When I reached the late second trimester of my pregnancy, I came down with a bad case of edema. The only way I can really describe the way my feet and ankles swelled up is: John Travolta in drag in the movie Hairspray. Yeah, that’s the best I can do.
So anyway, there I was, waddling around on overstuffed sausage feet with no discernible ankle to speak of, and none of my shoes would fit. At all. I couldn’t squeeze a single pair on. So I had to buy some stretchy slippers with hard soles as makeshift shoes. I bought two pairs and wore them from around Week 28 to delivery (and even a couple of weeks post pregnancy). But mostly, I just went barefoot whenever possible.
Which resulted in some horribly cracked heels and dry, icky feet. So! Now that Tessa is 4 weeks old, (how has the time gone by so quickly?!?!) I’m finally getting around to fixing my feet that still bear the battle scars of perpetual barefootedness.
I’m currently on a natural ingredients / home remedy kick, so I put a lot of thought into this foot soak blend. There are so many recipes out there for foot soaks, so I researched the various ingredients and tailored this one to suit my specific needs / tastes. The ingredients are all natural, healthy and wholesome. Really, I blame Tessa for inspiring me to be healthier, and holistically minded. When I’m questioning the benefits and potential harm of everything that goes in or on my infant, I’ve found myself starting to do the same with the rest of my family.
So no store bought foot soaks for me! Here’s the recipe I cooked up to save my feet:
1 Gallon of Warm Water
3 Cups of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Cup of Epsom Salt
5 Drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil
5 Drops of Lemon Essential Oil
Combine all the ingredients, and gently swirl the water to dissolve the salts. Immerse your feet in the soak for 30 minutes, then use a pumice stone to work away the dry areas. Cover your feet in foot lotion and put socks on to lock in the moisture. Simple, relaxing and easy!
Why These Ingredients:
Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar is known as an acetic acid, which is a mild exfoliate. The acidic properties of apple cider vinegar effectively soften feet and soothes dry skin – especially cracked heels – and helps lessen the appearance of calluses. It also works as an astringent and an antibacterial. So not only does it effectively treat feet nastiness like athlete’s foot, but it works as a deodorant and fights stinky feet.
The use of apple cider vinegar dates back many years. Its use was documented in Egyptian cultures, it was written about in the Bible, and even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, spoke of its use in 500 BC. Jonathan and I use this as a home remedy for many, many things. It’s our personal little miracle elixir, and I very much intend to blog about it more in the future!
Apple cider vinegar is made from apples through a two-stage fermenting process. Hard apple cider is made from the first stage of the fermentation process, while apple cider vinegar is made from the second stage.
Epsom Salt – Epsom salt, named for a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Long known as a natural remedy for a number of ailments, epsom salt has numerous health benefits.
Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making epsom salt baths and foot soaks an easy and ideal way to enjoy the health benefits. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. The sulfates in the epsom salt also help improve the absorption of nutrients and help flush toxins from the body.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil – Eucalyptus is one of the oldest native medicines used in Australia. It acts as an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic. Eucalyptus is specifically a very powerful bactericidal with anti-viral properties and is an excellent immune-stimulant. It’s often recommended for people who are tired and run down. So it cleanses and relaxes – perfect for achey feet!
Lemon Essential Oil – Lemon essential oil is an antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and an astringent. Citrus oils are always a good idea for feet soaks, because of their cleansing properties. This oil is good for detoxification, and helps improve circulation. Interesting factoid: To make lemon essential oil, the lemons are harvested while they are still green to yield a higher quality oil, and it takes over 3,000 lemons to produce 2 pounds of expressed oil!
So there you have it. I was able to enjoy my first soak today, and finish a novel I’ve been working on for months, all while Tessa slept soundly the whole time. The soak softened my feet enough to remove a good layer of dead skin, and my feet have a decidedly tingly feeling, even hours after the soak. I’m planning on doing a weekly soak, and moisturizing nightly till I get my feet back to presentable shape. ^_^