As the days are cooling off, a warm, relaxing soak likely feels enticing at the end of a long day. For some people, soaking in a bath or soaking the looks like a luxury they don’t have time for. Our lives can be hectic, busy and demanding. However, all the on-the-go can take a toll on your body, especially your feet. Sometimes, one just needs to stop and take a load off their feet and have a foot soak.
Feet soaking is more than just feet in some warm water. Besides causing one to relax and relieve built-up stress, there are many benefits to your feet depending on what you put in the water. The different types of soaks yield different, but equally great benefits to one’s feet.
The most common types of feet soak are an Epsom salt soak and an essential oil soak.
Epsom Salt Foot Soaks
Epsom salt is a blend of sulfate and magnesium. When this is added to the warm foot soaking water, it can give one many health benefits including:
- Flushing toxins and heavy metals from skin cells
- Lowers inflammation
- Improves circulation
- Eases muscle cramps and joint pain
- Relaxes muscles and nerves and helps in their proper functioning
- Balances electrolyte levels
- Targets and helps eliminate harmful substances from the body
- Stops foot odor
- Heals ingrown toenails and foot fungus
- Soothes dry skin
Epsom salt is inexpensive and easy to find in stores. Simply add a few teaspoons to your foot washing basin and soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes.
Essential Oils Soak
If you’re into essential oils and home remedies, try these foot soaks:
Cedarwood oil soak: Cedarwood has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, making this soak great in treating Athlete’s Foot and other foot fungus conditions
Cypress oil soak: Cypress oil acts as a deodorant and antiseptic, making this soak an effective treatment of blisters and foot odor.
Juniper berry oil soak: The berry of the Juniper plant lowers the discomfort of muscle aches and is great at treating arthritis in the foot.
Lavender oil soak: Lavender is a relaxant and pain reliever, making this foot soak great for healing sore muscles and joints and conditions like plantar fasciitis.
Rosemary oil soak: Rosemary has antiseptic properties and is great at soothing tired and sore muscles, making this soak a great one to do after a long day on your feet.
Wintergreen oil is considered nature’s aspirin. It helps with pain and swelling and has a cooling sensation that is particularly pleasurable on tired feet.
Other homeopathic foot soaks include adding a small amount of whole milk or vegetable oil to the water. These ingredients can draw out toxins, preventing infections and create smooth skin on the feet. After thoroughly rinsing the feet off, apply a foot or body lotion to lock in the moisture. Epsom salt and essential oils can also be added to this foot soak.
As therapeutic as foot soaks are, they are not the cure-all for every foot condition. In fact, foot soaks are recommended for minor aches and pains. If you notice any of the following on your foot, see a podiatrist as soon as possible and forgo the soak:
- Severe foot pain that comes on suddenly
- Swelling or redness of the foot or feet
- Experience diabetic foot pain
- Experience pain in your foot or feet that lasts longer than seven days
- Tenderness, bruising or bleeding after a foot injury
Feet discomfort, pain, injury and infection can be serious. While feet soaking can relieve stress, tight and sore muscles and joints, soothe skin, and heal blisters and minor cuts and foot pain, more serious foot conditions need to be examined by a foot doctor. If you experience persistent, severe foot pain from a foot injury or an infection from cuts or ingrown toenails, a foot soak isn’t recommended, but rather an appointment with your podiatrist.