Before we moved to New Zealand I never knew walking around barefoot was a thing. My kids embraced it from Day 1 and took quite badly to being made to wear shoes for certain occasions! It took me a while longer to get used to.
I do the barefoot thing a bit these days. It’s meant to be beneficial for many reasons. And sometimes it’s simply too hot in Northland to want to wear shoes, even jandals!
One downside of this is that my feet feel rougher and more calloused. Which is great for protection if I encounter a sharp stone but doesn’t look or feel very pleasant.
Do you experience foot pain? I have plantar fasciitis which causes my feet to ache, so soothing foot soaks are right up my alley and something I’m fitting more regularly into my weekly ‘self-care routine’.
Soaking your feet in a tub of warm water is pleasant enough, but why not supercharge the experience?
Add a handful of any of our SO bath soaks and you’ve got yourself a boost of magnesium sulphate from the Epsom salt, and all the minerals and nutrients contained in the Himalayan pink salt* for good measure.
* If you have SO:Active, instead of the pink salt you’ve got some added organic sodium bicarb which is a natural deodoriser. Great for feet that have been stuck in trainers or work boots for hours. (In this house that means great for the husband and teen boys!).
Epsom salt helps remove toxins from your body, can reduce inflammation, increase circulation and ease cramps. And all you have to do to get the benefits is sit and relax with your feet in a tub of warm water!
Imagine the bliss after a long day on your feet at work, a day spent gardening, or even running a half marathon if you’re that way inclined! It can also help ease the pain and pressure of ingrown toenails.**
Our soaks also contain essential oils to add that little something extra to your relaxing spa-like treatment. For example, SO:Relaxing contains lavender which, as well as being known as the relaxation essential oil, is also a natural pain reliever. SO:Active contains lavender too, and wintergreen which is used to lower pain and swelling, and feels almost cooling and refreshing on your tired feet.
* You can simply add a handful of our bath salts to a tub of warm water and soak your feet. If you don’t have any Salt & Oil to hand, Epsom salt or even sea salt or pink salt from the pantry will do the job.
* If you have areas of dry, rough skin, wet your feet then rub a small amount of the salts into your feet as a great exfoliant, before soaking them in the tub.
* Next Level – For a really smooth, moisturising treat, add a carrier oil to your mix.
This is what I did last night – transferred a few tablespoons of SO:Uplifting salt mix into a container (mine was an old tin that had once contained a body moisturising bar), then added 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil. I gave it just a gentle stir to keep the grains from dissolving. I wet one foot at a time then massaged in a fingerful of the mixture for a minute. I rinsed it off then repeated with the other foot before soaking them both for 10 minutes.
My skin felt so smooth and refreshed afterwards. And, even better, my hands (which are notoriously dry because I’m rubbish at using hand cream) were also soft and moisturised.
Adding a moisturising cream afterwards would help lock in the moisture.
TOP TIP 1 -Make sure you have a towel beside you before you put your feet in the water. It kind of ruins the relaxing vibe to tiptoe through the house trying not to make the carpet all soggy.
TOP TIP 2 – Bribe someone to keep you topped up with hot water. Or boil the jug and have it to hand.
WHY SHOULD YOU TRY IT?
* If you've been on your feet all day (say you're a nurse, teacher, farmer, checkout operator, you get the idea) it's an instantly refreshing and soothing pick-you-up.
* If you need to de-stress but don't want a full-on bath, you'll still be absorbing enough magnesium to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, the 'rest and digest' part of your brain that will help you relax.
* If you're an athlete or sports player who needs a magnesium boost to ease muscles after a game or soothe an anxious mind before one! Particularly useful for runners and endurance athletes who burn through a lot of magnesium during their activity.
* If you have a teen who’s had a tough day at school and could benefit from a bit of a body and brain boosting pamper that they can do whilst watching Netflix or Snapchatting. You'll earn bonus mum points for this one. Try not to nag when they leave the wet towel on the floor though!
** If you do have an ingrown toenail, use an Epsom salt-based very warm soak several times a day. As your skin becomes soft and loose, you can gently rub/pull it in an outwards motion away from the nail. Make sure to dry your feet thoroughly afterwards to lessen the chance of further infection.
OTHER BENEFITS OF AN EPSOM SALT FOOT SOAK:
· Helps relieve athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.
· Draws out splinters from skin.
· Can ease the pain and swelling of sprains and bruises.
· Said to ease the inflammation and discomfort of gout.
PLUS – even though only your feet are submerged, your whole body and mind will benefit from the absorption of magnesium into your skin. Magnesium helps ease stress and irritability (I don’t know how our household would manage if our tween didn’t take himself off for an Epsom salt bath a few times a week!) and has physical benefits like easing cramps, helping your muscles work properly, and even bringing relief from constipation!
Hmm, we can’t end a blog on that bum note! So I’ll just add, enjoy your foot soak in the evening and the magnesium may help you have a better sleep too. Glass of wine optional.
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