In China, health maintenance via a foot bath is a long held tradition. As the air becomes cooler with the changing season, an occasional foot bath can charge you and help to prevent illnesses. Here are several Chinese methods for a foot bath.
The combination of warm water and fresh ginger may prevent influenza, cold feet and hands, and arthritis. Use 5 pieces of fresh ginger for each 20 minute session.
Vinegar penetrates through the skin and to the blood. A foot bath in conjunction with white vinegar can help to cleanse the blood, whiten the skin, and improve sleep.
Safflower is a herbaceous plant also known as hong hua. It contains linoleic acid, which is good for lowering blood lipids and serum cholesterol, preventing atherosclerosis, and enhancing blood circulation.
Pepper, or hujiao, is believed to be capable of warming the body, stopping diarrhea, and improving renal function.
Salt helps to prevent foot cracking.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, may lower blood pressure, remove freckles, and heal gout.
Nevertheless, there are several precautions before considering a foot bath:
- The bath should not exceed 30 minutes, and a 20-minute session is recommended for older people.
- In the 30-minute period right after meals, blood is accumulated in the stomach and a foot bath may affect digestion.
- People with cardiovascular disease should use water with a temperature of less than 104°F (40°C) for no more than 20-minutes.
- The skin of diabetic patients is fragile and insensitive to water temperature. Therefore, they should pay close attention to the water temperature while taking a foot bath.
- 15-minutes per session is suggested for pregnant women.
- Frequent foot baths may cause children under 10 to develop a loose plantar ligament, and consequently flatfeet.
The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources — every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.
Translated by Jean Chen.