To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Expert Advice,” by Paula S. Stone, in the April 2011 issue. Article summary: Reflexology is one of the most popular forms of bodywork, with industry statistics showing about half of massage therapists practice this modality. Reasons for doing so include reflexology’s effectiveness at addressing a variety of conditions, and its portability. (There is no disrobing required; only the feet are bare.)

by Johana Sterling

Pamper your client’s feet by adding a spa twist to your treatment.

1. Start with a foot soak to de-stress and prep the feet. Fill a soak bath with warm water and add a product containing essential oils, such as lavender, rosemary and mountain pine, which leave feet feeling fresh and revitalized, and amino acids, such as those contained in urea and silk extracts, which will stimulate proteins in the skin to soften rough spots and replenish moisture.

Soak for five to 10 minutes to maximize results. While soaking, consult with your client about the service you will be performing.

2. After the soak, it’s time to exfoliate. I recommend a foot scrub as opposed to a pumice stone, which is harsh and can accumulate bacteria over time, risking cross contamination between clients.

Leaving feet wet from the soak, massage a small amount of scrub, concentrating on the heel and ball of the foot and any other rough patches. You don’t want to scrub too hard. It’s important to keep in mind that calluses are the skin’s natural defense to stress and harsh scrubbing can actually cause skin to toughen. The best scrubs are gentle yet effective. Try one with natural bamboo or mother of pearl.

3. Use a hot wet towel to remove product. Pat feet dry and slather with a generous amount of moisturizer. The product will be massaged in as you perform your massage session.

Look for a moisturizer with eudermic oil-in-water emulsions, which are most easily absorbed by the skin. Avocado, jojoba oil, lanolin and aloe all naturally and effectively moisturize while promoting skin’s natural elasticity and resistance. Look for extras in the moisturizer that will make the results of the treatment last.

Added ingredients, such as panthenol and bisabolol, promote healing; vitamin E keeps skin young; and chamomile soothes and disinfects. For added luxury, choose a product with paprika that will stimulate the thermo-receptors of the skin causing a warming sensation.

4. To finish, give feet a boost with a revitalizing foot spray. Pick one with stimulating mint oil or cooling menthol, to leave feet with a refreshing tingle and smelling sweet.

Johana Sterling is the spokeswoman for the podiatrist-recommended foot-care company Gehwol (www.gehwol-usa.com). A leader in the foot-care business since its founding in 1868, Gehwol is devoted to providing a comprehensive range of foot-care products that are reasonably priced and of consistent high quality.

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