Natural Foot Care with Essential Oils

We use our feet pretty much ALL day! They are essential in helping us get where we need to go, and we often forget to show them proper care in return. Until there is a problem. As most of us know, when your feet hurt, you are miserable. Preventative care is one of the most important, and often overlooked, parts of foot care.

Those with Diabetes can suffer from damage to their nerve endings, which can affect their extremities, causing numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in their legs, hands, and feet. Because of this, diabetic feet sweat less frequently or not at all, leading to dryness. As a result, it is important to ensure that feet are properly moisturized without encouraging bacterial and fungal growth. It is important to avoid products that contain petroleum, mineral oil, or waxes that can clog the pores and prevent the skin from breathing.

Some of the best oils for foot care, along with their benefits, are listed below:

  • Tea Tree Oil: Deodorizing and anti-fungal
  • Lavender: Wound healing, Pain reduction and calming
  • Peppermint: Purification of the skin, Improving circulation, Boosting energy and Encouraging new cell growth, soothing/cooling
  • Olive Oil: Pain reduction, wound healing and contains vitamins/minerals
  • German Camomile: Anti-inflammatory, calming and encourages relaxation
  • Eucalyptus: Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, reduces aches/pains, natural decongestant and boosts immunity (avoid this if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure or suffer from epilepsy)

Invigorating Foot Soak

To help cleanse feet for the prevention of foot ulcers, infections, and inflammations:

  • 1 cup of Dead Sea salts or Epsom salts
  • 2 drops lavender oil (Lavendula angustifolia)
  • 2 drops tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 2 drops eucalyptus oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
  • 2 drops chamomile oil (Matricaria recutita)
  • Mix oils and store in a dark glass jar

To create the soak: pour boiling water into a large bowl, and let it cool down to a comfortable temperature. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the cleansing foot soak mixture, and soak feet for up to 15 minutes.

Freshening Foot Powder

Foot powder helps to keep feet cool, absorbs foot sweat and reduces foot odor. This is especially important in summer when shoes can get very sweaty and create a breeding ground for bacteria.

  • 3 Tbsp of powder (baking soda, arrowroot or white clay)
  • 3 drops tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 3 drops rosemary oil (Rosmarinus officinalis)

Add oils to the powder, stir until the oil is thoroughly mixed in, then dust onto feet before putting on your socks.

Soothing Foot Oil

This anti-microbial blend can help to reduce inflammation when gently massaged onto itchy, irritated, cracked, and peeling feet.

  • 6 drops camomile oil (Matricaria recutita)
  • 6 drops tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 4 drops lavender oil (Lavendula angustifolia)
  • 30 mL olive oil (Olea europaea)

Mix the essential oils with olive oil, and store the mixture in a dark glass bottle. Gently rub the oil blend onto your feet before putting on your socks, or going to bed.

DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS NOT PROVIDED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS NOT MEANT TO SUBSTITUTE CONSULTING WITH YOUR PODIATRIST, DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THIS SITE IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, INFLUENCE TREATMENT OR CURE ANY FOOT OR OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS NOR IS IT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SERVICES OR ADVICE OF A PODIATRIST, PHYSICIAN, OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.  YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN LICENSED IN YOUR STATE IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO YOUR HEALTH.

Treat & Prevent Varicose Veins Naturally

Varicose veins can be unsightly and sometimes even uncomfortable. It’s common for many who have varicose veins to get laser surgery to eliminate them. Fortunately, there are also some natural alternatives you can try to help get rid of your varicose veins before you turn to laser treatments.

Symptoms

According to mayoclinic.com, signs of varicose veins include:

  • Veins that are dark purple or blue in color
  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging; often like cords on your legs

When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:

  • An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itching around one or more of your veins
  • Bleeding from varicose veins
  • A painful cord in the vein with red discoloration of the skin
  • Color changes, hardening of the vein, inflammation of the skin or skin ulcers near your ankle, which can mean you have a serious form of vascular disease that requires medical attention

Causes

Arteries carry blood from your heart to the rest of your tissues. Veins return blood from the rest of your body to your heart, so the blood can be recirculated. To return blood to your heart, the veins in your legs must work against gravity.

Muscle contractions in your lower legs act as pumps, and elastic vein walls help blood return to your heart. Tiny valves in your veins open as blood flows toward your heart then close to stop blood from flowing backward.

Causes of varicose veins can include:

  • Age. As you get older, your veins can lose elasticity, causing them to stretch. The valves in your veins may become weak, allowing blood that should be moving toward your heart to flow backward.Blood pools in your veins, and your veins enlarge and become varicose. The veins appear blue because they contain deoxygenated blood, which is in the process of being recirculated through the lungs.
  • Pregnancy. Some pregnant women develop varicose veins. Pregnancy increases the volume of blood in your body, but decreases the flow of blood from your legs to your pelvis. This circulatory change is designed to support the growing fetus, but it can produce an unfortunate side effect — enlarged veins in your legs.Varicose veins may surface for the first time or may worsen during late pregnancy, when your uterus exerts greater pressure on the veins in your legs. Changes in your hormones during pregnancy also may play a role. Varicose veins that develop during pregnancy generally improve without medical treatment three to 12 months after delivery.

Prevention

As with many conditions, prevention is preferred over treatment. Some simple, natural things you can do to avoid varicose veins include:

  • Dry brushing: Use a body brush to increase your circulation and keep blood moving
  • Don’t cross your legs when sitting, this can prevent proper blood flow
  • Elevate your feet occasionally if you are standing for extended periods of time. This helps prevent blood from pooling in the lower extremities.
  • Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet to keep inflammation low. Examples include berries, tumeric, kale, broccoli and olive oil.

I found this great DIY recipe for varicose vein body butter at The Crunchy Moose

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Soothe Your Cranky Baby With Foot Massage

Babies typically respond very well and almost immediately to reflexology techniques. It’s effective, natural, safe, and based on the principle that certain reflex points found on the feet and hands correspond to specific organs, muscles, bones and body systems.

By applying gentle pressure to particular areas in the feet, blockages can be released to restore the flow of energy within the body. This can help soothe a cranky baby or even immediately relieve tummy pains or constipation.

You can begin using reflexology at birth, and it can be used as a valuable tool for parents to calm their children in a loving way while bonding with each other. Reflexology can be used as a natural healing technique for acute illnesses as well as part of a preventative maintenance program for overall good health.

I have gathered some tips below on using reflexology with infants from http://naturaltransition.com. 

 Finding time for reflexology

Babies get wiggly and it can be hard to find a time when baby is happy to be still to have his feet played with.

 For young babies you can try working on your baby:

  • As part of your massage routine
  • While asleep
  • While feeding
  • While rocking
  • In a carry pouch

 With older babies you can also:

  • Play this little piggy went to market or round and round the garden while pressing the relevant parts of the foot. A few presses here and there and you have a reflexology workout that is a natural extension of a fun game
  • During bath time

How often should you use reflexology?

  • For a specific chronic problem such as reflux or eczema, once a week for three to four weeks is the best way to start out. Results can then be maintained with bimonthly or monthly treatments.
  • Reflexology can also be used to maintain good general health, as an extension of your regular daily infant massage.

How to do reflexology

The basic formula of a reflexology treatment is simple.

  • Relax and bring blood flow to the foot with a quick warm up
  • Find the relevant reflex area
  • Apply a technique- Experiment with different techniques and find what works for you and your baby. This is likely to change as your baby gets older.
  • Continue technique application until symptoms stop or recede to an acceptable level. For more chronic conditions you can apply reflexology techniques consistently three times a day, symptoms or no symptoms. The goal is to break up the stress pattern. Over the course of several weeks, you should see improvement in any longer lasting symptoms.

 Popular techniques

These are techniques used by reflexologists mostly when working with adults. While these techniques are also valuable tools for working with babies and young children, as a parent working with your baby it’s  fine to invent your own techniques. The most important thing is to stimulate the appropriate reflex area and to alternate stimulating techniques with more relaxing ones. To improve the accessibility to specific reflex points you can use one hand to gently hold the toes back.

Relaxation techniques

Use stroking and milking massage strokes on the feet at the beginning and the end of the session as well as in between the stimulating reflexology techniques. This helps to take the intensity out of the session.

You can also make up you own relaxation foot massage, the more natural it feels to you, the more relaxing it will feel to your baby.

Stimulating techniques

Thumb Walking  

This technique helps to consistently hit the reflex points every time and is used by reflexologists to cover larger reflex points. This is the best way to massage the intestinal reflex area.

You can practice the thumb walking technique as outlined below and or watch the instructional video that follows.

Step 1: Grasp your thumb at the second joint. Bend and unbend the first joint.

Step 2: Rest your hands on your leg. Now bend your thumb at the first joint. Unbend it. Proceed to bend and unbend your thumb, taking small steps forward with each bend and walking down your leg.

Step 3: Now rest your fingertips on the surface of the arm. The thumb rests of the under side of the arm. Holding your fingers in place, bend and unbend your thumb on your arm. As you unbend your thumb, take a small step forward. Practice “walking your thumb” in a forward direction.

Your fingers stay in place until your hand is stretched uncomfortably. Reposition the fingers and keep them in place as the thumb again “walks” forward.

Step 4: Maintaining the position of your fingers, lower your wrist slightly. Do you notice your thumb is now exerting more pressure? Now drop your wrist lower. Do you feel even more pressure?

The amount of pressure you apply is controlled by lowering or raising the wrist. Leverage is thus created by an interplay of fingertips, wrist and thumb tip.

Step 5: As you practice the thumb walking technique on your arm, try to exert a constant steady pressure. This is most easily achieved by effective use of leverage as described above.

Note: The contact of the fingernail may create a comfort problem for the person with whom you are working. Be aware of the fingernail marks you may be leaving. If you are concerned about comfort or if you have long nails, use the flat of the finger or thumb to exert pressure or use a different technique.

Reflexology as a maintenance tool for your baby’s health

Used in this way reflexology can help your baby’s body to heal itself by detoxifying, relaxing and balancing it.

This routine can be used on a daily basis and can help to detect and even treat imbalances before your baby experiences any symptoms.

The reflex area for solar plexus is the foot’s number one point for relaxation.

Gently press your thumb there while holding around the foot with the rest of your hand.

Make small circular movements until you feel a subtle “let go” from your baby, almost like an exhalation.

Do both feet simultaneously.

Step 2

Start by the arrow on the right foot and press a little bit with your thumb. Stay a moment and try to feel the area. Are there any small irregularities just under the skin?

Massage the area gently, and move up slowly, feeling each and every little bit of the area until you reach the end of the pink color on the left foot. It can be repeated several times if your baby doesn’t protest; this will stimulate the colon and the bowel movements.

Step 3

The kidneys belong to the eliminating system of the body; they filter the blood.

Massaging the kidney points can be a great stress-reliever.

Start at the top on the right foot where the kidney area is located and massage gently for a while, then move down along the ureter and end up at the side of the foot where the bladder is situated. It is not visible on the picture, but the bladder area begins exactly where the green color ends.

Massage lightly, one foot at a time.

Step 4

You might hear a little cough when you start massaging the lung area.

Start from the bottom of the area and work your way up.

Massage one foot at a time.

Step 5

End your massage with the sinuses. These areas should be caressed. Put all your love into the massage and softly press on each toe.

If your child has a cold, this could help release mucus and clear the head.

If you feel like continuing, then massage other parts of the foot. This is the time when the two of you are sharing a deeply relaxing and loving experience. It doesn’t matter so much if you do it right; what matters is that you both enjoy it.

DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS NOT PROVIDED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS NOT MEANT TO SUBSTITUTE CONSULTING WITH YOUR PODIATRIST, DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THIS SITE IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, INFLUENCE TREATMENT OR CURE ANY FOOT OR OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS NOR IS IT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SERVICES OR ADVICE OF A PODIATRIST, PHYSICIAN, OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.  YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN LICENSED IN YOUR STATE IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO YOUR HEALTH.

Using Foot Massage To Improve Circulation

Massage, particularly reflexology, can be be very helpful in improving circulation. Improving circulation can help boost your overall health, facilitate lymph flow and relax the body.

foot-soak

Soak:  Soak feet in warm, soapy water. Soaking helps to relax the feet as well as disinfect the area to be sure no bacteria or viruses are transmitted from the feet.

foot-rub

Prep: Use the flattened palms of your hands to warm the feet and apply the lotion or oil you will use for the massage. Stroke from the toes toward the ankle with gentle pressure. You can vary the speed of your hand movement as you massage back and forth from toes to ankle, but keep the pressure light so as to prevent the muscles from tightening.

foot-release

Release: Identify points on the foot that are particularly uncomfortable or experience muscle tightness. Apply direct, firmer pressure on these areas and use your fingertips to apply friction in small circular motions to release the muscles.

palm-massage

Encourage circulation: Resume strokes with the flattened palm of your hand, starting just below the ankle area. Work your way around the leg, moving upward toward the ankle. Then begin to work your way back toward the toes continuing in circular motions.

Regular foot massage can help to improve your circulation and relieve tired, sore feet.

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.