As temperatures drop, many people are now enjoying hot footbaths to help them sleep better. Doctors of Chinese medicine suggest taking footbaths with Chinese medicine to promote blood circulation, but they remind people with high blood pressure, diabetes or nerve damage to be careful not to scald or inflame their skin by bathing too long.
Juan Ying-hsu, a doctor of Chinese medicine at Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital’s Dalin Branch in Chiayi County, says that the feet are sometimes considered to be a “second heart.” He also says that taking a warm footbath can help circulate blood in the body, improve the endocrine system, enhance organ function and decrease the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
Juan says that it takes a long time for blood to get back to the heart from our feet, which, as anatomical extremities, are farthest from the heart. It is also fairly difficult to retain heat in the feet because they have only a relatively thin layer of fat around them, so the temperature of the extremities is usually lower than the rest of the body. When the weather turns cold, our hands and feet are typically colder than the rest of the body due to energy and blood stagnation, and muscles getting sore from the cold, as well as poor circulation, he says.
Juan suggests that when taking a footbath you should sit in a comfortable chair, use a bucket that goes above your lower leg, use water between 30°C and 40°C, keep your feet flat at the bottom of the bucket, and allow the heat of the water to relax the joints in your feet and lower leg. Doing this will increase blood circulation back to the heart and improve blood flow to organs such as the heart and brain, and get rid of the body’s stagnant energy and waste, he says. Juan also suggests that 30 minutes is the optimal amount of time to spend taking a footbath.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)