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Why Soak Your Feet + How to Do it for Maximum Therapeutic Benefit

Why and How to Soak Your Feet for Therapeutic Benefit


Feet… we rely on them to move us an untold number of steps in our lifetimes, but we rarely think of them (except when they hurt!) and do precious little to care for them. Seems to me they deserve more thanks than they are getting! 

One way I’ve recently started taking better care of my feet, as well as my entire body, is through the practice of soaking them in Epsom salt and essential oils. Not only does this show my feet some pampering and love, but it is a relaxing, detoxifying evening ritual that decreases stress and grounds my energy. 

We’ve also found that it’s the perfect thing for our whole family to take part in while reading or watching a movie. My 6-year old actually asks if we can soak our feet!   

Epsom salt has many health, beauty, household, and gardening-related uses. Focusing solely on the health and wellness benefits in this post.  


 
NOT FAMILIAR WITH EPSOM SALT?

Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate.

Magnesium plays a role in hundreds of structural and functional processes in our bodies, including regulating the activity of hundreds of enzymes, reducing inflammation, regulating the neuromuscular activity of the heart (maintaining normal heart muscle contraction and rhythm), converting blood sugar into energy, and metabolizing calcium and vitamin C. 

Higher magnesium intakes have been linked to multiple health benefits, such as a lower risk of heart disease, fewer migraines, reduced symptoms of depression, and improved blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and sleep. I can personally testify that I sleep more soundly when I take magnesium glycinate after dinner or soak my feet in magnesium-rich Epsom salt before bed.

A sulfate is a salt that forms when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical, such as magnesium. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins, and ease migraines. 

Magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin when added to warm or hot water, making Epsom salt baths or foot soaks an easy way to benefit from the numerous health benefits of this compound. 

Plus, Epsom salt is extremely economical (i.e., super cheap!) and can be easily found in drug stores and supermarkets. 



HEALTH BENEFITS OF EPSOM SALT

Often made into bath salts, foot soaks, body scrubs, and soaps, Epsom salt has been used for hundreds of years as a healing agent (cuts, skin conditions, fungal issues), pain reliever (sprains, strains, back pain, aching limbs), treatment for colds and congestion, drawer of toxins out of the body, and stress reducer. 

Eases stress, relaxes, and ground the body
Stress drains your body of magnesium and increases your level of adrenaline. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in your body. The magnesium then helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within your brain that creates feelings of calm and relaxation. 

Magnesium also lowers the effects of adrenaline, reducing irritability and helping you relax. It improves sleep and concentration, and helps your muscles and nerves function properly.

Relieves pain and muscle cramps
Epsom salt baths removes toxins from the body that can cause irritation, inflammation, and body pain. At the same time, they are known to ease pain and relieve inflammation, making them beneficial in the treatment of sore muscles, migraines, and achy feet. In addition, they have been known to reduce soreness after childbirth. Many physicians recommend Epsom salt foot baths for patients who suffer from arthritis or athletic injuries. 

Treating fungal infection 
Epsom salt is an excellent anti-fungal and anti-bacterial used to treat cuts, wounds, and infections. While it doesn’t cure the infection, Epsom salt can be used to draw out the infection and soften the skin to help boost medication effects. It can assist with toenail fungus and athlete’s foot. For people with diabetes, soaking the feet helps improve circulation and heals infections. Epsom salt also helps neutralize foot odor.

You can read more about the overall benefits and household uses of Epsom salt here or here.   


HOW TO SOAK YOUR FEET TO ACHIEVE THERAPEUTIC BENEFITS

First, the super easy recipe! My 6-year old daughter can make this in about a minute! 

TO MAKE: Pour 1 cup of Epsom salt into a glass bowl. Add 10 drops of essential oils (see recipes below) and ½ Tablespoon carrier oil (I’ve used almond oil, apricot kernel oil, fractionated coconut oil, and olive oil infused with calendula). Stir contents with a metal spoon until the oils are evenly dispersed throughout the Epsom salt. 



MY CURRENT FAVORITE RECIPE (perfect for the winter season)

I created this recipe in December, around the time of the winter solstice. Want my best tips for using essential oils during the winter season? Click here to get all the details!  

1 cup Epsom salts
½ T carrier oil 
4 drops Green Mandarin
3 drops Frankincense
3 drops Myrrh 

Why these three oils? So glad you asked! 

Frankincense is the perfect oil when seeking contemplation, tranquility, and truth. Powerful, yet gentle, it invites more protection, wisdom, and spiritual openness into your life, while promoting feelings of peace and relaxation.  

Myrrh’s greatest strength is helping you find inner stillness and peace. Along with Frankincense and Vetiver, it is one of the best oils for overthinking, worry, and mental distraction, which it helps you replace with a tranquility of mind. Myrrh is also moisturizing, which is helpful for dry, cracked feet. 

Green Mandarin is sedating and calming to the nervous system, while promoting courage and quiet strength. It is soothing for anxious feelings and strong emotions, such as anger and grief. It also helps reduce swelling and stimulate lymph drainage, which is useful for tired, aching feet. Above all else, though, I LOVE the aroma of this oil. It makes me happier every time I open the bottle!  



OTHER GREAT FOOT SOAK RECIPES

Cleanse My Feet!
1 cup Epsom salt
½ T carrier oil 
4 drops Melaleuca (tea tree) 
2 drops Eucalyptus 
2 drops Frankincense
2 drops Lavender 

Soothe My Achy Feet!
1 cup Epsom salt
½ T carrier oil
5 drops Lavender
3 drops Rosemary
1 drop Eucalyptus
1 drop Peppermint



TO USE: Place 1/3 cup of the mixture into a large basin that is big enough for your feet.  Save the rest of the mixture in a glass jar for later use.  I use an 8 oz canning jar (either this one or that one).  Fill bowl with hot water and mix until salt is dissolved.  Soak feet for 15 - 30 minutes.  Relax!  Dry feet with a towel. At this point, you could use a pumice stone or foot scraper to remove dead or calloused skin. 

Whether or not you exfoliate, thoroughly moisturize your feet with a natural ointment, body butter, or unscented lotion mixed with 1 to 2 drops of frankincense or other grounding essential oil of your choice. Let it soak in for 15–20 minutes. At this point, it would be a great idea to put on a pair of socks and head to bed.



HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SOAK MY FEET?

I recommend soaking your feet two to three times a week for 20 – 30 minutes. The energy medicine practitioner I see suggested I make this nightly practice for the grounding foot soaking provides. I have to admit, I haven’t come even close to achieving this as yet! 



Want more ways to treat your feet with Epsom salt? Here’s a good recipe for a foot scrub

Also keep in mind that natural foot soaking salts make great gifts for teachers, mailmen, friends, mother-in-laws, grandmothers, those under stress or experiencing ill health… basically most anyone. I gave a batch recently to a client who is undergoing cancer treatment. HINT: You might want to pin or bookmark this post for the holiday gift giving season! 😊 

Happy soaking!
Rachel

Reduce your stress, relax, and ground your body with therapeutic foot soaking

Know you need essential oils in your life, but not sure which ones might be best to start with? Let a certified aromatherapist (that's me!) help you figure it out! Click here to schedule a time for us to chat by phone. Prefer email? You can connect with me at rachel@holisticallyhealthyhome.com

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