NEW YORK CITY — When pounding the street in open-toed shoes, your feet are exposed to some pretty gnarly stuff.
Here are five treatments to get your feet looking and feeling great:
These foot baths were developed on the theory that generating mild electronic currents in the water will draw out toxins in the body through thousands of pores in the feet.
"We are always [naturally] detoxing. The question is does our detox keep pace with today's modern world and the toxins we are absorbing?" said Jane Goldberg, the owner of La Casa located at 41 East 20th St.
While there are skeptics who doubt the treatment does all that much, Goldberg said after a half-hour treatment, which costs $60, the water turns brown and even gunky with extracted toxins.
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The tension and pain of plantar fasciitis, or runner's heal, can be released by inserting tiny needles into strategic points on the foot, calf and upper body, said Greg Radicone, an acupuncturist at Elements Natural Healing Arts.
Each needle helps to increase blood flow and release Qi (pronounced chee), the body's natural energy.
"We are working to loosen up the anatomy trains of tissue," he said, adding that all of the body is interconnected so a needle inserted into the calve can relieve pain in a patient's foot.
An initial consultation and treatment is $150.
Shiatsu, a style of massage from Japan, activates pressure points on the feet while also giving them a kneading massage.
"The [pressure points] on the toes are important because they pull out tired old energy and replace it with fresh energy," said Pamela Olsen from Classical Wellness, who is a practitioner in Shiatsu.
A one-hour session costs $120.
For those who need severely cracked skin removed from their heels, a blade and medical sanding disk operated by a podiatrist may be warranted. The podiatrist peels back the dead skin until soft skin is uncovered, according to Dr. Oliver Zong at NYC Footcare at 80 Maiden Lane.
"With backless sandals, if you wear a lot of them, this is something you should expect," he said.
Another cause of a cracked heel is dryness, so moisturizing regularly can prevent it from occurring, Zong said.
Similar to Shiatsu massage and acupuncture, foot reflexology centers on certain areas of the foot to alleviate issues elsewhere in the body, according to Alyssa Walsh, the co-owner of Elements Natural Healing Arts. Rather than massaging, reflexology applies pressure to these trigger points on the foot to boost circulation, the immune system, stress relief and issues in different organs.
"It is working certain points in the feet, which relate to certain organs in the body," Walsh said.
A 30-minute reflexology session at Elements Natural Healing Arts is $50.