You’re going to want to step into this warm, grounding herbal foot soak with cinnamon and magnesium this winter. Long days of cold air can be taxing on the body and mind. During winter, a noticeable tenseness rolls through your limbs as you clutch your jacket tightly around your body. Even in climates without snow, a drop in temperature still has the same effect. There’s nothing better than warm relief as you walk through the door greeted by the familiar comforts of home. Whether it is lighting a fire, turning up the heater, or cozying up under a fuzzy blanket, winter invites us to seek ways to enjoy the warmth and relax tense muscles. An herbal foot soak is a great way to do this.
Foot Soak Benefits
Preparing this herbal foot soak is an easy and effective way to get the heat back into your body. Our feet are covered in blood vessels, which in turn, play a role in regulating our body temperature. When your feet get cold, the blood vessels constrict, which then inhibits circulation. (Johnson, 2020). The oh-so-warm water, coupled with these beneficial ingredients, helps to relax and open up the blood vessels to allow more blood flow. This boost in circulation helps warm your entire body.
Furthermore, have you heard of the term grounding? This is a practice in which you walk barefoot on the ground to reconnect yourself
to the positive charges of the earth. It is a way to reset your energy. We carry so much power in our feet, yet they are often ignored. I myself didn’t pay much attention to my feet until I started seeing an acupuncture practitioner who is also experienced with Chinese medicine.
In Chinese medicine, there are around sixty acupuncture points identified on the feet that affect the entire body. According to this model, a footbath can draw negative energy away from the head, stimulate circulation, and strengthen the energy of the organs throughout—a fascinating approach to overall health. This understanding provides us with small, everyday practices that will ultimately make a large impact on our moods and well-being.
Effects of Magnesium – Why Magnesium?
Magnesium is an essential mineral and is required in relatively large amounts. Magnesium is a cofactor in >300 enzymatic reactions and thus it is essential for many crucial physiological functions, such as heart rhythm, vascular tone, nerve function, muscle contraction, and relaxation; Magnesium is also needed for bone formation and can also be referred to as a natural “calcium antagonist’ (Jahnen-Dechent & Ketteler, 2012). Magnesium ions in solution are absorbed into our skin by way of hair follicles (Chandrasekaran, 2016), thus a foot soak or bath is an ideal type of application. Magnesium absorbed by the skin during a foot bath helps to reduce pain, relax the muscles, and regulate your nervous system function (Jahnen-Dechent & Ketteler, 2012). Although research to support these claims is limited, this has been a folk practice for many years. By adding magnesium to your foot soak, you are able to feel the myriad of benefits, most notably, muscle relaxation and quieting overactive nerves.
Cinnamon, Not Just a Pantry Spice
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, syn. C. zeylanicum), one of my favorite spices! (If you’ve read a few of my articles, you’ll notice a pattern.) As budding herbalists, we tend to latch on to familiar favorites when we are starting to dive into the world of herbalism. As I’ve continued to study, I find myself going back to this pantry spice. The versatility, benefits, and of course, the flavor of this spice recommends it for a bevy of uses. Adding cinnamon to your foot soak is an excellent way to spice up your self-care ritual. Traditionally used for warming in energetically cold conditions, cinnamon is also used as a circulatory stimulant to encourage peripheral blood flow to the hands and feet (Chevallier, 1996). Moreover, cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and antifungal—both ideal when creating an herbal foot soak.
Warm yourself this winter with a grounding, heating, circulating, foot soak using simple yet effective ingredients you may already have at home! This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of herbal infused oil. You can make your own or purchase. 1 cup magnesium flakes
Warming Herbal Foot Soak with Cinnamon and Magnesium
1 teaspoon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, syn. C. zeylanicum) bark, ground*
1 tablespoon herbal infused oil*
Water to fill foot bath basin
Warm yourself this winter with a grounding, heating, circulating, foot soak using simple yet effective ingredients you may already have at home! This recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of herbal infused oil. You can make your own or purchase.
1 cup magnesium flakes
*For sensitive skin, cinnamon can be irritating. To ensure you don’t have a skin reaction, place the ingredients into a muslin bag rather than directly into the foot soak water. This will act as a buffer.
*For the herbal infused oil, I created a circulation-enhancing oil using cinnamon, star anise, and orange peel in avocado oil.
Note: This recipe makes one cup. There will be leftovers that can be saved in a jar and used for future foot soaks.
Don’t underestimate the power of your feet, those little energy transmitters! When we take the time to care and pay attention to them, we have the opportunity to reap the benefits. A simple herbal foot soak is a great way to introduce those benefits!
Johnson, J. (2020). Cold feet: Causes and remedies [Online Article] Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320327#causes-of-cold-feet
Chandrasekaran, N.C., Sanchez, W.Y., Mohammed, Y.H., Grice, J.E., Roberts, M.S., & Barnard, R.T. (2016). Permeation of topically applied Magnesium ions through human skin is facilitated by hair follicles. Magnesium Research, 29(2), 35–42. https://doi.org/10.1684/mrh.2016.0402
Chevallier. (1996). Cinnamon monograph [Online Article].. Retrieved from https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/
Jahnen-Dechent, W., & Ketteler, M. (2012). Magnesium basics. Clinical Kidney Journal, 5(Suppl 1), i3–i14. https://doi.org/10.1093/ndtplus/sfr163
Kauffman, S. (2019). Benefits of a TCM foot bath [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.susannekaufmann.com/blogs/journal/benefits-of-a-tcm-foot-bath