Why Pampering Your Feet?

We walk on them every day and yet most of us may have little knowledge of all the work these two perfect parts of our body do on the daily. Giving them some attention and love may just change the way you move through your day and possibly your life.

I have been a barefoot mama for the last 25 years. Ask anyone, I walk barefoot everywhere I can and my feet love it. This year I have been spending more time in the mountains where the air is dry and the soils have taken a toll on my feet, or maybe it is just that I have not been pampering them like I have in the past.

Either way, it has inspired me to research feet and the special power and beauty they hold.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • You have 250,000 sweat glands in your two feet
  • A quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet (26)
  • Your feet have 8,000 nerves ~ hence, why they are so susceptible to tickling!
  • Your feet can produce ½ pint of sweat a day
  • Your feet are your bodies natural shock absorbers
  • Your feet function best in their bare or natural state
  • Your feet walk an average of 110,000 miles in your lifetime
  • Each foot takes 1.5 times your body weight while you walk
  • The Achilles tendon is the STRONGEST tendon in the body

Pampering these sensitive, powerful, ‘wheels’ of motion can bring you good results in both movement and relaxation. So let’s go. Here is a great mixture of steps to take to pamper those feet of yours…do one or all of them.

barefeet earthing

EARTHING ~ BARE FEET FOR HEALTH

Going barefoot, even when in the house is a great way to connect to the Earth. So if you have a yard or can go to the nearby park and place your feet on the grass or dirt, do it, daily! Feel the pleasure you experience feeling the surface beneath your feet. When your feet come in contact with the earth you receive electrons from her that are absorbed into your body through your feet. These electrons are nature’s biggest antioxidants and help neutralize excess free radicals that lead to inflammation and disease in the body.

foot soak

HERBAL FOOT SOAK 

A good foot soak can soothe your muscles, hydrate your skin, remove toxins, relieve aches and pains, reduce swelling and keep your feet clean and healthy. This combination is great for calming sore, tired or swollen feet. The Epsom salts and herbs are great for easing the pain and flushing out the toxins and the essential oils will refresh your feet. 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of Epsom salts (or Celtic salts)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Chamomile, Thyme, and Marjoram
  • 10 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil  

Directions: 

  • Bring 4 quarts of water (preferably reverse osmosis or spring water) to a boil, remove the water from the heat and add your Epsom salts and herbs, preferably in a muslin bag or tea strainer so they are contained.
  • Cover and allow to steep for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Pour your herbal mixture into your basin adding additional warm water as needed to be sure your feet are covered.
  • Soak the feet for 15-20 minutes. This is a great time to read, listen to music or close your lovely eyes. 

If you are looking for more of an antifungal foot soak, add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar after straining the herbal mixture into your basin; and replace the Peppermint Oil with Tea Tree oil.

AND if you have time, after your soak, put your feet up on a chair seat or a few cushions for 10-15 minutes. This can add to your stress release and improve circulation.

FOOT CLAY MASK

This may come across as a little different, but trust me, this is going to be something you look forward to a second, third and fourth time! Foot masks are a great way to gently draw toxins from the feet, as they do on the face and body. They are cleansing, detoxifying and just plain good fun.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons bentonite clay
  • 2 tablespoons of filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

You might want to do this in the bathroom so that once the mask has dried you can rinse your feet without a trail of clay on the floor.

Directions:

  • Mix the bentonite clay, filtered water, and apple cider vinegar until it is the consistency of a soft paste. Add more water if needed.
  • Smooth over your feet and ankles and allow to dry ~ 8-10 minutes.
  • Rinse and pat dry.
  • If you like, after rinsing, use a natural bristle brush, pumice stone or loofah, to remove any remaining clay and dead skin.
  • Rinse and pat dry.
  • Spray your feet with a Gem Juice Hydrosol
  • Apply Sunstone Lotion to keep your feet soft

OR…a beautiful way to do this mask is to follow it with your herbal foot soak! In that case here are the steps:

  • Mix the bentonite clay, filtered water, and apple cider vinegar until it is the consistency of a soft paste. Add more water if needed.
  • Create your herbal mixture, place your pan on the floor near you and your basin. While the herbal mixture is cooling apply your foot mask over your feet and ankles and allow to dry ~ 8-10 minutes.
  • Place your feet in the water and soak your feet for 10-15 minutes.
  • If you like, use a natural bristle brush, pumice stone or loofah, to remove any remaining clay and dead skin.
  • Pat dry.
  • Spray your feet with your favorite Hydrosol
  • Apply Lotion or favorite Body Butter to keep your feet soft

Because we hide our feet in shoes, sandals, and boots, they can sometimes get lost in our self-care routines. Yet, the condition of our feet can determine how well they support our bodies.

Don’t be fooled by these simple steps ~ they pack in a whole lotta love! Pampering your feet will improve how your entire body moves and feels. Happy feet are strong feet.

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Foot Detox: Know the Facts

Foot Detox: Know the Facts, Top Benefits, and Recipes

When you think about detoxing, you probably think about detox diets, colon cleansing, or fasting. But, in recent years, detoxing through the feet has gained popularity. Proponents say foot detox therapy eliminates toxins from the body, increases energy, offers immune support, and improves overall health and well-being. However, foot detoxes are not without controversy. Does detoxing through your feet really work, and are there any side effects? What different techniques exist for a foot detox? Read on for answers to these questions and more.

What Is a Detox?

Detoxing, short for detoxification, is intended to eliminate or neutralize toxins throughout the body. Toxins are virtually everywhere, including in the foods we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and common home products. There are approximately 85,000 chemicals regulated under the United States Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) but the Environmental Protection Agency has only banned or restricted use of a handful of chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons, asbestos, radon, lead, and hexavalent chromium. Unfortunately, many of these are persistent organic pollutants that stay in the environment long after their use is discontinued.

Toxins accumulate in the liver and colon, and there are many detox techniques that can neutralize and help move them out of the body. Toxins are also removed through the body’s natural elimination routes such as sweating, breathing, urinating, defecating, and during menses.

What Is a Foot Detox?

Foot detoxes are intended to remove toxins and metals from the body by drawing them out through the feet. There are a variety of techniques for detoxing through the feet, including foot masks and scrubs, detox foot pads, acupressure, and ionic foot soaks. Proponents believe that a foot detox helps make the body’s pH level more alkaline. It’s also thought to deactivate a variety of harmful organisms. Some health care providers, including chiropractors and holistic health centers, offer foot detox baths and charge high prices for the service. Foot detox baths are also sold in stores for at-home use.

Benefits of Doing a Foot Detox

  • May remove toxins
  • Reduces swelling
  • Calms the body
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Improves mood
  • Burns calories
  • Encourages normal blood sugar
  • Boosts cardiovascular health

Since the feet are rich with nerve endings and sweat glands, it seems like the ideal place in the body to detox and de-stress. There’s no denying that soaking your body or just your feet in hot or warm water is calming. But hot detox foot baths may also help reduce swelling, boost your immune system, and improve your overall health and mood. A recent study even found that, like exercise, hot baths can help burn calories, boost cardiovascular health, and encourage normal blood sugar. People who advocate for detoxing through the feet say that it can ease mental distress while improving sleep and overall well-being.

Further, the manufacturers of the ionic foot baths claim their product eliminates alcohol, acids, alkali, bleach and chlorine, detergents, emulsifiers, synthetic dyes and fragrances, toxic metals, pesticides, petrochemicals, preservatives, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Detoxing with the right kind of foot pads can also have unique benefits. The best detox pads stimulate the kidney acupressure point to release tension and support overall health.

Does Detoxing Through Your Feet Really Work?

There has been some controversy around whether certain types of foot detox methods – specifically ionic foot baths and detox foot pads – actually work. Certain television shows have even looked at whether ionic foot bath detox methods did what was claimed.

Most proponents of foot baths believe that the water changes color as a result of toxins leaving the body and accumulating in the water. In reality, placing metal electrodes in the bath’s saltwater produce rust in a rapid manner through electrolysis. The color the water changes to has nothing to do with the toxins. In fact, the electrolysis will change color even without feet being placed in the foot bath.

A 2012 study in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health looked at urine and hair samples from people who had used a foot detox bath and were unable to find evidence that the bath eliminated toxins from the body.

However, another study found that regular use of ionic foot baths decreased the amount of aluminum and arsenic present in the body. One practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine reported that ionic foot baths made the body less acidic and more alkaline after just one use. Additionally, this alkaline state lasted 48 hours after use.

6 Different Ways To Do a Foot Detox

Ionic foot baths aren’t the only way to do a foot detox. In fact, there are a variety of ways to detox the body through the feet, including Korean and Chinese acupressure-based foot soaks, detox foot pads, foot scrubs, masks, and soak recipes that use naturally detoxifying Epsom salts, Bentonite clay, and other ingredients.

Ionic Foot Bath

Ionic foot baths operate by sending an electrical current through a tub of water, which causes the water molecules to divide and create negative oxygen ions. Once enough are present in the water, the body absorbs them through osmosis, which is the movement of compounds from higher to lower concentration. Some newer devices also produce positive ions.

The foot bath process is quick and simple. You soak both feet in the bath which is filled with warm salt water. An electronic array is also placed in the foot bath, which sends a direct current into the water. The combination of the water, salt, and the array are meant to generate negative ions by separating oxygen and hydrogen from the water, neutralizing charged particles in the body and drawing toxins with the opposite charges out.

Don’t be fooled by infomercials claiming that the dark water that comes out of the ionic foot bath water is toxins from your body, or that different toxins create different colors. The color of the water is caused by a reaction of the salt water and the electrolysis array, which creates rust. The ability of these ionic foot baths to detox the body through the feet has come under scrutiny, and there are conflicting reports on whether they work.

Acupressure-Based Foot Soaks, Foot Massage, and Foot Spas

Korean and Chinese foot spas have been around for thousands of years, and these unique therapy experiences are expanding in popularity across the U.S. The feet are like roots of a tree, and the sole or bottom of the foot contains hundreds of nerve endings and acupressure points that can be massaged to help certain parts of the body.

During a session at a foot spa, feet are soaked in a hot bath solution, followed by a foot and leg massage. The foot massage is the focus and stimulates acupressure points in the feet that correspond to different organs in the body to release tension, improve circulation, and support overall health and vitality. Acupressure and reflexology help balance the chi or energy in the body, encouraging better circulation, restful sleep, and normalization of health ailments ranging from head pain to digestion. And of course, soaking one’s feet in a warm bath and massaging the pressure points on the feet promotes relaxation.

Do-It-Yourself Foot Soak

You can also create a do-it-yourself detox foot bath at home using warm or hot water, Epsom salt, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Have a partner massage your feet at the reflexology points in the diagram that corresponds to any issues you deal with, or do the foot massage yourself.

Reflexology points diagram.

When selecting essential oils, lavender is a great choice. Not only is it calming, but animal studies have shown it to normalize liver and kidney disruptions caused by exposure to certain pesticides. Another option is tea tree oil, which is powerful against germs. If the aroma of tea tree is too potent for your tastes, mix it with lavender for a mild, pleasant scent.

Foot Masks

One simple way to do a foot detox is to use a clay foot mask to clean and detoxify the feet. It relieves stress at the end of a long day, too. Foot masks can soften skin and tackle toenail fungus, surface fungus, odor, and athlete’s foot. I recommend do-it-yourself recipes because they are completely free of any chemical additives, which defeat the purpose of a detox.

Bentonite clay offers benefits as a detox agent and is safe for both internal and external use. Bentonite clay has naturally occurring positively charged ions that draw out negatively charged toxins, including those in pesticides and toxic metals. Other studies have found that Bentonite clay has properties that fight against mycotoxins and aflatoxins from mold.

Here is my favorite DIY clay foot mask recipe:

Clay Foot Mask

Combine these ingredients in a small bowl. Add the apple cider vinegar one tablespoon at a time, until the clay mask becomes a thick paste. You may not need all of the apple cider vinegar, so add it slowly and gradually until the mask is the consistency you desire. Add more clay as needed. Once the ingredients are combined to a thick paste, spread it on both feet and allow it to fully dry. Recline in a comfortable chair during this process. After 30 minutes, wash off the foot mask and dry your feet.

Foot Scrubs

Like a foot mask, a foot scrub can also clean and detoxify the feet, reducing odor and preventing fungal infections if you use essential oils with antifungal and antibacterial properties. Foot scrubs also exfoliate dead skin from the feet.

Here is my favorite DIY clay foot scrub recipe:

Detox Foot Scrub

Combine the ingredients in a bowl, stirring well to spread the essential oil throughout the mixture. Apply to each foot, rubbing the grainy salt mixture gently along the sole, in between the toes, on the top of the foot, and around the ankles for at least five minutes per foot. Spend extra time on the sole, applying pressure to the reflexology points that correspond to any areas where you need improvement. This coarse mixture exfoliates the skin as well as provides detoxification from the essential oils you choose.

Peppermint oil supports the gallbladder and overall digestive system. It’s an important part of the foot scrub because it leaves a tingly clean feeling. You can add any essential oil, but lemon, lemongrass, and juniper have particularly helpful detoxification properties. Lemon oil supports the immune system and helps detoxify the liver. Lemongrass is an anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant powerhouse. Juniper oil supports liver function and detoxes the liver, colon, skin, and lungs. Pick your favorite!

Detox Foot Pads

Detox foot pads cause the feet to sweat and draw circulating toxins out of the feet. However, not all foot pads are created equally.

Like foot massages that focus on ancient acupressure or reflexology points, effective foot pads tap into the ancient science of reflexology. In addition to being very relaxing, reflexology stimulates areas on the feet that correspond to different organs and muscles in the body. This helps to release tension, improve circulation and support overall health and vitality.

Unlike other brands, our 100% organic Detox Foot Pads use carbon-titanium adhesive to boost both bioelectricity and blood flow through the feet and body. The foot pads specifically stimulate the kidney acupressure point to encourage detoxification. Our detox foot pads are made with organic, all-natural ingredients like bamboo extracts, herbs, and tourmalineTourmaline is a gemstone that emits far infrared radiation (FIR). Studies have found that FIR – specifically from ground tourmaline – promotes cell repair and helps defend cells against damage from X-rays, and normalizes joint swelling and other issues.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Therapists who offer foot detoxes – particularly the ionic foot spa and foot soaks – caution that some people should exercise caution and seek advice from their healthcare provider before using these therapies, including:

  • Children under age 5
  • Pregnant and lactating women
  • People who have pacemakers, electrical implants, and organ transplants
  • People who have diabetes, congestive heart failure, or who are on dialysis
  • People with open sores on their feet

You can experience a “healing crisis” from any detox, including a foot detox. When the body releases accumulated toxins, you may experience fatigue, headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting and flu symptoms. A healing crisis doesn’t usually last longer than three days. If you have symptoms for longer or the symptoms are especially disruptive, consult a healthcare provider immediately.

In contrast, our detox foot pads contain organic, natural ingredients, and can safely be used by people of all ages. The only side effect might be a slight chance of allergic reaction by certain individuals, as with any product.