How to do it properly?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the feet are the starting and ending points of 6 meridians. There are over 60 acupoints on the feet, and they are interrelated with the urinary bladder, gallbladder, stomach, liver, spleen and kidneys. Soaking feet in warm water helps to open up the congested meridians and improves the circulation of the whole body. People can benefit from soaking their feet in warm water throughout the year, but not everyone is aware of the finer points such as the differences between soaking feet at different times and other details with regards to feet soaking.
1. Soaking the feet at night aids in strengthening the kidneys and achieving a better night’s sleep.
Soaking the feet around 9pm is the best time to improve kidney energy because at that time the kidney energy is at its lowest point per TCM theory. Soaking your feet will make the blood vessels dilated and increase blood circulation. This can dramatically relax your whole body and reduce the fatigue from a busy day. Soaking feet also benefits sleep quality. After soaking your feet, you can massage the acupoint called Yong Quan (KI 1) which is at the bottom of each foot (see the photo) for a few minutes. Doing so helps do more to regulate the kidney energy. After soaking your feet in the evening, do not become active; go directly to bed, and you will be sure to have a sound sleep.
2. Soaking your feet in the morning keeps you full of energy.
Another good time to soak your feet is in the morning. After a whole night’s sleep in one position, the blood may not flow very smoothly. Soaking your feet in the morning helps adjust the nervous system and regulate the endocrine system. In a short period of time, you will feel fresh and ready to go.
3. How long do you need to soak?
20 to 30 minutes is the ideal length of time to soak your feet. The water must not be too hot nor too cool. Around 100°F is the best temperature. Use a wooden bucket instead of a metal one because metal gets cool too soon. Pour in enough water to cover your ankles.
4. Adding Chinese herbs is even better!
Add some Dang Gui or Dan Shen in the water to help invigorate the blood circulation and brighten your face. Adding fresh ginger root will help prevent the common cold. If you are suffering from arthritis you can try to add some Cinnamon Twigs, Black Pepper and Hong Hua in the water. Adding Chrysanthemum or Xia Ku Cao will help lower your blood pressure.
5. What conditions are not recommended for soaking feet?
Soaking feet in warm water is good for a lot of people, but certainly not everyone. If you suffer from severe cardiac diseases, such as angina or low blood pressure, soaking feet is not good for you because you may faint while your feet are soaking. Soaking feet is not recommended for diabetics because their skin can get burned very easily from the water. When you feel very hungry or have just eaten too much, you should not soak your feet.
In order to find the best way for you to improve your health using soaking of the feet, please consult with your acupuncturist for more information.
Story by Kan Zhong Guo