Yesterday, we explored Dry Brushing. Today we’re going to check out another simple, inexpensive detox method appropriate for (almost) everyone: Foot Soaks.
We tend to shove our feet in shoes every day and then pretty much forget about them unless or until they start to ache. Which is rather a shame, because our feet are kind of amazing. For example, did you know that your feet have awesome detoxing powers? It’s true!
All skin has pores, but the pores of your feet are particularly well suited to absorbing good stuff and excreting toxins. This means that foot soaks are a fantastic way to pull toxins out of your body and absorb helpful minerals and essential oils. Even better, this method bypasses your liver and standard elimination pathways. This means they’re often safe even (perhaps especially) when your body is too overburdened to safely use many other forms of detox!
Although you can pay big money to get a detoxifying foot soak at a salon or spa, they’re cheap and easy to do at home. What you need:
- Something to hold water that is big enough to put your feet in. Dish tubs (from your local big box or dollar store) work great, but feel free to use whatever you want. If you’re in a pinch, your tub or even a sink will work!
- Epsom Salts and/or baking soda. Epsom salts do a phenomenal job of drawing toxins from your body and restoring your body’s balance of magnesium (which many people are chronically deficient in). I like this brand, but you can find epsom salts everywhere from grocery stores to hardware stores. (Tips: ES last forever, so buy in bulk. Avoid the scented stuff as it’s almost always laden with counter productive chemical fragrances.) Baking soda makes a nice booster, and can serve as a lower impact substitute if necessary.
- Essential oil. Strictly speaking, these are optional, but they can be a highly therapeutic upgrade to your soak! There’s no need to shell out for the pricier brands; NOW Foods, Eden’s Garden, and Aura Cacia all do a great job. Scents like lavender and chamomile, or blends with names like “relaxation” will be soothing and calming, while peppermint, eucalyptus, or citrus blends will be invigorating. (Tip: Fighting a cold? Use somebody’s version of Thieves oil to knock it out! Battling insomnia? Add a few drops of a “Good Night” style blend to a before-bed soak!)
- Water. Any potable (safe to drink) water will do, but if your water supply is heavily chlorinated (or otherwise chemical-ized) you may want to opt for filtered/purified water.
- A towel. To put the tub on, if necessary, to catch water sloshed onto your floor and to dry off your feet when you’re done.
Measure the epsom salt and/or baking soda and essential oil(s) into your soaking tub. (Confession: If my husband sees this, he’s going to laugh. I may or may not “measure” via *very carefully* eyeballed pouring and/or random handfuls when I do this for myself…) Fill the tub with enough water to comfortably cover your feet, about up to your ankles. It should be comfortably and soothingly warm, but not too hot. Swish the water around to make sure the salts fully dissolve. Place the tub on a towel on the floor, then sit down, pop your feet into the tub, lean back and relax!
If you are new to detox foot soaking, start very conservatively!! Seriously, I’m talking 1/4 cup of epsom salts in your first foot soak! Remember, if you try to detox too hard or too fast you’ll give yourself a nasty detox hangover – even when you’re working around your main elimination pathways. If you find you have no trouble with this dose, you can slowly increase from there.
Similarly, start with a modest soaking time of about 20 minutes. If you tolerate that well, you can progressively extend the length of your soaks. I like a full 40 minutes when I can get it in, but you really need to give yourself about 20 minutes to reap full benefit. As with every form of detoxing, remember to drink plenty of water before/after your soak. Drawing toxins out of your body will get things moving, and being properly hydrated is essential.
IMPORTANT: Anyone with circulation issues (such as diabetes) should approach foot soaks cautiously as they can have an exaggerated effect. Start very gently, and discuss with your doctor beforehand if you have any concerns! And, as always, women who are pregnant should clear ANY potential detox with their doctor first.
Are you a fan of foot soaks?