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As Leonardo da Vinci declared, 'the human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art'. Yet we put our feet through torture most of the time. We walk, run and jump on them every day. We force our feet into tight shoes, prod and poke them, and generally forget about them until they cause us problems.
That's in the Western world. In Chinese medicine, the condition of your feet is critical to your overall health. In fact, feet are seen as a separate entity that can be used to pinpoint and treat most conditions. In other words, zonal relationships exist between our feet and our body.
Doesn't that put the words 'Foot Spa' in a different context? There's so much more to it than purely an indulgent treat for our tired tootsies. Done properly, a foot spa can improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Professional Foot Spa
Some people give themselves a foot spa at home. It probably feels amazing but is really little more than a foot soak. As a professional treatment, a foot spa includes a whole range of therapeutic benefits.
At its most basic a foot spa should begin by soaking the feet in warm water infused with salt and essential oils. The feet should be scrubbed and massaged to clean and remove toxins. A soothing foot lotion is then applied, followed by a pedicure.
Ideally, your foot spa will also include a reflexology treatment.
According to the Taoist belief, manipulating specific points of the foot will produce better energy flow. That will lead to a feeling of serenity and good health. In Chinese medicine, the feet are considered to be your 'second heart'.
Cold feet are caused by the 'burden' we place on them, hence the need for the warm water bath. That soothing water will boost circulation through the feet to the major organs, creating better health.
Let's face it, we don't do our feet any favours so there could definitely be something in this. Spas and hot springs are the top two tourist attractions globally, so maybe we're starting to catch on.
Whilst it was the ancient Chinese who introduced reflexology, they were not the only ones to enjoy foot baths. In the second millennium BC, they were a big hit with the Grecians. They believed the therapeutic water could relieve fatigue and improve health.
Japanese foot baths have been the attraction of those on health pilgrimages to hot springs for over 1600 years.
Benefits of a Foot Spa:
Improved blood circulation: Taking a foot spa can re-energise you and relax you at the same time.
Stress relief: A foot spa will definitely help relieve the stress of our busy lives.
Help with arthritic pain: Those suffering from arthritis can benefit greatly from a regular foot spa, as the warm water and massage relax muscles and joints. The addition of seaweed to the water is highly recommended.
Reduce headaches: Yep, massaging your feet can help relieve the symptoms of headaches and migraines.
Improve sleep: A foot spa is brilliant for anyone suffering from insomnia.
Detox: Foot spas help the body get rid of toxins. This improves the health of the liver and kidneys, helps to maintain pH balance, clears acne and wrinkles and strengthens the immune system.
Regular foot spas are good for everyone, especially those who are on their feet a lot of the time. They also come highly recommended for keen sportsmen and women. By regularly massaging feet and ankles you can really reduce the risk of injury. It will strengthen the muscles and joints and make the feet more flexible.
Is there anyone who should avoid a foot spa? Nope. It's one of the best things you can do for yourself so try it soon.