Pedicures and massages: A luscious luxury or a needful necessity?

People with CAD often have poor circulation and a tendency to develop infections

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by Mary Lott |

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I sank into the overstuffed armchair and leaned back into the super soft throw pillow with a sigh of happiness. I was looking forward to today. My previous salon had closed a long time ago, and it took me over a year to find another place to receive my favorite indulgence: a pedicure.

Later, I climbed a set of stairs to a second floor where the new salon was located. A neatly uniformed receptionist greeted me. There was a 30-minute wait. Other people patronized this business, too. I thought, “If so many people are here, it must be a good place.”

A woman soaks her feet in bath oils.

Mary enjoys the warmth of a good soaking in bath oils. (Photo by Mary Lott)

I told myself that I wasn’t turning into a hedonist. Pedicures and leg massages aren’t just a luscious luxury, they’re a needful necessity for those of us with cold agglutinin disease (CAD). We “CADdies” often have poor circulation in our extremities. We have a tendency to develop infections because we are frequently anemic, and our white blood cells can’t do their work properly.

Furthermore, my skin is very dry. Although I’m not sure what the actual cause is, I blame CAD. Pedicures address all of these issues. I sally forth to my salons thinking, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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The sweet sensation of relief

The pampering begins immediately by soaking my feet in warm water perfumed with fragrant bath oil. I take a deep breath as the steam rises, and I feel the tension leave my body.

My mother used to complain about how ugly her toes were and how her cracked skin and callouses made walking painful. At that time, this service was not widely offered, and while she did not suffer in silence, Mother suffered nonetheless.

My pedicurist took her time and gently attended to each of my digits before moving on to sanding and removing the beginnings of callouses on my feet. I watched as she opened and unwrapped her clippers and other tools. It was reassuring to see sanitary implements being used. At various times during this phase, she anointed my feet with all sorts of healing and softening oils.

Because I try to have regular pedicures, I have avoided the cracked skin that plagued my mom. By having my nails filed to smooth edges, I am prevented from snagging my toes on something and having the nail torn off and my toe becoming infected. As a CADdy, I try to prevent infections caused by injuries.

The best part is phase two: the massage. A good massage often takes at least an hour. To avoid damaging delicate and desiccated skin tissue, coconut, olive, or other softening oils are used.

As the muscles of my calves and feet are being kneaded, I fill my mind with visions of blood coursing through the veins in my legs, down through my feet, and swirling into the tips of my toes before beginning the journey back to my heart. I know my circulation is helped by this because the blood spreads warmth throughout my legs.

On its website, the company Cloud Massage notes that, “Regular leg and foot massages are good for joint pain and injuries. In fact, sore or strained muscles that receive frequent massage treatments heal faster and become stronger and more flexible.” It adds that it’s a “good idea to pair strengthening exercises and stretches with massages to speed up recovery time and minimize the risk of future injuries.” All of that sounds good for a CADdy.

A closeup of a woman receiving a foot massage. Only two legs and two arms and hands are visible.

Mary’s feet receive a stimulating massage. (Photo by Mary Lott)

10 appealing appendages

I have returned home and am looking at my terrific tootsies. My nails look nice and smooth. There is a coat of gel polish on each. Even after several hours, my skin is soft and supple. I have no callouses pressing into the bottoms of my feet. All the hangnails and skin fractures that could become infected are gone. It was a well spent two-hour pampering session for this CADdy.

My mother would have thought I am being unnecessarily indulgent. My daughters do not. They are the ones who turned me into a pedicure junkie. After carefully considering the question “Pedicures, a luscious luxury or needful necessity?” I have decided it is a great necessity. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Note: Cold Agglutinin Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cold Agglutinin Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cold agglutinin disease.