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For A Good Nights Sleep Soak Your Feet

foot soaking     In Chinese medicine the feet are viewed as the roots of the body.   The energy in the lower half of the body should be warm and dense while the upper body should be cool and clear.  Chinese people are very protective of their feet.  They pay very close attention to keep their feet covered and warm.   In today’s modern world a persons heart and mind is overly stressed.  Too much sensory stimulation through modern technology and fast pace living tends to over work the nervous system.  We tend to be less in our bodies and more in our heads.  The most obvious results of this is insomnia, dream disturbed sleep, shallow sleep, stress, headaches, nervousness, infertility, constipation, fatigue and many other symptoms associated with a nervous system that is over stimulated.  These symptoms can be helped with foot soaking.  People that suffer from menstrual pain, infertility or other types of chronic pain may also find benefits from soaking their feet.  This is due to the fact that warming the feet helps to increase circulation through the entire body. 

      Traditional Chinese health practices focus on bringing the mind back into the body.  One very simple health practice is to soak your feet in hot water before you go to bed.  In the past Chinese people would do this almost everyday.  Soaking your feet in hot water increases qi (pronounced: chee) and blood circulation in your entire body.  It allows your muscles to relax and deepens your sleep.  Lastly, soaking your feet will draw your overactive mind back into your body and promote physical and mental relaxation.
      In my experience patients that have difficulty winding down and falling asleep have more success with soaking their feet.  Patients that have trouble staying may not find this as helpful but it is worth a try.  Some people find that this is all they need to sleep well.  Some need acupuncture and herbal as well.  Most people will find some benefit
Please read my instructions and precautions carefully before you try soaking your feet.Here are the instructions on how to properly soak your feet:
  1. Fill a basin with hot water.  Any material is fine except for metal.  Make sure both feet fit comfortably inside.
  2. The water temperature should be kept between 104 and 122 degrees.  It should feel like you are putting your feet into a hot bath.
  3. The water should come up to just above your ankles.
  4. Leave your feet in the water for ten to fifteen minutes.
  5. Remove your feet from the water and dry them.  If you have slippers please put them on.  If you do not have slippers, keep your feet warm and don’t walk on the cold floor.
Here is a list of precautions to keep in mind:
  1. DO NOT SOAK YOUR FEET IF YOU SUFFER FROM DIABETES.  Diabetics suffer from poor circulation.  Especially in the lower extremities.  People with diabetes will have difficulty feeling the true temperature of the water and they may burn themselves.
  2. DO NOT SOAK YOUR FEET IF YOU HAVE A HEART CONDITION.  Since soaking your feet slightly increases your heartrate it may cause problems for someone that already has a heart in a weakened state.
  3. Do not soak your feet longer than 15 minutes.  Soaking your feet will increase qi and blood circulation.  If you soak your feet too long it may cause your heart to beat too quickly.
  4. If you are in a weakened state, elderly or you have any clotting in the brain you may feel out of breath or dizzy while soaking your feet.  If you feel this way stop as soon as possible and lie in bed and rest.  You will be fine.  Soaking your feet causes qi and blood to circulate very strongly and draws qi and blood into your lower extremities.  If you have poor circulation in your upper body and brain this can make you feel uncomfortable.
  5. After you eat you should wait one hour before you soak your feet.  This is because after you eat most of your qi is in your spleen and stomach digesting your meal.  Soaking your feet will cause qi and blood to be drawn away from your digestive system which will cause your body to not digest your meal properly.
  6. You should not go to sleep immediately after soaking your feet.  While you are soaking your feet your body will feel warmer.  This is due to the qi and blood moving in your body.  You should wait until the sensation of your body temperature and feet returns to normal before going to bed.
You probably will not feel a big change after soaking your feet once or twice.  If you soak your feet regularly you will begin to feel more of the benefits.
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