By Dada Dharmavedananda

Most people think that taking a bath is healthy because it removes dirt and impurities, and this is absolutely correct. But there are also specialized bath treatments that are used in natural treatment which add a whole new dimension to the role of bathing in health. Let’s take a look at one of the detoxing baths.

What are the benefits of Hot Foot Bath & why does it work?

This treatment is especially useful for people with headaches, neuralgia, toothaches, a deep cough, ovarian and menstrual problems, strong colds, indigestion, asthma, pneumonia, influenza, and any diseases related to pollution of the body, cold hands and cold feet. It relieves chest congestion, pelvic congestion, and is recommended for bladder, kidney, throat and ear inflammations. In fact it is valuable for any condition which requires detoxification – which is 95% of the diseases that people have. Though not everyone is able to do steambath due to various bodily weaknesses, almost everyone can do hot foot bath — even patients with high blood pressure can do it.

Because of the heating of the blood in the feet and under legs, the pores of the skin of the entire body will open, and the patient will start to sweat. This removes toxins from the body. With increased circulation, abdominal and reproductive organs are strengthened, the menstrual cycle is brought back to normal, and tensions around the heart are relieved.

In the case of suddenly catching a cold or in the first stage of fever, it is especially helpful. For painful feet or rheumatism, use this treatment daily for twenty minutes.

Hot foot bath should not be done by those who are insulin-dependent diabetics, have frost bite, arteriosclerosis of lower legs, or paralysis in feet or legs.

How to do Hot Foot Bath?

To perform this bath you need a chair, bucket large enough that your two feet fit, hot water kettle (or 2nd bucket with hot water), large blanket, large cotton cloth, thin towel for head and a thick towel for cold friction. In our treatment centers these requirements are significantly simplified because we have designed special coats and custom-made boxes appropriate for steambath and hot foot bath. Nevertheless, the effect remains the same if done according to these instructions.

This treatment is to be done only on an empty stomach. First, drink a glass of warm water. Sit on a chair with a cotton cloth covering up to the chin, and reaching slightly below the knees. Wrap the blanket over the cotton cloth. The blanket should extend all the way to the floor. The purpose of the cotton cloth is so that it will be the one which becomes dirty from sweat, not the blanket – because the cotton cloth is easier to clean afterward.

A very damp (but not dripping wet) towel should be wrapped on the crown and back of the head. Keep it wet throughout the bath by sprinkling a little water on it from time to time. Put cool water in the bucket to cover the feet. Add hot water gradually until it is as hot as the patient can reasonably tolerate. About 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit is the proper temperature.

It is generally better to start with a lower temperature, and gradually increase. Thus, keep adding more and more hot water. The deeper the water, the greater will be the effect. Continue for about 10-20 minutes, until the whole body is very hot and sweating. In the end, pour cold water on the feet.

If the body does not start sweating after the first few minutes, then it is likely the water is not hot enough. If needed, it should be so hot that each time hot water is added, the attendant will continue pouring until it is so hot that the patient feels the need to jiggle the feet. At that moment stop adding hot water or it will become too hot. If the feet become slightly red, it is no problem.

After completing the bath, the attendant should perform cold friction (rubbing with a cold wet towel) on the whole body. If there is no attendant, then take a sponge bath followed by a normal cool bath.If the feet remain red for 10 to 15 minutes afterward, there is no need to worry. The blood pressure decreases during the bath. Therefore a feeling of giddiness may ensue. This feeling will pass away after a few minutes.

Alternate Hot and Cold Foot Bath

This is a variation of the foot bath and is the best treatment for chronically cold feet, especially in children. It is also good to promote circulation in the legs, prevent varicose veins, and to treat insomnia, headache, and high blood pressure.

Place two buckets side by side, one with hot water, the other with cold. The cold water should cover the feet, but the hot water should reach only above the ankles. Alternate back and forth — two minutes hot followed by 1 minute cold, again and again for 15 minutes.

Use these treatments to relieve symptoms, but if they persist you should see your health care provider.

About the author
Dada Dharmavedananda is a yogi and naturopathic doctor. He is the founder of the Ananda Marga Wellness Center, an in-patient natural treatment center in Cebu, Philippines.