by Tea Master Daniela Cubelic
The potent benefits of a humble 15-20 minute foot soak will surprise you. It's a beautiful thing when doing a little can achieve a lot!
This deceptively simple home spa treatment is worth adopting as a regular habit. Lately, one of my favourite Friday night rituals is enjoying a footbath with my spouse—it’s a wonderful way for us to decompress, unwind, connect & mark the start of the weekend.
All you need is a basic bowl or tub large enough for your feet. Many standard bathtubs are also perfect as a footbath station. Simply fold a towel & place it on the rim/side of the tub where you'll sit while you soak your feet. Usually up to two adults or three kids can sit on the edge of the bathtub. Fill the bath with a small amount of water—just enough to immerse your feet & ankles.
My grandmother introduced me to the magic of footbaths as a sleep aid & as a remedy for headaches, sinus issues, coughs, colds & flu, poor circulation, as well as aches & pains too. When I was a little girl, she taught me how to make up my own footbath using ever-changing combinations of mineral & sea salts, herbs & tea. We would treat ourselves to an individually customised footbath accompanied by a cup of tea & conversation. Beyond their healthful properties, they were joyous bonding occasions for the two of us. As well, when I had a bad cold, flu or persistent cough, my grandmother would make a footbath up for me. As a teen, I had combination skin. When I struggled with breakouts, grandma recommended weekly footbaths to support a healthier complexion, brewed herbs for me to drink that were beneficial for the skin & explained the benefits of applying a clay mask to my face while having a footbath. My idea of heaven in those years was leafing through a magazine or reading a novel while having my weekly face mask & footbath. It still is, actually!
These well-being & beauty treatments originated with my great-grandmother, who was a talented herbalist & used them with her own kids. Luckily for me, it turns out that she & my grandmother knew a thing or two about the power of natural remedies.
It turns out that the effectiveness of a foot soak has a scientific basis…
The secret behind why you can gain so much from soaking your feet comes down to something incredibly basic, but mighty—it increases your overall body temperature & circulation. Modern science demonstrates that this has a dynamic effect on your entire system. Immune function & blood flow are stimulated, which in turn supports detoxification, reduces tension, encourages relaxation, helps soothe physical discomfort & can also boost your mood. If your energy is low, it gives you a lift. When you’re feeling anxious, it has a very grounding effect. After a footbath you’ll feel better from head to toe, even though it’s just your feet you thought you were pampering. If it’s an evening soak, you’ll sleep better.
Herbs, tea, botanicals, mineral & sea salts can be added to the water to enhance the benefits further—& of course, you should accompany it with a cup of tea!
Here are some of my favourite tea & bathsalt combinations:
To enhance sleep: Lullaby Tea + Sweet Dreams Bathsalts. Unwind with this combo an hour or two before bed.
For fatigue or low energy: Quench Tea or Detox Tea + Tonic bathsalts
To soothe aches & pains: Winter Warrior Tea + Tonic Bathsalts.
When you’re anxious or are craving calm: Angelwater Tea or Philosopher’s Brew Tea + Heaven or Bliss Bathsalts.
To uplift your spirits: Happy Tea or Philosopher’s Brew Tea + Heaven bathsalts.
For easing PMS symptoms: Beau-TEA-ful Tea + Bliss or Heaven Bathsalts.
To counteract rich meals: Detox Tea or Mulberry Tea + Detox Bathsalts, are my go to.
For colds & flus: Winter Warrior Tea + Cold & Flu Ninja Bathsalts
To help with headaches or mental tension: Quench Tea or Angelwater Tea + Tonic or Heaven Bathsalts.
To ensure maximum benefits, add 1 tablespoon of bathsalts to the footbath immediately before entering & not while it is filling with water. Soak for 15-20 minutes.
The frequency & duration of footbaths is up to you—they can be enjoyed daily, three times a week or once a week. 15-20 minutes is the recommended time to gain wellness benefits, but I usually linger longer than that. You can top your footbath up with more hot water if the water starts to cool down too much.
For added foot care benefits & to stimulate the circulation further, finish off your footbath with a revitalizing foot scrub. Combine bathsalts with equal parts of a bath, body & massage oil to create a purifying scrub that sloughs off dry skin & leaves your skin with a healthy glow. Or simply apply a few drops of the bath, body & massage oil as a moisturizer for soft, re-energized feet.
Foot soaks are a year-round activity at my house. In chilly weather, treat yourself to a footbath by a fire—during the day or in the evening. You can also create ambiance with candles & relaxing music. In warm weather, enjoy a footbath outdoors in your garden or on the deck & use slightly cooler water.