We’re exposed to more chemicals and potential toxins today than ever before in the history of mankind.
They’re in our food, water, and in the ground, as well as in the air around us. The body usually does a great job of filtering them out, but sometimes you may wonder if it could use a little help.
There is some talk that a foot soak or foot detox can promote toxin release. These spa treatments have become more and more popular lately not only as a way to cleanse the body, but as a way to relax and beautify the feet.
The question is: Can a foot detox really draw toxins out of you? And if not, are there other benefits that make them worthwhile?
No Evidence that Foot Soaks Help “Detox” the Body
Some spas entice people to come in and take “ionic foot detoxes,” which are said to work when the ionized foot bath water pulls heavy metals and toxins out of the body through the feet. So far, we have no evidence that these work.
In fact, researchers examined them and reported in a 2012 study that these ionic baths did nothing to reduce toxin levels, and neither did they encourage more optimal toxin removal inside the body.
That means if you enjoy one of these foot soaks, you should feel free to use it—just don’t expect it to pull toxins out of your body. But there are other reasons to treat yourself to a foot soak every now and then.
5 Benefits of a Foot Soak
Foot soaks of all types can provide a number of benefits to your feet and your well being.
- They ease pain: A good foot soak can help ease muscle cramps and joint pain, which can make walking more easily. Particularly if you include Epsom salts in your foot bath, you can expect to help relax tight muscles and tendons, and reduce nerve pain.
- They can quell foot odor: If your feet are sweaty and funky, a foot soak can help wash away those odors so you emerge refreshed.
- They soften skin: Again, depending on the ingredients you put in your foot soak, you can soften calluses and soothe dry skin, helping feet to look better afterwards.
- Help heal foot problems: If you have ingrown toenails, foot fungal infections, or other skin conditions on your feet, you can help them heal by using moisturizing and germ-killing ingredients in your foot bath.
- Boost your well–being: When you’re feet feel good, you can’t help but feel good, too. If the water is warm, the soak can be comforting, and may help you to shed the stress that you’ve been under all day long. At the same time, foot baths are often energizing as well, helping to awaken the body and spirit.
Considering all these benefits, you may be eager for a foot soak right now.
DIY Foot Soaks
You can go to the spa for your foot soak, but you can also just as easily bring the restorative benefits of a foot bath into your home. Here’s how:
- Find a container: You can use an actual footbath, but if you don’t have one, a large roasting pan or the bathtub will work. The point is to make sure you can immerse your feet in water that reaches up to your ankles.
- Use warm water: Fill the container with warm water. Make sure it’s warm enough that it will retain its heat for at least 10 minutes.
- Mix up a solution: Once the water is in the container, you can add other ingredients that will help soothe and heal feet. We have several possibilities listed below.
- Get a bath towel: You want to have a towel nearby to dry feet when you’re finished.
- Get a moisturizer: You also want to moisturize your feet immediately after you remove them from the bath. (Our Body Repair Lotion works great!)
- Dry brush feet first: This helps to exfoliate the skin on your feet, and will allow the ingredients you add to your solution to better penetrate the skin. Using a soft skin brush, simply move in circular motions over the entire foot area before immersing your feet in the water.
- Enjoy: Ease your feet into the water and relax for 10-15 minutes. When you’re done, pat feet dry and apply moisturizer.
It’s up to you which ingredients you add to your foot soak, and it can be fun to come up with your own solution. Here are some ideas:
- Epsom salts: Add at least a half-cup to your foot bath. These help relax feet, ease pain, and banish microorganisms.
- Essential oils: These can help treat skin infections and get rid of foot odors. Try tea tree oil, oregano, and lemon to treat infections or fungal issues. Use lavender, patchouli, citrus, peppermint, or any others you may like to help banish foot odor.
- Moisturizing oils: To moisturize feet, choose coconut, jojoba, argan, or sunflower oil.
- Apple cider vinegar: If you’re struggling with foot fungus or foot odor, vinegar should be your ingredient of choice for your foot bath. It can help heal an infection and will also disinfect feet, banishing odors.
Do you make your own foot soaks?
Deborah A. Kennedy, et al., “Objective Assessment of an Ionic Footbath (IonCleanse): Testing Its Ability to Remove Potentially Toxic Elements from the Body,” Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2012, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jeph/2012/258968/.