by Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac ~

Winter is the time when our feet are always covered up. Sweaty feet, cold feet, uncomfortable boots, shoes that don’t fit, man-made boots and materials, so, take your shoes off. Sit back and work on those two feet and make them beautiful!

Now, more than ever, is the time to take care of those tootsies! Bones form the basic structure of our feet. There are 26 bones in each foot alone. Here are some good general tips for all feet:

* Wash your feet daily. Rinse off all soap and dry thoroughly, especially between toes.

* Trim nails straight across, and not too short. Don’t cut out or dig at corners.

* Do not trim, shave, or use over-the-counter medicines to dissolve corns or calluses

* Wear clean socks or stockings, changed daily. Don’t wear any that are too short or too tight.

* Wear shoes that fit.

* Wear shoes made of leather or canvas – not synthetics.

* Switch shoes from day to day.

* Use foot powder.

* See your doctor if severe problems persist.

* Get a manicure. Set aside twenty dollars or so to get a manicure AND pedicure. It is so worth it!

* Scrub those feet. Make sure you are exfoliating the tops, sides, and bottoms of your feet at least twice a week in the shower.

* Foot refresher. After soaking feet in warm water, massage feet with a mixture of 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon crushed dried peppermint. Remove with a warm, damp washcloth.

* Hangnails. Pierce a 400 IU-vitamin E capsule and massage a drop into hangnail to soften and speed healing.

* Exfoliate your feet! Use a loofah sponge to exfoliate tops, sides and bottom of your feet. Remember to scrub all of your toes too.

* After drying with a fluffy towel, apply your favorite moisturizer generously and then put on a thick (warm from the dryer) pair of socks on for a pampered feeling.

* Give your nails a break. Take off your acrylic nails and let your fingertips breathe. It will take a while for them to recover, but it is a healthier (and less expensive) way to maintain your nails.

* Bath Trim! After showing or bathing, trim your toenails and smooth any rough edges with a file.

* Use a pumice stones on calluses and make it a habit to use a foot file on the bottom of your feet and heals at least once a week. This will keep your feet ready for any sandal at any time.

* Natural nail file. Use a Popsicle stick to file your natural nails.

* To help your nail polish glide on, dip a cotton ball in a facial astringent to remove any excess oil on your nails. Your polish will go on much smoother.

Foot calluses. Always use a pumice stone. Do not use razors or other cutters.

* Adding an essential oil blend: after your foot care can be a rewarding massage and a great way to naturally moisturize your feet. Some great suggestions include organic coconut oil, infused with the purest of essential oils of peppermint, spearmint, tea tree, lemon, orange, lavender, geranium, cypress or basil to name a few.

* For nails that are nourished from the inside out. Try supplementing your already healthy eating plan with MSM. This natural sulfur source from the sea speeds the growth of your hair and nails.

MSM is methyl sulfonyl methane.

MSM is a compound found naturally in foods such as cow’s milk, meat, seafood, fruits and vegetables. MSM is thought to work by contributing sulfur. It’s found in capsule or tablet forms. MSM is also available as a cream or lotion, although evidence suggests it can’t be absorbed through skin.

* Biotin is another wonderful supplement for hair and nails. Biotin is a water-soluble vitamin that is often classified as a B-complex vitamin. It took nearly 40 years of research in order to establish it as a vitamin. Vitamin H, (the H represents “Haar und Haut”, German words for “hair and skin”) also considered Co-enzyme R. Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. It plays a role in the citric acid cycle, which is the process by which biochemical energy is generated during aerobic respiration.

Signs of overt biotin deficiency include hair loss (alopecia), conjunctivitis and dermatitis< in the form of a scaly red rash around the eyes, nose, mouth, and genital area. Neurological symptoms in adults have included depression, lethargy, hallucination, and numbness and tingling of the extremities. The characteristic facial rash, together with unusual facial fat distribution, has been termed the “biotin deficient face”.

Diabetics may benefit from biotin supplementation. In both insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetics, supplementation with biotin can improve blood sugar control and help lower fasting blood glucose levels, in some studies the reduction in fasting glucose exceeded 50 percent. Biotin can also play a role in preventing the neuropathy often associated with diabetes, reducing both the numbness and tingling associated with poor glucose control.

Dosage: Biotin comes in 1,000 mcg. That converts to 1 mg. It is recommended you start by taking 1 capsule per day. The following week, take 1 capsule twice a day. Evaluate how you feel as you do this. By week three you can add a mid day dose… so that would be 1 capsule, three times per day. To have an idea of its efficacy, try taking one bottle. Consider doing this three months of biotin, then give your body a rest for 30 days.

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