Like hot bath in the tub in the western culture, soaking feet in hot water with salt or other herbal medicine in a wooden bucket is part of Chinese daily life. Our feet, furtherest to our heart, have the responsibility of the circulation of the far end of our body. Because we sit in the office with feet down every day, our feet need to be bettern taken care of in this way or other.
One may say I run everyday and take bath from time to time, wouldn't that be enough? Well, hot water obviously provides a different kind of relaxation and stimulation. Hot bath in the bath tub too frequently is on one hand too exhausting and on the other hand, consuming a lot of time and water. On the contrary, we can soak our feet in the hot water every everyning with limited consumption of time and water.
Here are a few tips for your daily footbath ritual:
The container: The ideal container for footbath is a wooden bucket with the hight of around 35-40cm. Wooden bucket holds the water temperature better than other materials and is easy to clean and maintain. The best material for such bucket is oak, which is however heavy and expensive. The second best choice currently is platycaldus. The reality is, unfortunately, due to different quality standards of wooden products between the EU and Asia, the export of such products has not been very easy. I spent equal amount of money in buying such bucket from China and in delivering it to London. Alternatively, you can easily get a metal bucket (no matter what it is originally designed for) or even a plastic bucket. The water temperature drops faster in metal or plastic buckets though. The key point in my opinion is the hight – make sure that the water level could reach almost your knees. I would not recommend those electronic foot spa which only contains water barely reaching your ankles...
Temperature: 40 – 50C would be warm enough to start with although I personally like soaking my feet in very hot water. Be careful, don't burn your feet!
Time: the whole point is to warm your body through your feet and this usually takes at least 20 minutes if not longer. Usually I will wait till I feel that it start to sweat slightly on my back. Add more hot water when needed.
Recipes: I do free style, with stuff I got from Lush or Bodyshop with pepermint or rose. Essential oils do their job properly as well. I read about adding vinegar into hot water in winter to prevent catching nasty cold which I will try maybe in December!
I guess that's all the “need to know” of a traditional Chinese style of footbath. Now burn a candle or an inscent, pick up a book, it's time to switch off and feed your feet with the chicken soup.