We run great distances with them, stand tirelessly in queues on them, navigate the city with them, and dance dynamically with them. As Leonardo di Vinci recognized, “the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art”.
Containing 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments, the feet and ankles exist as a strong and complex mechanical structure. These loyal agents tirelessly transport the weight of our ever-active bodies, yet the daily stresses and strains of foot life is often an overlooked one. We care for sore shoulders, chapped lips, beautify nails, and tend to our tresses, but treating tired bedrocks can be a less frequent task in our daily routines.
With over 7,000 nerves in each foot, our entire body reaps the reward of a foot massage. The ancient holistic healing treatment, reflexology, traditionally focuses on the variable reflex zones of the foot to produce a wholesome healing effect on the rest of the body. Pressure is applied to different zones of the foot to help reduce stress, ease tension, improve circulation and support the body’s immune system.
Whilst sending an e-mail, watching television, reading a book, or chatting on the phone, these moments of stationary rest offer ideal opportunities to treat our beaten hooves to a well-earned massage.
Sole of foot: Take a foot in your hand. Starting from the toes, squeeze down the length of your foot. Stretch out the space between the metatarsal bones (the five bones that run down your foot). Repeat this 3-5 times.
Toes: Beginning with your big toe, take each toe in turn and circle it from its joint.
Upper Foot: Place your foot on the floor with the heel facing down. Starting from your toes, gently massage in a downward motion between the metatarsal bones, as before. Spread the bones to give space and open up the muscle. Repeat this 3-5 times.
Ankle rotations: Holding the foot with one hand, use the other hand to rotate the foot clockwise and then anticlockwise. Repeat this 3-5 times in each direction.
Outer and inner foot: Supporting the top of the foot with one hand, apply a deep, firm stroke down the inner curve of the foot using the heel of your other hand. Then, from your little toe to heel, repeat this down the outside edge of your foot.
Solar plexus point: This is located on the sole of your foot, between the second and third toe, just below the joint of the big toe. According to the ancient principles of reflexology, the solar plexus area is the primary target area for releasing tension. It is a nerve network with connections to all parts of the body and limbs and offers a primary target area for releasing tension. Place your thumb over this point, and breathe in. On the out breath, apply pressure to this area, allowing the thumb to sink into the spot. Repeat all on the other foot.
Relax: Placing both feet on the floor, hang over your legs and feel the release of your massaged feet.
Treatment: The Medical Pedicure – from £85
The Margaret Dabbs Medical Pedicure is a classic. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you must book in this summer. It’s a top-tier foot treatment that aims to totally transform your feet with a tailored chiropody-style approach depending on your concerns. Each expertly-trained podiatrist will examine and inspect your feet and come up with a plan to restore them back to life… they describe it as “walking on air” after the treatment is finished. From eradicating hard, callus skin to precise toenail care, you’re feet will thank you.
Nails by Townhouse, Harrods
Treatment: The Pedicure, Harrods Exclusive – £205
While this isn’t a medical-grade pedi like the one above, this exclusive-to-Harrods treatment is a cut above (way above) your usual pedicure. It’s indulgent and luxurious and cuts no corners so you walk out the door with what feels like a different pair of feet. The 95-min treatment features luxurious Chantecaille skincare products including Rose de Mai and Retinol treatments, a black volcanic sand scrub enriched with mother of pearl, shaping, buffing, cuticle care, hard skin filing and smoothing, a callus treatment, a luxury hot cream treatment and an indulgent 20 minutes of massage. Topped off with a full-colour consultation and your choice of a clear strengthening treatment, gel or polish, including their vegan range.
John Dryden claimed dancing to be the “poetry of the foot”, so let’s get our feet primed and pampered.