Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feet Focus in Spa Trends for 2012

Feet are at the top of the list for trends for 2012, according to SpaFinder's list of Spa Trends for the new year.
Spas and wellness centers are now putting a big focus on feet: from “foot fitness” classes to new 100-percent foot-focused med-spas to podiatrist-overseen “medi-pedis” to treatments specifically targeting high-heel pain. And while the ancient Chinese practice of reflexology revolves around using foot acupressure to impact the organs of the body, the fact that reflexology centers are becoming as common as nail salons may have more to do with people simply seeking pain relief via foot massages, rather than some sudden conversion to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
So what do we encase our body’s precious shock absorbers in these days? The fashion gods have women wearing the sky-highest heels in history, and women worldwide are bombarded with images of Lady Gaga or Victoria Beckham teetering around in insane six inch-plus “killer heels.” Two in five American women now wear high heels every day, and 43 percent claim they won’t give them up, despite the misery. Other foot-bruising fashions: fashionable and unsupportive ballet flats and flip-flops, and the running world’s mania for the new, nearly barefoot “foot gloves.” Also significantly adding to the world’s collective foot trauma is the global obesity and diabetes pandemic, and a global population aging at unprecedented rates.
The upshot of all this sexy footwear and anti-foot behavior? An epidemic of not-so-sexy conditions like plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammertoes, corns, metatarsalgia, flat feet, Achilles tendonitis, neuromas, Hagland’s deformity, or “pump bump,” and arthritis, etc. Medical experts argue that high heels share the blame for the fact that four in five American women now suffer foot problems— and also for the arthritis pandemic underway in the UK, with 60 percent of cases now occurring in feet. The pain can be so agonizing that some women are actually having Botox, silicone and Restylane injected into the bottoms of their feet, to counteract the damage their high heels have done!
Examples: Consider the new, extremely comprehensive “Healthy Feet” program at Canyon Ranch SpaClub in Las Vegas (U.S.), overseen by a well-known doctor of podiatry. The program’s tagline: “If it will make feet feel better, it’s available here…” The dedicated “Healthy Feet” facility offers computerized gait analysis and orthotics assessment, along with a whole slate of foot-focused treatments performed in zero-gravity chairs, with names like “Foot Rescue!” and “Healthy in Heels.”
One striking example of the new “foot fitness” bootcamps is New York City’s Yamuna (U.S.), with classes that assess people’s walk, improve their posture and offer a host of therapies designed to “get people’s shoes out of their feet.” (Yamuna also offers “Foot Waker” kits, including special exercise balls to prevent and combat high-heel trauma.)
Podiatrist-overseen “medi-pedi” examples are numerous, from celebrity foot doc Margaret Dabbs' London locations (UK), including her Sole Spa at the Liberty store, to Hand and Foot Spas’ three London locations (UK) to New York City’s Ajune Spa (U.S.) to Kachina Natura Spa (Ireland). Famed French foot doctor Bastien Gonzalez’ signature “Le Soin de Pieds” pedicures are served up to well-heeled clients in London, Dubai, etc., and are now incorporated as the “Pedi:Mani:Cure” treatments at One&Only spa resorts, from Reethi Rah (Maldives) to Palmilla (Mexico).
New “100-percent-feet-only” med-spas include Stride Wellbeing in northern California (U.S.), which integrates full podiatric medical services and surgeries with a rich menu of foot-relief spa treatments. (Stride’s program revolves around its STRIDE Annual Foot Exam, or SAFE.)
Multi-treatment, foot-focused spa packages specifically zeroing in on high-heel agony (i.e., special feet/calf massages, stretching, etc.) include New York’s Mohonk Mountain House’s (U.S.) “High Heeler” treatment. Spa Montage locations in California and Utah (U.S.) offer special high-heel pedicures using special oils and gels to reduce stiletto swelling.
Unique specialty pedicures, treatments and foot spas are also on the rise, from Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas’s (U.S.) 1930s- and Shanghai-themed “Chinese foot spa” to Dragonfly spas’ (20-plus Chinese locations) four-hand foot massages to “medi-pedis” specifically for men at the Mandarin Barber in Hong Kong, performed by a third-generation Shanghai medi-pedi master, Samuel So, using ten razor-sharp metal blades.
Look for: almost every spa skincare line to include specialty foot products, and for companies that specialize in pain-relief, like Biofreeze, or foot-care specialists like the more than 100-year-old powerhouse Gehwol of Germany to continue to make big strides into the new feet-focused spa arena. (Gehwol products are used in hundreds of global spas, including Canyon Ranch’s new “Healthy Feet” program.)
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Podiatrists in CT
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