Spa

By Kelly Hushin

When I walked into Exhale Spa on Central Park South two weeks ago, the condition of my feet was beyond distressing. Caution: The following is not for the squeamish. I had innumerable blisters, two-week-old, purplish-red, chipped nail polish, calluses as tough as rhino-skin and a few other atrocious abrasions that made me feel particularly guilty about even thinking someone might be able to help them. What should I expect after a summer of too-high heels, strappy sandals and hard, plastic flats? But to my pleasant surprise and contentment, Tiheny – my pedicurist – knew just what my tortured skin needed. She taught me the one word answer that will give all you poor souls suffering from post-summer sandal recovery hope: Paraffin. This made PerfectSense (and was ironically the name of the company that makes the treatment I was about to undergo).

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It’s not new to any of us…paraffin that is.The privileged few that frequently experience mani/pedis know that they often end with a hand/foot dip into a hot bag or tub of the wax, which results in baby-bottom-soft skin. At Exhale though, the Red-Rock Detox treatment gives typical paraffin treatments a run for their money. The Red-Rock treatment does not subject hands and feet to the tub-dipping or plastic bag wrapping that we often associate with paraffin. Instead, each treatment is individual and disposable, so any cross-contamination issues are completely avoided. Each plastic glove or bootie is equipped with a solid paraffin block infused with red rock clay and green silts from Romania – how exotic – that magically melts upon activation of the Red-Rock steam system.

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Tiheny, my beautifully skilled miracle worker who hails from the Dominican Republic and Queens, began with the standard Exhale pedicure – scaling away my pavement-like heels, pushing back my unkempt cuticles, and soothingly rubbing various exfoliates and creams onto my troubled tootsies. After a thoroughly difficult work-out, she managed to make my feet look and feel considerably better. She then started the paraffin process; hanging each bootie around a disposable heat bag and then pouring in the aqueous solution that starts the steam going. After a few minutes, the room was filled with the refreshing scent of lavender steam which came billowing out of the chamber. The melting had begun.

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After the minerals and wax was ready, my feet were wrapped in the plastic, paraffin-filled boots and also some cotton slippers. Tiheny then left me and my feet alone to blissfully moisturize. I could have sat there in those wax socks forever.

This healing treatment was well worth it, but don’t make the mistake I made and neglect to bring your flip-flops! Within five minutes of having my feet treated, filed, cleansed and painted, I nearly ruined it all by slipping back into the high-heels I had worn into the salon. And with my poor skin’s new vulnerability and softness, the walk back to the subway was worse than a 26-mile marathon in sneakers could ever be. Talk about learning a lesson the “hard” way.

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The only consolation is that I had a similar treatment waiting for me at home to refresh my feet a few days later. The good news for all fellow sufferers is that ordering an at-home paraffin treatment is only $40 away at www.sparevolutions.com.

The PerfectSense Paraffin and Aromatheraphy at-home kit includes four treatments which can be used on either hands or feet. The kit comes in a plastic, box-like bag with convenient handles and everything packed to the brim inside. The kit, made by the same as those who make the Red Rock, features the Infusions Blend of minerals (the Red Rock is the highest-end mix and is only available in spas.) With a simple pour of the AromaVapor Solution into the PerfecTemp pouch, the steam starts to emit and the paraffin melts. About 10 minutes later, the gloves/booties are ready to use. . . DIYers rejoice!

Exhale Spa
150 Central Park South
New York, NY 10019
Ph: (212) 249-3000 Fax: (212) 561-7415
www.exhalespa.com

Originally published October 2007
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