TCM Beauty - Herbal Foot Baths
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, our feet are very important in health maintenance. Our feet contains many acupuncture points that corresponds to different organs and parts of our body. Massages, foot exercises, acupressure or reflexology, foot baths are all recommended for foot health & also an essential part of TCM Beauty. Having a foot bath daily helps me to achieve serenity and also sets aside time to wind down and relax before bedtime.
Several key Kidney appoints are located on the bottom of our feet and on the inside of our ankles. Foot baths warms these appoints and stimulates the Kidney organ system. The Kidney system is responsible for storing and providing Qi.
Appoints of the Bladder, the Kidney’s organ partner, also run through the feet. They are located along the outside of each foot, in line with the little toe. The Bladder’s function is to remove water by transforming Qi in the body.
- Soaking in hot water activates blood and energy throughout the body. In herbal foot baths, the skin absorbs the herbs through the skin and these travel through energy channels to target points. Soaking until there’s a sweat can help relieve symptoms of cold, flu and menstrual cramps.
- Ideally, we can soak our feet once a day in a deep basin/pail, so the calves can be soaked as well. Start with hot (about 40 degree Celsius) water, as the water cools you can add hot water to maintain the temperature.
- When you start to break a sweat, remove your feet. A little sweating is a good sign of unblocked energy channels, but too much sweating isn’t ideal as it consumes too much energy. Healthy people usually start to sweat after around 20 minutes of soaking. If you don’t sweat in 40 minutes, don’t soak any more. Try again the next day.
- It’s best to soak feet before going to bed. This will help you stay warm and get a good night’s rest. Don’t soak an hour before or an hour after meals; don’t soak after consuming alcohol or when feeling fatigued.
- If you feel dizzy when soaking your feet, add some cold water so the blood vessels contract. That should help relieve dizziness.
- Adding herbs can help unblock energy channels and relieve problems. First boil the herbs in water and then add the mixture to the foot basin. Without herbs, just warm water will do too . Essential oils can also be added to aid relaxation.
- Most TCM Singapore shops will sell these herbs.
Some common ingredients used for foot baths:
- Ginger (姜） - warms the body, helps to relieve aches and pains. Relieves colds.
- Mug wort (艾叶) - good for swollen, tired feet. Disperses cold and alleviates pain. Also helps for coughs.
- Vinegar (醋) - enhances circulation, improves skin elasticity. Gets rid of rheumatism.
1) Skin Nourishing Herbal Foot Bath
Benefits: Helps nourish blood and benefits skin, relieves pigmentation in the skin.
Ingredients: Danggui (当归)(40g), Dried Longan (桂圆)(25g)
Directions : Boil the ingredients in water for 40 minutes. Pour filtered mixture in a basin. Add hot water. Soak feet for 15-20 minutes, or until there is a slight sweat.
2) Warming Foot Bath
Helps unblock Qi channels, dispels yin(阴) energy, reinforces yang(阳) energy. Especially beneficial for people with cold hands & feet.
Ingredients: Ginger slices (姜)(50g), white rice wine (白酒)(50ml)
Directions: Boil the ginger in water for a few minutes. Add ginger mixture and rice wine to hot water in a basin. Soak for 15-30 minutes or until there’s a slight sweat.
3) Moisturizing Foot Bath
Moisturizes skin, heals skin/heel cracks due to dryness.
Ingredients : Cinnamon (桂枝) 15g , Honeysuckle flowers (银花) 15g, Safflower (红花) 20g
Directions: Boil the ingredients in water for 30 minutes. Pour filtered mixture in a basin. Add hot water. Soak feet for 15-20 minutes.