summer.
This month I was invited to share about Reflexology at a Health and Wellness Expo that was held in a retirement residence. It was inspiring to talk with older people who are interested in using natural strategies to improve their health. I even joined in on some of the fun and attended a short laughter Yoga workshop that had wonderful effects on all of us: younger and older, staff and residents.
This humorous experience made me recall one of my elementary school classmates. Her name was Cheryl and she was well-liked by everybody. I recall that we would always get her to come and help if someone was injured on the playground. "Better go and get Cheryl," we'd say. She didn't have any special first aid knowledge, but she did have the knack for making us burst into giggles! We all seemed to know inherently that this would make us feel better, soon forgetting any minor bumps and scrapes. Even as young kids we knew about the value of laughter. To discover more about exactly why laughter is the best medicine, see our July wellness tip below.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine" Proverbs 17:22a
When we laugh our body releases endorphins, which are chemical neurotransmitters that are natural pain and stress fighters. Laughter also massages our internal organs and increases blood flow by expanding our blood vessels to send more blood to all of our organs and muscles resulting in an increased sense of relaxation. Studies show that laughter increases the presence of natural killer cells and antibodies in our bodies and this strengthens our immune system. When we laugh, we inhale more oxygen, and this is similar to doing aerobic exercise. Anyone can laugh, no special equipment is required. Truly laughter is good for the body, mind, & soul!
Donna-Michelle Rancoeur is a Registered Reflexologist (RRPR), a Reiki Master and an Indian Head Massage Practitioner.