While this therapy may be new for many of us, this is by no means a new therapy. People in places like Tibet have been soaking their feet in herbal decoctions for thousands of years. It’s actually a common practice in many Asian countries. Similar to how many people here have gym memberships, you’ll find people in some places in China with monthly memberships for foot soaks. But why? To quote an ancient Chinese Proverb, “When a tree dies, it is the roots that die first.” So too, as our bodies age, it is our feet (and legs) that decline first.
If you think back to when we were children, most of us moved with great ease. Running and jumping is graceful and fluid, and each step we took absorbed without harming our bodies. As children, our feet are warm and supple from our perfect circulation. As we age, our feet become cold from lack of circulation. This leads to venous insufficiencies. Spider or protruding varicose veins and even edema may be present in our ankles. The lack of fresh, nourishing blood begins to deteriorate our nerves, causing first pain in the feet, followed by numbness. The fascia in our feet become stiff from lack of nourishment. Pretty soon our legs stiffen, leading to harsh impact on our knees, hips, back and neck. The pain in our joints leads us to not want to be as active, further worsening the circulation in our body.
It’s easy to see how this progression quickly becomes a cycle of worsening deterioration. This a major cause of pain, dysfunction and reduced quality of life.
Furthermore, the decrease in blood flow can turn fatal, leading to stroke or heart attack.
Have you ever just soaked your feet in nice warm water? That in itself can be an incredibly relaxing, almost spa-like treatment. Now imagine that relaxing feeling with profound healing effects. That’s how they work. Initially, the feet and ankles get submerged in very nice warm water. This causes the blood vessels in the feet to dilate, carrying fresh blood (nutrients and oxygen) into the feet. The heat of the water also unlocks the precious components of the herbs. With the blood flow opened, the body is able to transdermally absorb the alkaloids, volatile oils and terpenes found within the herbs in this botanical foot soak.
The initial action of vasodilation has a mild tranquilizing effect and can lower blood pressure. People often find themselves in a deep relaxed state or just go to sleep. As the soak continues, the herbs cause the vasodilation to spread up the legs and begin improving circulation into the rest of the body. As circulation improves in the chest and heart, there is a mild increase in heart rate. This is a very beneficial action as it simulates a mild cardiovascular exercise, something not easily done when someone suffers from severe pain. This also tends to mitochondrial function (aka, improving energy) in those with chronic fatigue. As the circulation spreads further up and into the head, a mild sweat may occur.
Internally, the herbal foot soaks behave something like the way a snow globe looks once shaken. This means that the extracellular impurities and dead tissue that has accumulated in our legs and feet make their way back into our circulation. At this point, the immune system signals macrophages (a type of white blood cell) to eat away dead tissue and rid the body of these impurities.
Herbal foot soaks are used as primary and adjunct therapy for many chronic conditions such as:
Peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia syndrome, migraine headaches, low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, hip pain, arthritis pain, plantar fasciitis, erectile dysfunction, Raynaud’s disease, infertility and other gynecological complaints, and some cardiovascular issues.
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