Medical Pedicures & Manicures Come to the Peninsula Tokyo
French podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez is on a mission to reclaim the original meaning of "pedicure," which derives from the Latin for "foot cure." A former skier who found his calling after a race injury, his treatments aim to address the root of common foot and nail problems, rather than simply covering them up with polish. Now, Gonzalez's unique offerings are available for the first time in Japan at the Peninsula Spa.
I rarely treat myself to a professional pedicure, so when I realized that the Bastien version doesn’t include polish of the nails, I’ll admit that I was skeptical. But I was also curious, so I decided to give it a shot.
My treatment was performed by Benoit Perié, the studio manager for Bastien Gonzalez at the Peninsula Tokyo and a French podiatrist himself. He explained that the Bastien pedicure combines what you would get from a podiatrist with what you would normally get at a salon.
The treatment removes any calluses and corns, while also beautifying the feet and nails.
As he spoke, Benoit pulled out a pack of sterilized doctors’ tools; this was my first clue that what I was in for would not be your average pedicure.
Benoit started by removing my existing nail varnish and then trimming, filing and buffing my nails. He also used a fine dental drill with a diamond coated bit to further smooth the nails (because of the delicate nature of the hands, this step is only performed on the feet).
There was lots of buffing with different leather buffers, with the final step using a paste containing mother of pearl, which imparts a long-lasting shine to the nails. The drill was used again to grind down and smooth the hard skin around the nails, before an oil was applied to nourish the cuticles and the skin around the nails.
Next, the doctor went to work on my feet, using a surgical scalpel to deftly and painlessly remove dead skin and calluses. Surprisingly, this was not at all aggressive, and Benoit explained that, with the right technique, the perfect amount of skin can be removed, leaving enough to protect the feet. The dental drill came out one last time to buff away the last bits of dead skin (a process that made me slightly ticklish).
Now that my feet and nails were smooth and shiny, Benoit used a water-based cream to facilitate a foot and leg massage designed to improve circulation and joint mobility. I sat back and closed by eyes during this part, enjoying the relaxing sensation of the massage. The finishing touch was the application of a “leg shimmer”—a dry oil that absorbs quickly and leaves a mother of pearl sheen on the skin.
When I stood up from the chair, I felt noticeably lighter, which Benoit credited to the upward motion of the leg massage.
I looked down and saw that my toenails looked the best they ever had without polish on them (although for varnish addicts, a painting of the nails can be added to any treatment).
It seemed a shame to hide them inside shoes, so it’s a good thing that sandal season has officially arrived!
A Bastien pedicure lasts 70 minutes and costs ¥22,500. Manicures (55 minutes, ¥20,500) are also available, as are synchronized duo treatments in which one therapist each works on the hands and feet.
Address: The Peninsula Spa, 1-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Open: Daily, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.Tel: 03-6270-2299