Trends: 1997

Reflexology Services and Foot Products: Now available at a dentist's office, spa, salon, gym or beauty counter near you

The latest in trends for the feet

Call it the never ending search for beauty and fitness or call it the relentless pursuit for consumers' dollars &emdash; nonetheless, the foot is now seen as a body part with potential and reflexology is seen as a service with a future. Where you now find attention being paid to the foot is the newest trend in reflexology service and foot products.

From the spa to the dentist's office &emdash; the general acceptance of anything holistic that began in 1993 has carried the foot and reflexology into new communities of enthusiasts. The result is the increasing introduction of reflexology services to spa, salon, and gym patrons and &emdash; dental patients.

With the wave of new natural foot products and reflexology practitioners, special services await your feet in new locations.

Reflexology goes to the dentist

New York dentists Greg Lituchy and Marc Lowenberg provide the services of a hand and foot reflexology practitioner for anxious clients. So far, it's been a strategy that works for the two who attract a "movie star list to their Central Park office." Courtney Cox and Paul Reiser of television fame are among patients along with super-model Cindy Crawford.

"What attracts celebs to this dynamic dental duo? How about this? If you make a visit to the dentist entertaining, the entertainers will come. 'Patients who are overly anxious can have reflexology on their feet or hands, or a shoulder massage,' Lowenberg said." (Parnes, Francine, "Stargazing at the Dentists' Office" Associated Press release to Newsday, Feb. 4, 1998.)

Reflexology spa services

One estimate is that "two thirds of the nation's mainstream destination spas are promoting such metaphysical treatments as meditation and reflexology." (See "Jan. 18, 1998," page 8)

• "For those who are leery of other touch therapies, such as Swedish massage and shiatsu, reflexology represents a viable alternative.' Some people don't feel comfortable disrobing or being touched all over their bodies.' says Maria Cobisello, vice-president of product development for Origins which offers reflexology in its Feel-Good Spa in New York City. 'With reflexology all you have to do is remove your shoes and socks.' But don't expect a foot massage. 'Massage is basically more simple. It deals with stretching and relaxing the muscles,' notes Mary Brouillette, a certified reflexologist and massage therapist at the Golden Door Spa in Escondido, California. 'Reflexology is more precise. You can focus on specific points on the foot.'" (Donna Wilkinson, "Body and Sole; Can the secret to good health really be found in the feet? Find out why reflexology has suddenly made it into the mainstream," Fitness, Jul./Aug., 1997, pp. 63-67)

• "Couples looking for a better connection may end up on the massage table instead of on a therapist's couch. Spas now offer treatments and classes designed to inspire closeness. … Doit Baxter Day Spa in New York gives lessons in mutual reflexology…." (Reporter: Two by Two." Allure, Nov., 1995)

• Advice from the Norwich Inn and Spa in Connecticut for part of a self-administered pedicure, "Now give yourself a


nice long massage with your new reflexology techniques. (Hint: Norwich's technicians use their fists and knuckles to put pressure on the bottom of the feet instead of wearing out their thumbs.)" "Pamper Yourself, 33 Little Beauty Indulgences: Pretty hands and feet," (Unknown women's magazine, 1997)

• The Spa at Grayshott Hall is suggested for a quick weekend trip away from London. "Extras include herbal body wraps in several varieties and therapy treatments ranging from exfoliation to aromatherapy, energy-giving and reflexology. I found reflexology unimpressive; aromatherapy, on the other hand, with rosemary and lavender left a heavenly glow for an entire night." ("Getaways-England," Conde Nast Traveler, March 1995, p. 73)

• A visit to the Grand Floridian Spa and Health Club at Disney World is undertaken by the writer who is hesitant to enter the world of the spa. He likes the facial, massage and hydrobath he tries. He notes that reflexology is available among body work services which are priced from $40 to $110. "Another new wrinkle at the Disney spa is that kids are welcome. My First Manicure is youth-priced ($35 for 40 minutes) and there is also My First Pedicure (25 minutes, $20) and my first Facial (30 minutes, $50)." (Paul Lomartire, "I'm Getting a Message from My Five-Star Massage," The Charlotte Observer, May 25, 1997)

• An article about Donald Trump notes, "As for Mar-a-Largo spa, aerobic exercise is an activity Trump indulges in 'as little as possible' and he's therefore chosen not to micromanage its daily affairs. Instead he brought in a Texas outfit called the Greenhouse Spa, proven specialists in mud wraps, manual lymphatic drainage, reflexology, shiatsu and Hawaiian hot-rock massage." (May, The New Yorker)

Reflexology cosmetology services

More and more aestheticians and cosmetologists are becoming practitioners of holistic therapies. Services such as reflexology are considered to provide the client with an opportunity to promote skin health. A recent article, however, touts the money-making potential of holistic services without mentioning practical concerns such as trying each therapy to see if he or she is skilled at hands-on services.

• "The consumer may be leading the industry seeking ways to reduce stress, tap into the body's own natural resources and stimulate natural healing. If your clients are not asking you for holistic solutions to their skin problems, they will be very soon. Be prepared to respond. You may be missing the opportunity to take your business to the next level if you are not thinking about ways to provide your clients with the wellness services they will want and need. … "Among the therapies you may want to consider including are body therapies such as ayurvedic detoxifcation wraps, reflexology, aromatherapy for relaxation, hydrating paraffin wax treatments and stress therapy massage. …

"With the exception of hydrotherapy treatments, here are few of the basic wellness services you can add to your menu with just the addition of a massage bed, some simple equipment and the proper treatment products.… "Once you have refitted your salon or spa, identified your manufacturer, and you and your staff have received the necessary training, slowly begin to introduce your clients to the new wellness services. Have your aestheticians add 'a little extra' into a regular facial&emdash;a 15 minute hand or foot reflexology treatment for example." (Gentile, Nanci, "Incorporate Wellness," Skin Inc. The Complete Business Guide for Face & Body Care, November/December, 1997, Vol. 9, No. 8, pp. 80-84)

The subscription form to Skin Inc. includes one question about primary occupation and another about primary line of business. Reflexologist is listed among choices of profession. Reflexology practice is among business choices.

The Gym

• "Holistic Health Clubs: What's going on … After a decade of 'no pain, no gain' the gym is shifting its focus from hard body to mind-body. Think of what's happening now as a 'care for' versus a 'fix it' approach&emdash;a focus on keeping your whole self running rather than repairing the parts when they break down. … "Even New York City's Equinox Fitness Club, mecca for hard-core hard-bodies, now houses a quarter of a million-dollar wellness center. Spread over four rooms and two open spaces and decorated in soothing earth tones, the center is set aside for special services such as massage and reflexology" (Livers, Eileen, "Stress-free fitness, No pain no gain, no more! In the world of the fitness gym, fitness feels good." Self, Nov., 1995, pp. 112-113.)

• A former postal worker has turned fitness guru with her own gym. "Women, turned off by larger, more crowed gyms look to her now for help in improving their fitness in a more holistic, spiritual way that included massage therapy, spiritual counseling and reflexology therapy." (Soler, Alessandra, "Get Healthy and Holistic at the Small Gym" The Miami Herald, Jan. 11, 1997)

Beauty for the feet

Some would argue that the beauty industry discovered the foot and its potential for product dollars when a peppermint lotion became the best-selling product for the Body Shop chain ten years ago. Today, body and bath departments and stores dot the shopping malls, including foot rollers and foot balms among their product lines.

• At Elizabeth Arden Salons, clients can choose a "Creative Nail Design Pedicure," "A six-step regimen that includes soaks scrubs, oils, and a foot mask with hydrating sea extracts. Best of all, the spearmint oil tingles for hours." "Beauty on Board, Making Waves, A salty rubdown, a seaweed foot mask, and the best bottled waters yet." (Conde Nast Traveler, July 1997, p. 46)

• Brushing a tea product on the feet was pictured in a recent health and beauty article. The caption accompanying the photo of a powder being brushed on a foot reads: "Don't take your tea without a stratagem: Brewed teas and extracts are rich in antioxidants that disarm free radicals and protect against premature aging. Tea-based bath salts, scrubs and powders are briskly aromatic and can be soothing." Recent research showing health benefits of drinking tea and applying it to the skin "is one reason tea has become a new frontier in beauty." (Orlock, Carol, "The Health and Beauty Benefits of Tea," Self, November, 1997)