The need to make a clean break from the old, sometimes less-than-sanitary, pedicure cycle for clients, technicians, patients, and podiatrists alike inspired the creation of CleanSpa Pure Pedicure in St. Louis. Podiatrist Michael Horwitz and his wife, Angela Horwitz, own CleanSpa as well as the Feet For Life Podiatry Centers and Mid County Surgery Center. “Quite often we have individuals tell us, ‘I am so embarrassed to show you my feet,’ and we are proud to tell them that they are the reason we are here. We can help,” says Dr. Horwitz.
WHERE MEDI MEETS PEDI
For many years, Dr. Horwitz assisted patients who came to him with issues that were caused by bad pedicure experiences, or patients who have chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, who believe they aren’t able to ever have a pedicure due to the possible danger of infection. He also wanted to assist patients’ family and friends who just wished to have a pedicure provided safely. With the opening of CleanSpa last year, he and his staff are able to provide an amazing spa experience with the beauty expertise of the nail technicians and the medical support of a podiatric office.
There are many factors in salons that can lend to the infection “perfect storm.” Incorrect floor plan placement, poor cleaning and service protocol, undereducated and uninformed technicians, the push to rush through services, improper and poor quality equipment and technology, and the lack of ongoing training and support are just a few. Quite often in the interest of conserving space, the floor plan of a salon will place manicure tables close to the pedicure tubs. The debris that is created by filing the nails can contain germs and/or fungal spores that can settle on foreign surfaces and when combined with the wet surface of a pedicure tub, make a nasty mix that can be detrimental to an individual whose immunity is compromised or has just the right set of wrong circumstances in place that can lead to an infection.
CleanSpa has gone two steps beyond to ensure this risk is minimized. The CleanSpa manicure tables are located away and separate from the wet pedicure tubs. Also, Dr. Horwitz has created a custom-built nail care ventilation system that prevents any nail debris from leaving the area of the manicure service. All table surfaces are cleaned completely after every treatment and there is a filtration system that is replaced after each individual client. CleanSpa decor is minimal, so there are few items stored at each table to assist in not retaining dust.
CleanSpa provides two different seating accommodations for pedicures. There are sleek Italian air massage wet pedicure chairs, which are cleaned internally and externally after every service. Zero-gravity reclining chairs also provide wonderful seating for individuals who may find it challenging to access a traditional pedicure chair, as well as expectant mothers — they are truly a luxurious experience for anyone who wishes to have the ultimate in pedicures. Improper cleaning of wet areas and floors is a reason people may pick up an infection, and CleanSpa goes above and beyond to make sure all seating is safe between each and every service.
The use of an autoclave to sterilize all implements between each service is key. If an implement isn’t able to be sterilized, it is a one-time use implement and disposed of after each client. Clients can watch as the sterilized implement packets are opened for each service. Latex-free gloves are worn at all times.
Another huge factor that can contribute to the transference of bacteria and fungus is linens. Services can sometimes use up to six towels per treatment, so at CleanSpa linens are not taken lightly. There is a linen service, which picks up all linens to be steam cleaned and sterilized. The staff does not have to worry about the handling of linens and there is peace of mind that all linens are exceptionally clean for each and every use. This level of overall care protects not only the clients but the health of the nail technician as well.
When a new nail technician joins the team, she is immediately enrolled to become a certified Advanced Nail Technician/Medical Nail Technician. This certification enables technicians to assist a podiatrist in areas of podiatric care. For example, she can recognize conditions that require a medical referral during a client’s initial evaluation and assist with laser treatments for the care of fungal nail infections.
To empower the technicians with the knowledge and ability to do more to assist their clients in both medical and cosmetic foot care is of tremendous value to the techs and podiatrist, and it inherently increases both the client base and revenue for all parties involved. For the tech, the foot spa setting fosters an increased level of tipping on average and a definite boost in commissions per spa service. The advent of the ANT/MNT helps free up the podiatrist in areas of topical foot care that previously would have bogged down his schedule with lower income services that can now be performed by the ANT/MNT and enables the podiatrist to focus on the more invasive and involved areas of foot care.
At CleanSpa, clients are not rushed through and the technicians are able to provide quality relaxation and health-oriented care. The service is an experience and not a task. “CleanSpa is an amazing model for podiatrists and nail technicians and we are encouraged by the high interest from both,” says Dr. Horwitz. “Foot spas can bring about an incredibly positive improvement for these industries, possibly bringing them into a partnership in protecting clients while providing clients luxury and conscientious foot care. Truly, a pedicure may be a life or death circumstance for clients with healing issues. Stepping up to performing expert and safe pedicures for these clients can become a life-altering opportunity for nail technicians.”
With 31 years’ experience as technician, salon manager, and salon owner, Denise Baich writes articles for two industries, focusing these efforts on education and regulation of professionals on issues important to their success. She is currently spa director at CleanSpa (www.cleanspa.com). For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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