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5 Ideas to combine simple health checks with regular beauty appointments

Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of the book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and runs the popular health and fitness website of the same name, where she tries out a new workout every month, specializing...

What if a mani-pedi could save your life?

Getting a haircut isn't usually seen as a stressful thing, but some Los Angeles barbers are now checking their clients' blood pressure between snips. It made me think about how we could reach out to women with similar preventative precautions while still getting our to-do list done.

Woman getting a shot at the dentist

Photo credit: iStock /360/Getty Images

Since black men are one of the hardest groups to reach when it comes to preventative medical care (and yet they have a higher risk of heart disease), it's pretty ingenious that doctors are taking the testing to them by making it available at the local barbershop.

Here are some ideas for health care and beauty combos to benefit women:

1. Glaucoma scan at your facial

You're relaxed, your head is still and you can't go anywhere anyhow while your mask is opening up your pores (or whatever it is masks do — obviously, I don't get them). So why not get a quick eye scan done? Not only can a machine quickly check for glaucoma, but it could also look for increased eye pressure and check your vision. All the better to see your new, glowing skin with!

2. Vaccinations during your bikini wax

Think that because you got your childhood vaccines that you're set for life? Not so, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They recommend adult booster shots for almost all the vaccines, including the MMR and Tdap. And what better time to get a shot than while you're already in pain from getting your nethers bathed in hot wax? Although, maybe not at exactly the same time — you definitely don't want to jump while the aesthetician is doing her thing.

3. Blood sugar check during pedicures

Your toes can show nerve damage from diabetes — something your manicurist could check by giving you an extra nip with the cuticle scissors. And a quick finger prick (perhaps while you pick out your polish, Sleeping Beauty style?) would show if you have elevated blood sugar levels.

4. Cholesterol check during manicures

They're already holding your hands, would you even notice if they were trained to prick your finger and take a quick blood sample while your "Beets Me" purple dries? High levels of LDL cholesterol can be an early warning sign of heart disease and low levels of HDL cholesterol mean you need more healthy fats in your diet — both things that would be at least as important to know as how long your gel mani will last.

5. Flu shot while whitening teeth

There's a lot you can't do while wearing bleach trays (like, oh, talk), but you certainly can get a little shot in the arm. Plus, you already know your dentist is handy with a needle.

OK, so these are pretty silly, but there is a serious lack of emphasis on preventative health care in the U.S., and giving people affordable and easy access to basic tests could save a lot of money — and lives — in the long run. And we need to find new ways to reach people who wouldn't normally see a doctor. After all, you may forget to schedule your yearly check-up, but your hair appointment? Set in stone! (Don't you know how hard it is to get in to see Raul?!) 

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