Happy Feet R Needed

I went for my bi-yearly mani-pedi cures. Are you laughing? OK, so I'm not one of the M.P. junkies. I say that with respect for those of you who attend weekly gatherings at the local salon bar. I just can't seem to make the time. Don't worry, my feet don't look like Howard Hughes'.

But more than time, it's the toxic entrenched environment that kills my interest. Of course, we all loved to be pampered. But at what price?

Walking thru that door, what am I greeted with upon arrival? A lovely receptionist waiting to escort me to my throne as queen for the day? Sure. NOT. Rather the lovely smell of dancing chemicals as my aromatherapy for the day.

With eyes burning, I press on because after all I want this luxury.

Yes, state of the art ventilation systems are in place. Imagine what it would be like if we didn't have that coverage? The pungent smell tells us how potent these toxins are.

"These folks (techs) work in the salon 10 to 12 hours a day, six to seven days a week," said Lynn Rose, a social justice activist in Western Massachusetts who works as a consultant to the US Environmental Protection Agency on issues regarding nail salons. "Unless you have a good ventilation system or a good way to manage the products to eliminate the emissions, you're creating an ongoing exposure throughout the day to a whole range of chemicals."

And it matters not how prestigious the salon is. The higher-end, the lower the danger? Not so. A chemical is a chemical. Try as you may to convince yourself that there is a healthy way to bypass the toxins, you are only in denial.

But, really, what does it matter? We love the immediate results. We love to look beautiful. We love to decorate our bodies with the finest of artwork at our fanciest salon. We love to show our highly polished nails and toes off.

Foot Tools
We don't look at the toenail that may fall off due to the improper care a tech may have. We don't consider the fungus we might acquire from one of their "clean" utensils. We don't ponder the damage done to our lungs in the process. Not to include our other internal organs. We don't consider the MRSA that we might involuntarily receive.

Have you ever seen MRSA decorated all over the legs of someone who was given this special gift at a salon? I have. And it's shocking. I'm in no way trying to use a scare tactic. Rather, I'm requesting your attention.

The young lady I know who had MRSA, picked it up at a well known spa. She was one of many. Fortunately, the spa was shut down. It was a spa I had frequented. And ironically, I was planning on another visit, when a friend called to tell me it had shut down and why. Little did I know at that time that one of the unfortunate patrons of the spa was someone I knew.

In her case, the doctors could not get the MRSA under control, as so often happens. She was on extremely potent anti-biotics with little avail.
She came over one day and showed me her legs. Need I say more? Her battle with MRSA from this spa went on for at least a year. While she finally rid herself of the ill, scars remained.

The photo is of MRSA type sores that refuse to heal, leaving scarring.

Remember MRSA is highly contagious. If you have not informed yourself on this social problem, please take the time to research it. I discussed it at some length on my "Are You Dying To Get Well" series this month.

MRSA is showing up in highly populated areas like colleges, universities. It is often found among athletes as they are exposed to it via cuts, scraps, oozing wounds, etc.. If your son or daughter plays on any team, please keep your eyes open. The faster you catch MRSA the better chance you have of putting it to rest. Request a culture for best results. Some doctors "miss" the diagnosis. So be proactive if you have any kind of questionable wound.

Too, it's not always in obvious places. One young friend of mine discovered MRSA on her lower back. She's not positive what caused it. An insect bite, a utensil used to try and pull out what looked like a stinger?

Either could have been the cause. If you are ever using any kind of utensil like tweezers, etc. you must sterilize them. In my opinion, they need more than just a sprinkle of alcohol.

A Trusty Tech?

Which this leads me back to where we started. The spa. Think of the utensils used. They are all highly contaminated after use. You don't even want to know the germs that are infested into and on these tools of the trade. You best trust your tech with your life if you are going to leave it to him or her to "sterilize" the equipment.

Too, the water is a danger zone. What to look for? Unclean water? That would be nice if we had the liberty to actually see the contamination. The fact is, as you may know, that the "clean" water in that spa tub is probably adulterated. Less than acceptable.

Spa Sense:

The following are items to consider for your foot/nail decorations.

  • If at all possible, avoid even going to the spa. Do it yourself. But even then, be cautious with your own hygiene. You can contaminate yourself!
  • If you choose to go to a spa. Do ask around and pick one that you feel is reputable. And by that , I don't mean the highest end place in town. I can promise you this does NOT guarantee you of a "clean" experience.
  • Personally, I would look for one that provides good communication. Faulty communication between people can be disastrous.
  • Ask them for a consult. In that consult, explain to them what you are looking for as far as cleanliness.
  • If they give you grief, walk. NO, RUN!
  • Have expectations. It's your health, and it's your money.
  • While I've been to some spas that provide you "fresh" tools from a package, I've heard they are not always adequately sterilized. Unless they are brand new. And you see with your own eyes them being removed from a sealed package.
  • Your best bet is to BYOT..Bring Your Own Tools. And even then, remember to clean your tools before going, and seal them. And when you return, please don't forget to sterilize them again.
  • Do not shave before you go.
  • If you have nicks and abrasions of any sort, WAIT. If you don't, your risks are higher as you have open sores that jump at the chance of finding bacteria. Vice-versa.
  • Do not let your tech "cut" or "shave" any part of your anatomy!!! Go to a podiatrist if you need something cut off of your feet or hands.
  • I would ask what kind of lotions they use. Remember your skin takes the ingredients from these potions into your body. Again, one option, is to BYOL, bring your own lotion.
  • Find out if they have pipeless drains. You don't want any backwash to be floating in your water. Some spas are raising the standard by installing these.
  • And don't allow them to put your feet into "standing" water. Big mistake. Since the water is usually hot, it will breed germs as it stands. You don't need those either. Request that the water be run as you are waiting on the throne. And I don't mean toilet. Please!!!! You should be there to witness the preparations.

Basically, I would recommend the same for a manicure.

Upon leaving, I would find some good antioxidants to inhale!!!! Because I could bet you that your body is experiencing a shot of poison from the stew of chemicals you just had a date with. A little shot may not matter to you "in the moment". But overtime, you may begin to wish it had.

I'm not telling you not to decorate your toes and nails. I'm asking that you make yourself aware and take the precautions.

I'm including this article as part of my Foot Series.

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