Hot Foot Bath
Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
True remedies for disease have two distinct features. First, they assist nature in her attempts to eliminate the injurious agent which is causing the unpleasant symptoms; and second, they never leave an injurious influence on the body.
People have been taught to expect to feel the powerful action of the remedy within a few minutes to counteract the symptoms that nature's efforts have produced. Thus the powerful pharmacologic effect of the remedy works in an opposite manner from nature: if nature is causing diarrhea, the pharmacologic remedy causes paralysis of the bowel; if nature is conserving body heat to activate her immune mechanism, the drug acts to stimulate the mechanism for dissipating heat, and the fever falls. If nature is clearing the respiratory tract by coughing, the medication suppresses the cough center in the brain and stops the cough. All natural remedies stimulate and assist in the same direction that the physiologic processes are going, rather than using an opposite action as do drugs.
Physiologic processes to fight disease include those that increase the immune response; increase the ability of white blood cells to eat germs and foreign matter; increase the cleansing flow of blood both to and from an affected part; increase the elimination of toxins, wastes, and foreign substances from the body, working through the lungs, kidneys, skin, and bowel; and keep the brain informed about the situation by causing sensations of pain, discomfort, itching, congestion, etc.
One of the most versatile and helpful of the true remedies is the hot footbath. The hot footbath is a true remedy. It can be used to reduce a fever since it causes the number of circulating white blood cells to be increased, and the toxins which cause an elevated body temperature are removed, and the thermostat is restored to normal. The hot footbath can combat a cold, headache, or any congestion of the head, the chest, or the pelvic organs in menstrual difficulties by pulling excess blood from the congested part, thereby increasing the effective circulation.
The hot footbath can open up the totally blocked nasal passage of a person in about 5 minutes. There is a measured increase in the flow of blood to the pelvic organs as well as to the structures of the nose, throat, and bronchi when the feet are placed in hot water.
The hot footbath is very easily administered. A deep container such as a foot tub, a large wash pan, or even a large trash can may be used. Fill the container about three-quarters full with water at about 110 degrees (or about as hot as the person can tolerate).
The ordinary footbath lasts from 20 to 30 minutes. During that time, the temperature should be kept as hot as the person can handle. For some who object to the heat, start the foot bath at about 105 degrees and build the temperature up during the next 2-5 minutes until it reaches 110 to 115 degrees. The feet should become quite red while in the tub.
At the end of 30 minutes, pour cold water over the feet to close off the pores, to intensify and prolong the action of the hot water.
The only significant contraindication to using the hot footbath is that of insulin-dependent diabetes. Such an individual may have serious hardening of the arteries to the lower extremities and should not be treated with a hot foot bath, except under medical supervision.
Of course, those who are unconscious or cannot feel heat should not be given hot footbaths. The hot footbath may be used for pain in many body parts, such as headache, or pain in the chest, abdomen, pelvis, or skeletal system. The hot footbath can be used for infections. A sore throat can be nipped in the bud if treated early. Bronchitis or cough can similarly be averted by the use of the hot footbath.
Pregnant women, who should not be treated with drugs except in life-threatening situations, will often get relief from ordinary infections in the pelvic area with a simple hot foot bath because it greatly increases the circulation to and from the structures of the pelvis, refreshing and healing the tissues.
Simply avoiding cold feet will go far toward protecting a woman from pelvic infections or infections of the head and upper respiratory tract. By all means treat sprained ankles with an alternating hot and cold foot bath.
Formerly, we used only cold to an acute sprain for the first 24 hours. This still remains a very good treatment for a sprain, and will often help to reduce the swelling, to take away tenderness and pain, and promote healing. We believe, however, that the alternating hot and cold footbath is superior.
Use 3 minutes in the hot tub as described above, and 30 seconds in ice cold water with ice cubes floating on the top. The cycle should be repeated until the pain and swelling subsides, which may take 1 to 2 hours or more. The alternating hot and cold promote healing, stops hemorrhage, reduces swelling, and relieves pain. The hot footbath can increase the body temperature by 1 to 2 degrees, and profuse sweating may result - a very desirable reaction, as it removes toxins and wastes.
Remember to drink plenty of water so that the organs of excretion will have a generous quantity for elimination of wastes. As the temperature goes up, the control mechanism of temperature in the brain changes gear, and the person who starts out with a fever ends up with a normal temperature. It rarely fails.
During and for several hours after the treatment, the white blood cells (the large cells that eat germs) become more active and more capable of getting rid of germs and toxic matter.
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