Last night I felt chilled, my legs and arms started to ache and my energy was zip zero. All early signs to a virus making its way through my body. I am determined to not get sick so the moment I feel slightly off I go into fight mode, I literally go ninja on it, chanting " I am healthy, I am healthy". Luckily, after taking a zillion things I woke up feeling fine. It got me thinking about all the natural treatments and remedies I need, to be prepared for the coming months.
One problem my family faces is circulation issues, we always have cold hands and feet during those cold winter days. These days my mothers hands literally turn blue if is too cold outside. It is very important to stay warm, this is one strict rule from the Chinese medicine doctor I see. He always wants me covered up to prevent cold entering my body and when I am sick he suggests to stay even warmer. Scarves around necks, socks on feet and wooly hats on head.
Wether it is circulation issues, a virus or infection there is a wonderfully relaxing tool to treat the body for a speedy recovery. Chinese and Ayurvedic doctors both agree that foot baths are a great way to sweat out a cold, bring down a fever, warm up the body. Using different herbs based on their traditional practices to treat the different aliments. Since I see both doctors I like to use both techniques depending on what it is I am fighting and which calls to me.
The ancient Chinese often compared the body to a tree: the trunk is the torso, the arms are the branches and roots are the feet. So a dying tree usually withers away first at the roots, so for this reason the feet are very important in health maintenance. Massages, foot exercises, soaking in hot water and taking herbal soaks are all recommended as well as acupuncture, reflexology and acupressure.
Simple soaking is quite healing as 6 meridians reach the foot ( gall bladder, spleen, liver, stomach, kidney). Soaking in hot water activates blood and energy throughout the body. During an herbal foot bath the skin absorbs elements and they travel through the energy channels to target points. Soaking until there is sweat can relieve symptoms of cold, fever, and menstrual cramps.
Ideally a bucket should be used so you can get the water up the back of the legs too. Start with hot water and only fill half way, as the water starts to cool you want to keep adding hot water as you go to keep the temperate hot and consistent.
Once you start to break a sweat, removed your feet. A little sweat is good and signs of unblocked energy channels. Yet too much sweat is not good as it can consume too much of your bodies energy. It can take 20-40 minutes before you break a sweat, but if you don't then stop after 40minutes and try again tomorrow.
It is best to soak before bed to promote a warm deep sleep. I mostly do it in the day if my feet are cold but if I am sick I will do before bed. Don't soak an hour before or after meals, or with alcohol. If you feel dizzy from the heat add some cold water in to the basin so the blood vessels contract.
Adding herbs is a great way to target specific problems. Always boil your herbs first and then add the herbs and the boiled water to your basin/bucket/bowl.
I love a ginger foot bath, I prefer whole fresh ginger boiled in water. Some people do ginger powder but I always prefer the fresh stuff. This helps to warm the body up and get circulation moving.
GINGER (50G) AND BAIJIU (50ML)
Boil the ginger in water for a few minutes. Add ginger soup and baijiu to hot water in a basin. Soak for 15-30 minutes or until there’s a slight sweat.
Helps unblock energy channels, dispels pathogenic yin (cold energy), reinforces yang (hot energy). Especially good for those with cold extremities in winter.
GINGER (50G) AND DANELION (50G)
Boil ingredients in water. Add soup to hot water in a basin. Soak feet in mixture for around 20 minutes or until there’s a slight sweat.
Ginger helps dispel pathogenic cold. Dandelion helps dispel pathogenic heat and toxins. This mixture helps relieve symptoms of flu, fever or headache.
There are many more recipes and you can obtain these by seeing a TCM or Ayurvedic doctor. I always find it helpful to have an eastern doctor to consult with before trying any remedies.