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Publish date: Nov 2, 2009
Summary: Immersing the foot and ankle in hot water for up to 30 minutes is a proven method for drawing blood from inflamed or congested areas of the body.
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When the feet are in hot water, the blood which is congesting distant parts of the body is brought to the dilated vessels in the feet and legs. Congestion of the brain, lungs, abdominal and pelvic organs can be relieved in this manner.
A hot foot bath is a local immersion bath covering the feet and ankles at temperatures ranging from 100° to 115° F (43°C- 46°C ).
Hot foot baths increase blood flow through the feet and entire skin surface, relieving congestion in internal organs and brain. This type of bath also elevates the body temperature, relaxing tense muscles and increasing white blood cell activity.
Indications and Counter Indications
Foot bath treatment can help with the following health problems:
- Cold feet
- Colds, chest congestion, flu, coughs, pelvic inflammatory disease
- Pelvic cramps
- Hemorrhoids and prostate problems
- Pain anywhere in the body from toothache to backache
Foot baths may also help with depression, according to Dr. Neil Nedley:
Warm baths can help, according to a recent preliminary study conducted at Michigan State University. More than 40 patients ranging from 18-62 years of age who were admitted to a hospital psychiatry unit with an episode of major depression were given a warm, 30-minute bath (102 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, or 39 to 41 degrees Celsius) just before going to bed. Improvements occurred in tension, anxiety, anger, hostility, confusion, bewilderment, and depression. The findings were the same for men and women.i
However, hot foot bath treatment is dangerous if you have the following health conditions:
- Buerger’s disease
- Insulin-dependent diabetes
- Any condition where circulation in the feet and legs is poor, such as severe vascular disease of the feet and legs, or a loss of sensation in the feet or legs
- Five-gallon foot tub or container
- Thermometer to test that the water is between 100° and 115° F (43°C- 46°C )
- Sheet and blanket
- Heavy towel and washcloth for cold compress
- Material for protection of the bed, if needed
- Pitcher or dipper to add hot water
- Pitcher of ice water
- Do not use hot foot bath on patients with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease unless the temperature is low; maximum 103°F (39°C) Not recommended for frostbite except where the temperature is not above 103° F (39°C)
- Be careful to not burn the patient when adding hot water
- Use cold compress to head when oral temperature exceeds 100° F (38°C), or when patient begins sweating
1. Explain procedure to the patient
2. Have room warm and free of drafts
3. Assemble the materials
4. Protect the bedding, if needed
5. Drape the two blankets over a chair or spread on a bed
6. Fill bucket with water 100° F to 115° F (43°C- 46°C ) high enough to cover ankles
7. Assist patient in undressing and wrap in sheet
8. Wrap towel around patient's neck to catch sweat and prevent escape of body heat
9. Assist patient to place feet in tub. Reassure patient by putting your hands in the water first
10. Wrap the blankets one at a time around the patient, enclosing the tub to allow heat to build up
11. Add hot water as patient can tolerate it, up to 120° F (49°C)
12. Continue treatment for 5-30 minutes as needed, keeping a cold compress on the patient's head
13. Raise feet out of tub, pour ice water over the feet, dry feet, legs and thighs, dress in bed clothes
14. Put thick, warm socks on the patient, allowing them to rest in bed for at least 30 minutes, drinking lots of water.
i. Neil Nedley, Depression: The Way Out (Review & Herald Publishing Association, 2001): 95.
These remedies are adapted from the book Healing Edibles & Other Home Remedies by Joe and Elsa Willis. Joe and Elsa Willis run Maranatha Medical Ministries, an medical outreach center in the mountains of Honduras. They help surrounding villagers with their health issues using principles of healthful living and the natural means God has given. Their assistance to the poor of Honduras has made a huge difference in the lives of many.
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