Tibetan Medicinal Foot Soak
Saying in China: “When a tree dies, the roots die first; When a person ages, it is the feet that age first.”
You can get a patient that looks healthy, but they have an internal, chronic condition that comes back and you find a mysterious source of inflammation.
Think of the body like a snow globe. Anything outside the cells will sediment downwards. Also, the heart pumps by way of arteries and pushes blood throughout the body but it depends on our muscular movement to bring all the blood back. Once we are injured or spend more time sitting down, we get poor venous return. So, the blood going out and getting used isn’t going back so we get a lot of empty, dead blood that isn’t carrying much oxygen or many nutrients. As a result, it will die and with this dead tissue that is starting to get sticky, it’s coagulating, this is what sets the stage for chronic inflammation, aging and potential strokes and heart attacks. Once we get an area of the body where there is inflammation, that inflammatory reaction causes the immune system to engage and it accelerates the aging process. So, we can really see that just like a tree will start to rot at its base, we too will start to age and disintegrate by accumulating debris and garbage in our feet. This also interacts with the fascia with our feet. The fascia and the muscles in our feet act like interlocking arches. These arches overlap and are soft, so as you take a step with your foot naturally, it will create a spiral of force that goes through your body. This spiral of force is much easier on the joints and goes through the body. However, once you start to lose this plasticity in the feet what tends to happen is you get a zig zag of shock going from the ankle to the knee to the lower back to the neck. And what does this do? This makes you not want to feel like getting up and moving around much which is a vicious cycle that eventually can lead to may chronic diseases.
What we found by having people do these foot soaks is that we are able to restore the conditions of the foot and doing the foot soaks – the action of the heat and the herbs – causes the heart to begin pumping a little faster so it almost mimics going out for a hike or running around the block even when people have a blown out knee or have just undergone surgery and cannot engage in those exercises. These exercises are really important, not just for our muscles but for our lungs and our entire endocrine system. The foot soaks are incredibly good for blood pressure. In studies of around 30 people, blood pressure drops about 30 minutes after a foot soak begins. It should be noted though that people with high blood pressure, doing the soaks for longer than 45 minutes can temporarily increase the blood pressure. It’s also been shown to be good for diabetic neuropathy. In various, controlled studies, the effective rate hangs around 75 percent. It really depends on the stage of the disease and the damage to the nerves. For insomnia, preliminary trials have shown an effective rate of 67 percent. For foot pain, microcirculation, for enhancing metabolism, for relieving fatigue and improving immune system function, it has been shown to be incredibly good. It has even helped skin conditions – rosacea, acne – there are effects on the entire endocrine system by increasing blood circulation.
Foot Soak Process:
Water: Tap is fine.
Water Basin – Wooden buckets are preferred. Plastic is fine. Avoid bronze or iron – these can interact chemically with the herbs.
Water Level: Cover the ankles.
Temp: 100-115F degrees (110F is fine). Use cooking thermometer to monitor the temperature. Keep adding hot water to maintain temp.
Timing: 20-30 minutes for general health. Chronic pain, hormonal imbalances, HTN soak up to 45 minutes.
Tips for best results: Find a comfortable chair so you can sit and be relaxed.
Don’t read, watch tv or look at your cell phone. Don’t want to get emotional which can affect the treatment.
Pay attention to heat distribution – will feel it over the ankles and maybe to shins, but not through the body. Over time they will start to feel heat to the kidneys and eventually a pulsing feeling between the feet and kidneys. Then throughout the whole body.
If you are hungry, or have a history of getting sudden low blood sugar crashes.
As a long term strategy for children, too warming for their bodies.
Important to avoid doing them under drafts, air conditioning or outside or anywhere that you might get a sudden temperature change. It could have a negative effect on the immune system.
Avoid soaking within 30 minutes of a meal.
If you have metastatic cancer.
Any disease made worse by increasing circulation.
If you have history of heart disease, cerebral hemorrhage, infection.
If you have wounds or burns on the feet.
Bleeding, menstruation, sepsis or neuropathies – foot soaks may not be appropriate.
Use a thermometer, especially with neuropathy to stay at no more than 110 degree temp.