Time to treat your feet
Consider how hard your feet work every day, supporting your whole body. Their complex structure includes 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments each. Podiatrists despair that many of us take aching, callused feet for granted – although foot pain can affect the way we feel, how we look and how freely we move. Vanity prompts us to become more attentive, however, as the sandal season comes round. If you have any foot problems such as corns, the first thing to do is book in with a podiatrist. You can find your nearest qualified podiatrist through The College of Podiatry (www.scpod.org). At home, removing layers of rough skin is easy with a Micro Pedi (from £39.95/www.micropedi.co.uk) – a foot-buffing gadget with a rotating roller that sandpapers feet to baby smoothness.
Happy feet need expert TLC and our YOU tester recommends the Siamese Sole Foot Therapy at London’s Thai Square Spa, which consists of a purifying floral footbath and gentle exfoliating treatment, followed by a ‘blissful’ massage from knees to toes, using their own iMantara products. From her Zen-like state, she reached out to top therapist Tuckfor these take-home massage tips (not recommended during pregnancy).
• Soak feet in a warm foot bath with a scoop of Epsom salts, a few drops of aromatherapy oils or a sprinkle of green tea leaves (which help eliminate odour) for a few minutes. Pat dry.
• Stroke exfoliating lotion all over feet, then from ankles to knees and back in long, circular motions; remove with a damp flannel. (Try iMantara Siamese Soul Foot Scrub/£12.95 at www.thaisquarespa.com.)
• Apply foot lotion (such as iMantara Siamese Sole Foot Lotion/£12.95 at www.thaisquarespa.com) and, using long firm strokes, massage the muscle that runs down the front of your legs on both sides of the bone – but avoid pressing it.
• Using your thumbs, gently massage the underside of your feet – including ball and heel – paying particular attention to the instep.
• Use your knuckles to firmly press the pads of your toes, then massage the fleshy area at the base of your toes.
• With a loosely clenched fist, pound along the backs of your calves, avoiding the bone.
• Circle your kneecaps using light pressure.
• With a finger and thumb, press in the hollow either side of the tendon at the back of your ankle (just above the heel) to release tension.
• Siamese Sole Foot Therapy at the Thai Square Spa, London (£60 for a 45-minute treatment). To book, call 020 7839 7990 or visit www.thaisquarespa.com
A friend’s bubble bath-loving husband cannot use conventional products because of the synthetic, skin-irritating chemicals they contain. He is delighted with the Little Soap Company’s fabulously foamy Pure English Lavender Bubble Bath, which is also available in Pure Rose Geranium/£5.99 each at www.littlesoapcompany.co.uk. Like the company’s organic soaps (from £3.99), ‘these bubble baths are as pure as their name’, promises founder Emma Heathcote-James. www.littlesoapcompany.co.uk.
The drug warfarin is given to patients who are at high risk of blood clots, which can cause strokes. Warfarin thins the blood by slowing down the anticoagulant effect of vitamin K, increasing the time blood takes to clot. However, researchers reported to the European Society of Cardiology that the side effects of taking too much or too little of the drug can be fatal. Other drugs, foods, drinks and even regular exercise interact with warfarin, affecting vitamin K levels and causing an under- or overdose. Patients should be continually monitored or self-test as patients with diabetes do. Any patient who has a nosebleed that will not stop should go to hospital immediately; those who suffer with diarrhoea for more than one day should seek advice from their GP. For more information, consult your doctor and visit www.nhs.uk (put ‘warfarin’ in search).
Horse riders like me would not dream of riding without a proper hat, so I fret when I see cyclists whizzing round without helmets. For girls, I’m told the reluctance is partly down to a lack of fashionable gear. So heads up for Halfords Orla Kiely Duck Egg Blue and Olive Print Helmets (£35 each, www.halfords.com) from the new Olive And Orange range, which combines safety and style. With strong outer shells and thick padding, they satisfy all EU safety standards.