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Sometimes, the best form of luxury is the cheapest. It doesn’t matter how little you spend if the experience still makes you feel like royalty, and a DIY foot soak can be just the thing for relaxing after a long day or having a bit of occasional pampering. There’s plenty out there for what people recommend putting in a soak, so let’s start off with the basics.
Epsom salts are the classic staple of a foot soak, aid to help with everything from arthritis to plain old swollen feet. The salts break down into magnesium and sulfate in water, and some believe that these minerals can be soaked in through the skin for the body’s benefit. There are not many studies to prove this, but a cup of Epsom salts in a basin 2/3 full of warm water should not cause any harm.
Vinegar is another common ingredient in many soaks, and is praised for its antifungal and anti-odor properties (although some might not like the odor of vinegar that much, either). Two tablespoons of vinegar in a basin of water is a good ratio.
Then there are the smaller add-ins. These include baking soda, which also has anti-odor properties (probably shouldn’t mix this with the vinegar, though) and fragrant oils. The right fragrance can amplify the soothing effect of the soak.
Foot soaks should not last longer than 20 minutes, and be sure to dry the feet thoroughly when finished. Applying some moisturizer after drying will help prevent drying out the feet. If you live with diabetes, or have dry, cracked skin foot soaks should be avoided altogether. Neuropathy can also make it difficult to determine hot water temperatures, leading to burns.
For more advice on the best ways to pamper your feet, or for help on matters such as odor and dryness, call Dr. Kevin Powers. Our Bloomington office can be reached at (812) 333-4422.