Many ancient civilizations worldwide, including the Greeks, Romans, and the indigenous people of North and South America, have sought ways to remove toxins and other impurities from the body. In the modern era, research demonstrates the positive impact of eliminating heavy metals and other toxic substances from the body. But what are the detox benefits of a foot soak? Can soaking your feet help improve health?
Why Soak Your Feet?
For thousands of years, different societies have recognized the benefits of a foot soak and how it can enrich your health. The practice of a daily foot soak was highly valued among the early cultures of the Far East.
These people believed that the feet were the body’s root, or foundation, to the earth and good health. Containing thousands of sweat glands and over 7000 nerve endings, the feet share connections with nearly every part of the body, including the liver, the body’s largest detoxification organ.
The Science Behind Foot Soaking’s Value
Research has shown the value of foot soaks to relax the body and mind. It can be especially beneficial to those with insomnia or poor-quality sleep. These advantages are multiplied when ingredients like Epsom salt or vinegar are added to the soaking water.
According to the Mayo Clinic, adding two cups of Epsom salt to every gallon of water can temporarily relieve sore, aching muscles and minor strains and sprains. These soaks can also provide relief for occasional constipation.
Detoxification Benefits of a Foot Soak
Painful swelling in one or more joints is known as arthritis, an umbrella term that includes over 100 conditions. The discomfort caused by the inflammation in joints throughout the body can be severe and, for many, disabling.
In fact, according to information from the US Social Security Administration, arthritis is the leading cause of work disability. It affects nearly 1 in 4 American adults.
Regularly using a detoxing foot soak can lessen the painful inflammation and stiffness associated with the condition. Active ingredients added to the water, such as magnesium, are often absorbed through the skin, boosting bodily levels of these elements and decreasing inflammation. It can also reduce pain and stiffness.
In our 24/7, stressed-out world, a good night’s rest is an elusive luxury for many Americans – and others worldwide. Each year almost 70 million people struggle with sleep disturbances or insomnia, and a poor sleep puts health at risk over time.
Anxiety and irritability are some of the first signs of inadequate rest. Over time, individuals may notice difficulty concentrating and struggle with memory issues.
For the millions of people wrestling with getting a good night’s sleep, a foot soak may offer much-needed relief. Research indicates that a warm foot bath temporarily raises the temperature in the arms and legs while lowering the temperature in the body’s core, resulting in less tossing and turning and better sleep.
Research is ongoing, of course. But preliminary results suggest a generally positive sleep outcome for people indulging in a warm foot soak before bed.
When to consult your doctor
While detox foot soaks are generally safe and beneficial for most people, those with blood pressure issues, diabetes, or other long-term illnesses should consult their physician beforehand. Dizziness, nausea, and vomiting are possible side effects, along with changes to blood sugar levels and blood pressure.