Pedicure is a treatment which helps to rejuvenate and beautify the feet. Massaging the feet, trimming toenails, and painting them with nail polish would all come under the category of pedicure. Salons all over the world offer special pedicure treatments, apart from nail salons that specialize in this form of treatment.
The term “pedicure” comes from the Latin words “pedis” which means foot, and “cura” which means nurture, treatment, or care. Apart from the obvious cosmetic use of the treatment, pedicure also has many health benefits. Proper care of the feet can prevent nail disorders and diseases. It can also help in improving the posture of an individual. And of course, it can offer much needed relaxation to tired feet in the form of a foot massage. All of these benefits have been recognized since ancient times. In fact, pedicure has a long history that dates back several thousand years.
Some sources indicate that the practice originated in Egypt, in the royal palaces of the long line of Pharaohs that ruled the land. Ancient carvings found in Egypt depict people of high society receiving treatments that resemble modern-day pedicure and manicure procedures. It is evident from these sources that there was some form of foot treatment in Egypt as far back as 2300 B.C, especial among royalty and the nobles of that ancient land.
We already know that the Egyptians of the days of the Pharaohs had a fairly advanced form of taking care of their body, especially after the death of people in high positions. Mummified bodies of many Pharaohs have been found exceptionally well preserved to this day. Therefore, they must have had the practice of caring for their bodies even when they were alive. It is quite probable that they practiced pedicures and manicures in one form or another in those days. Queen Nefertiti, who was one of the most popular and powerful queens in Egypt is known to have painted her nails in a flashy shade of ruby. Red was used to indicate that a person belonged to the highest class in society.
Other ancient sources indicate that pedicures and manicures were followed in southern Babylonia as well. The nobles of the land seemed to have used solid tools of gold for these procedures. While in China, the practice of painting one’s nails with different colors started even earlier. Nail painting seems to have originated in China around 3000 B.C. The color of the nail polish was used to indicate one’s place in society. Manuscripts from the Ming Dynasty suggest that the nobles painted their nails red and black to indicate their status.
Apart from the Egyptians, the Romans also seem to have had their own form of caring for their bodies. Cleopatra, who was one of the most famous characters during the time of the Roman Empire is known to have used nail polish. She is said to have painted her nails deep red, apart from the various cosmetic treatments that she supposedly received to preserve her beauty.
While all the ancient sources seem to indicate that these practices were in vogue thousands of years ago, we cannot be sure where and when these practices originated. While there is considerable debate over their origin, we can be sure that pedicures and manicures were not a recent invention.
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