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What is a Foot Soak?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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A foot soak is a mixture of herbs, salts, moisturizers, or other ingredients that are added to a container of warm water used for soaking the feet. Soaking the feet can be very relaxing as well as cleansing, and both commercial and homemade mixtures are available.

A simple, yet effective homemade foot soak can be made by adding two or three spoonfuls of baking soda to warm water. Soaking tired feet in this foot bath can soothe and freshen them. People prone to foot odors may find that regular baking soda and water baths for the feet can help.

Ingredients can also be used to relieve conditions like athlete's foot, a fungal infection that causes itchy feet. A homemade baking soda-based mixture can help relieve the itchiness of athlete's foot, but medicated soaks or creams may be prescribed by a medical professional.

Non-medical, scented foot soak products are sold in jars. These products usually have herbs, such as peppermint, added and some also contain moisturizing ingredients such as avocado oil. Drops of essential oils, such as lavender, vanilla, or jasmine, can add a soothing aroma to a foot bath.

Epsom or Dead Sea salt is a main therapeutic component of many foot soaks because they contain the mineral magnesium. Magnesium is thought to help soothe sore muscles as well as reduce inflammation and swelling. This effect is why a mixture that contains magnesium-rich salts can make aching feet feel better. Salt from the Dead Sea in Jordan is extremely high in magnesium, and many bath products contain salts from this region.

Many people who do the calming, stretching relaxation exercises known as yoga also partake in foot soaking. This may be done after yoga or before bed to relax the body. These people may soak the feet in a container in their homes or in natural waters, such as a lake or river.

Electric foot spa soakers are available for sale to use in the home. These machines first heat the water, then create bubbles to help massage the feet. Some electric models have padded areas on which to rest the feet while they're soaking. Adding marbles or stones to the bottom of an electric foot bath can increase its massaging effects.

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Discussion Comments
By lluviaporos — On Jun 15, 2011

Be aware that a foot soaking machine might now be a bit of a clichéd present. I bought one for my mother a while ago and I don't know if she's used it more than once (although it was bought with the best intentions). Recently she was given another one by a friend, and another one of her kids gave her yet another one.

I'm not sure if it's just that people think she is on her feet too much, or if it is the gift to give at the moment, but you might want to check before giving this present to someone. They might already have one!

By browncoat — On Jun 12, 2011

Baking soda is an excellent addition to a foot soak recipe.

I know from experience that it can really take the smell away from your feet and shoes.

I once tried putting it into my shoes and thought that I wasn't supposed to empty them before wearing the shoes. That left me with a rash over my feet.

But if you just soak your feet in baking soda and water, and sprinkle baking soda in your shoes, then tap it out, you'll be fine.

It costs quite a lot to buy some of the foot sprays and things they have for feet. Baking soda has left my shoes fresh for two weeks so far and is much cheaper.

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