Foot soak: a DIY treat for your feet

Immersing your feet in a tub of warm water, even without anything extra in it, is a nice way to relax after a long day. A foot soak can soothe your muscles, hydrate your skin and may relieve aches and pain.  A little rough skin helps protect our feet, if you’re prone to developing thick calluses, softening them in a soak makes them easier to exfoliate. Soaking your feet on a daily basis can have a positive effect on your well being. A foot soak just before bed, for example, will help you to relax and enjoy the time you have before falling asleep in bed.

Preparing a foot soak at home can be as easy as filling an old washing up bowl with warm water. This alone can bring relaxation for your mind, increase circulation for your feet and aid the removal of hard or dry skin. Keep in mind that your feet may be dirty so, you do not want to use your nice soup pots for soaking your feet! However, buying plastic foot spas can prove to be pricey. Any flat bottomed bowl big enough to place both your feet in comfortably will make a great foot bowl.

There are some additions, however, that can enhance your  foot soak. Consider these options when caring for your hard-working feet:

Epsom Salt Foot Soak

Epsom salt, named for a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. This combination is a compound that may help flush toxins and heavy metals from your skin’s cells, reduce inflammation, increase circulation and ease muscle cramps and joint pain.  As your feet absorb the magnesium, pain-reducing ions are believed to be released, relaxing your muscles. Epsom salt can also quell foot odour, help prevent fungus and soothe dry skin.

You’ll find this healing salt at most chemists and supermarkets. Simply dissolve one cup of Epsom salt in warm water and soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes.

Dead sea salt Foot Soak

The waters of the Dead Sea have been renowned for their therapeutic effects since ancient times.
The waters from the Dead Sea are unique in that they contain 27% of various salts as compared to 3% in normal sea water. Further, while sodium accounts for approximately 80% of the salt content of normal sea water, it comprises much less of the salt total in water from the Dead Sea. The balance of the salts in Dead Sea water are magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride and bromides. It is renowned for having numerous beneficial effects on the body and skin and may be helpful for reducing stress, easing sore, stiff muscles and for skin conditions such as dermatitis and eczema.

Essential Oil Foot Soak

There are several ways to use essential oils at home, including adding a few drops to your soak. Here are some popular choices, which you can use individually or combine together for your healing foot treatment. Always be aware that some oils will not be appropriate for you so do seek advice from your therapist or essential oil supplier before using oils you are not familiar with. Here are some ideas, but there are lots of great essential oils which can benefit your feet and relax or revitalise your mind.

   Cedarwood oil is used as an antiseptic and anti-fungal.
   Lemongrass is an antiseptic and natural deodorant.
   Geranium is reported for its antiseptic and deodorising qualities.
   Lavender oil is a favorite for relaxation. It’s also know as a natural pain reliever.
   Ginger oil is reputed to improve circulation.

Essential oils will not mix in water without something to disperse them. After preparing the bath, mix five drops of your chosen essential oil with one dessertspoon of apple cider vinegar and add it to the bath. The apple cider vinegar a great way to help disperse the oil, and it also has its own therapeutic properties. Should you prefer not to use the apple cider vinegar, you could mix the essential oil with some powered milk, and forming it into a paste before mixing with the water, as it also helps to disperse the oil. If you don't have either a small drop of milk mixed with the oils will help to disperse it.

Salts and oils can both be used in one soak to create a truly soothing experience. If you have concerns about making your own foot soak then natural pre mixed products can be found in many health food retailers or online.

If you want to add an extra relaxing dimension to your footbath, you can place marbles or small pebbles at the bottom of the bath to run your feet over. Set the scene by playing relaxing music and dimming the lights. Always ensure you have towels close at hand to avoid walking with wet feet and risking slipping.

The process of soaking feet is cheap, easy, and relaxing. You do not have to go to a spa to feel pampered, and your body will thank you for the extra attention. Even if you are not looking for immediate results, soaking your feet can help reduce your stress levels and improve your overall feelings of wellbeing.

If you are preparing for a reflexology home visit then a great way to enhance your experience is to enjoy a foot soak prior to your appointment. Discussing appropriate oils with your aromatherapist can help you to tailor the soak to your needs.

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Posted on November 25, 2013 .