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New Business Focuses On Healthy Foot Care

Back On Her Feet

New Business Focuses On Healthy Foot Care

Advanced Nail Technician Paula Edwardsen, examines the feet of lifelong friend and well known ultra hiker/runner Esther White. Edwardsen recently opened her office along with White in her Natural Alternatives space at 1455 E. G St., Oakdale. Teresa Hammond/The Leader

POSTED February 1, 2017 11:06 a.m.
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Now less than two years in remission from a brain tumor, Edwardsen is hoping to help others find comfort and healing, as was once done for her. But finding her current path did not come easy.

At the peak of her career as a business owner and Executive Pastry Chef, Edwardsen found herself struggling. The struggle did not come by way of her workload or even clientele. The long time food enthusiast recalls finding herself happy in the kitchen as early as eight years old.

The struggle she had was with her brain. Literally.

In the early ‘90s a brain tumor was discovered. During the next decade Edwardsen would undergo four brain surgeries to address the problem. She shared that while it was not cancerous its patterns and effects were similar. Yet she continued to work.

By 2008 this was no longer an option, she could no longer work in this physical field. The brain tumor began taking over her life. From 2008 to present day, there have been four more surgeries. No number of surgeries or doctors seemed able to get the tumor to the point of remission. She became bedridden and could no longer walk.

“They told me she’s done,” she said of an eye-opening appointment with doctors, noting fluid on the brain which continued and a white noise she could never escape.

“I just made up my mind that I wasn’t going to die this way,” she said. “I fought my way out of bed, but I had to get into remission. I had no control over that, but I knew I was going to fight my way out of bed somehow and be mobile.”

She began with baby steps and reached out to her lifelong friend and schoolmate Esther White.

White, the owner of Oakdale’s Natural Alternatives, is a long time massage therapist and personal trainer. Using alternative methods and reflexology she’s been noted as stating she’s the final stop for most of her clients, when traditional medicinal practices give up.

“I always knew when I was in bed those eight years that this was not my life,” Edwardsen said. “This was not my story. I’ve already mourned the fact that I’ll never be a chef again, that was a horrible thing.”

With the help of her friend and her determination, the rehabilitation continued and she began feeling stronger, slowly.

“One day two years ago, I was lying in bed and the white noise stopped,” she said of the constant sound which played in her heard. “I cried for three days. I knew I was well. I knew I was in remission.”

And she was, but now what?

“I had to get a life coach,” she said. “I only knew how to be sick. I had to learn how to be well, how to be truly well.”

As she began making progress the next question came naturally.

“What can I do?,” she said of reflecting on her future. “I’m in my middle 50’s and I’ve got to do something that matters.”

With the help of her sister-in-law, she happened upon an untapped opportunity. An opportunity which services individuals beyond vanity, but may actually alter their life if done properly.

Edwardsen recently completed her certifications and licensing as a Nail Technician, Advance Nail Technician and a Medical Nail Technician. Her advanced schooling is one that is uncommon in the valley. Her focus, as stated on her promotional card: “Advance certification to work along with local podiatrist in providing monthly foot care maintenance and diabetic monitoring.”

Edwardsen’s Advanced Nail Technology business offers waterless pedicures and specialty care for clients with diabetes.

According to the technician, water soaks are not conducive to those battling diabetes, most specifically the older client.

“The skin changes,” she said, “the feet are dry, callous … and they get infections really easily.

“There’s a lot of stuff people don’t realize,” she continued. “What you do with diabetics, is that you do waterless because you can’t soak them. Soaking breaks down the skin, that gives them portals for infection and opens them up for bacteria.”

The specialist shares she spends an hour to an hour and a half on each client. During an appointment she also has the ability to gather tissue samples or nail clippings for lab examination if there is concern in the way of fungus or foreign bacteria. This can then be shared with a podiatrist for proper treatment.

“Your whole well-being begins at your feet,” she said. “To do something like this, you’re the type of person that wants to service another person to make their life better.”

Edwardsen also offers pedicure treatment for non-diabetic clients, in search of a more sterile environment versus the traditional nail salon.

“You’ve got to take the build-up off in layers,” she said of calluses and nail build up. “I always use disposable boards and I sanitize everything else.

“I will polish,” she added of her pedicure practice, “but they never ask for polish on their toes. You know what they say, I love my feet. I don’t want to cover them up.”

Edwardsen just moved into an office space at the beginning of this year with White. With just one month of service under her belt, she shared her clientele is slowly building.

“I get really emotional,” she said of this opportunity and her second chance. “Cleaning feet is almost a spiritual thing. It’s subservient, but it’s humbling too. To be able to wash and fix somebody’s feet and know that I can make them feel better … it just cheers me.”

Edwardsen is located in shared space with Natural Alternatives at 1455 E. G St, Oakdale. To schedule an appointment, call (415) 948-4196.

“I like the fact that I can make a difference for somebody,” Edwardsen shared. “Even though it’s something really small, it’s something they can’t do for themselves.”

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