Except there’s a serious problem.
It hurts when you put your foot on the floor. Maybe it’s a sharp pain in your heel, an ache in the arch of your foot, a throb in your toes. You might not have had it today, but you might have it tomorrow, or the day after. Maybe you’ve had it before, just not lately.
I notice it most in the transition periods. The times where I go from wearing winter boots to shoes, and then from shoes to flats or sandals. For me it gets so bad that I have to do foot stretches in the morning just so I can walk. It doesn’t always help, but it makes it better.
Then I was talking to my grandmother. The old bird is absolutely full of wisdom. Growing up in the 40s means she’s got quite a bit of knowledge, and I like trying out anything she suggests, from cleaning tips to storage tips.
This time, her recommendation was a foot bath with Epsom salts and apple cider vinegar. So I tried it an it worked. Then I needed to find out whether it worked because I wanted it too – or if it worked because it actually worked. Turns out, there’s more than enough science to prove that this works.
How it Works
So there are a few factors here:
The hot water.
Hot water has been used as a cure-all for centuries. Ancient cultures from Asia to Northern Europe have used hot springs to cure everything from arthritis to tuberculosis.
While it may not cure TB, it does relax your muscles, easing the stress and strain they apply to your bone structure. The heat promotes circulation for better health. The water eases the compression of your joints, creating more space between your joints so they aren’t grinding together.
An interesting note though, warm water is better than hot. You don’t want your water temperature to much exceed your body’s internal temperature. Under 102° is best (use a body thermometer to check). If it’s too hot, it raises your blood pressure and puts strain on your heart.
I recommend doing toe curls and foot stretches while your feet are in the water.
Epsom salts are loaded with magnesium. Magnesium helps you relax, helps you detox, and helps calcium work effectively in your diet. They are also full of sulfates. When you balance the sulfates and magnesium in your body there are some astounding health benefits:
- Improved heart and circulatory health, reducing irregular heartbeats, preventing hardening of the arteries, reducing blood clots and lowering blood pressure.
- Improved ability for the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.
- Flushed toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances.
- Improved nerve function by electrolyte regulation. Also, calcium is the main conductor for electrical current in the body, and magnesium is necessary to maintain proper calcium levels in the blood.
- Relieved stress. Excess adrenaline and stress are believed to drain magnesium, a natural stress reliever, from the body. Magnesium is necessary for the body to bind adequate amounts of serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of well being and relaxation.
- Reduced inflammation to relieve pain and muscle cramps.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is anti-fungal, moisturizing, and reduces foot odor.
If you’re suffering from bad foot odor or you’ve been unfortunate enough to contract athlete’s foot, apple cider vinegar is a must in the bath. Additionally apple cider softens your feet and helps soften hard, cracked skin. Use a foot scrubby to help remove dead skin for soft feet.
- Half a gallon of almost hot water.
- Two cups of ACV
- Half a cup of Epsom salt.
Mix it together in a large bowl or tub and stick your feet in until the water gets cold. Repeat once a week.