How to make a Foot Bath
Health and Wellbeing
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Health and Wellbeing
Thousands of years ago the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans knew a thing or two about the hygienic, therapeutic and medicinal properties of hot springs and of salt-rich and natural mineral waters. The latter introduced us to their many benefits and devotees are to be found worldwide. Historically the rich and famous, royalty included, indulged their fascination with the ‘spa’ experience. Elizabeth I enjoyed the pleasure and rewards of visiting the spa town of Bath. Mary Queen of Scots ‘took the waters’ in Buxton.
Our current love affair with health spas as a source of wellness and pampering shows no signs of abating and the rewards offered are one of the luxuries of present day living. The word ‘spa’ refers to a place where mineral rich spring or sea water is regarded as physically and spiritually uplifting and may possibly have been derived from the town of Spa in Belgium where in 1326 a natural spring was discovered or from the Latin “Sanitas Per Aquam” meaning “health through water”. Bathing in these restorative waters has long been thought to detoxify, alleviate aches and pains, stimulate metabolism, increase vitality and bring about a healthy equilibrium between body and environment.
Contemporary spa facilities include a vast array of massage treatments alongside hydrotherapy pools, reflexology foot baths, steam rooms and saunas with an emphasis on pampering, relaxation and calm. Much sought after, they offer a luxurious escape from the stresses and strains of workaday life with many potential physical and spiritual benefits.
Although it is generally accepted that herb-infused hot salt water soaks can be very beneficial, there is much controversy concerning their ability to detoxify. What can reliably be said is that whatever their purpose they certainly provide that ‘feel good’ factor!
There are simple alternatives to visiting expensive spa venues especially under current restrictions. From the comfort of our own four walls it is possible to indulge in some pampering, de-stressing and restorative relaxation using the best of nature’s bounty. Create your own place to ‘chill’ and ‘recharge your batteries’.
Let’s take feet as an example. When was the last time any of us paused to appreciate those very things that work so hard for us, that we literally rely on totally for support throughout our lives? The most likely answer is – when they start to let us down! What negligence! Maybe we should give them the attention they deserve and treat ourselves into the bargain!
There are thousands of nerves in feet that connect with the rest of the body and these are some of the routes by which we discharge toxins. The Japanese and Chinese have long been aware of the importance of feet and their contribution to the wellbeing of mind and body. Foot therapies and foot bathing are an everyday part of life in both cultures.
Pamper, sooth and treat those much neglected feet!
Very little equipment is needed to enjoy your own personal pamper session –
Now for the interesting bit! The aim is to clean, heat, treat, sooth and relax. A tall order!
Or you could buy a food bath here
This is where some form of salt leaps to the rescue. Salt comes in numerous guises from many different locations worldwide. Rock salt is mined, sea salt is evaporated from the sea. Common table salt has been refined and processed to make it free flowing and more user friendly resulting in far less minerals and nutrients (for example – potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium) than unadulterated rock or sea salt.
It may be salient at this point to mention Epsom Salt. These white crystals of magnesium sulphate originate from a spring in Epsom, Surrey. Unlike a culinary salt, it is bitter and unpleasant to taste but has long been regarded as the ‘go to’ remedy, when dissolved in a hot bath, for soaking tired, aching, sore bodies. The means by which this is supposedly achieved is through skin absorption. Said to have numerous other health benefits such as curing constipation and inducing sleep, there have been no conclusive studies confirming any of these claims.
Hot water in which any salt has been dissolved will help remove dirt, step-up circulation, relieve aches and pains, rehydrate, soften skin and improve a variety of skin conditions. Some people would argue that sea and rock salt have the greater health-giving properties. Certainly the more exotic products sourced from the most unexpected locations with their often colourful and jewel-like crystals are an indulgence which would make any foot-soak experience extra special!
Experiment with some of the following –
Last, but certainly not least, are the herbs and spices with their own, often surprising, properties that together with salt are the perfect recipe for a soothing, refreshing foot soak. Spoil yourself with the best possible authentic products that are pure and unadulterated!
All herbs and spices are interesting in that not only do they come into their own in the kitchen they are also very useful ‘tools’ medicinally. Many have antibacterial, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti inflammatory and antifungal properties. Whether the purpose is to refresh and revitalise or to relax and de-stress, nature can provide just the thing! During the restorative process so much more can be going on. Impurities will be removed, the aches and pains of sore feet and skin infections relieved, swellings reduced, energy revived, skin softened and conditioned – not to mention the possibility of soothing headaches and inducing restful sleep – and have I mentioned the fragrance?
Experiment with some of the following –
As a rough guide 2 oz salt (about 2 heaped tablespoons ~60g) and 2 heaped teaspoons each of up to three herbs or spices would be a good start. Here is a chance to experiment with different quantities/ratios and combinations of ingredients discovering an individually tailored product to suit you.
Put the chosen ingredients (loose or tied in muslin) in 1/2 pint of just boiled water and leave to steep for between 20 and 30 minutes.
Place enough comfortably hot water in the bowl to cover feet or higher. Pour the herb and salt mixture into the bowl. Submerge feet, relax and forget the cares of the world… (well, for 30 minutes at least!) Wonderful!
Dry feet, moisturise and put on socks.
Foot bath suggestions for salt and herbal infusions:-
Take a look at our Herbal Foot Spa Ingredients Collection.
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