Soaking the feet at night in a hot water bath is a respected method of health care among the Chinese. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recommends daily foot baths that promote blood circulation and thus minimizing chances of a cold progressing beyond its initial stage. Foot bath therapy achieve a series of health care efficacies through the heating action, mechanical action and chemical action of water as well as healing effect of medical steam and medicine fumigation.
According to TCM, foot is the second heart of human body, a barometer that reflects the state of body health. Six meridians (liver, gall bladder, kidney, spleen and stomach) reach the feet. Soaking in hot water and sometimes taking herbal soaks warms the entire body, increasing blood flow upwards and relieving stress. This practice blocks what Chinese medicine calls “Wind-Cold” from penetrating more deeply into the body when exposure to Winter cold and wind has set off the cold “alarm” in your body with feelings of chills, headache, or mild fever. In herbal foot baths, the skin absorbs elements through the skin and these travel through energy channels to target points.
Ideally, the feet should be soaked once a day in a relatively deep basin, more than 15 centimeters deep so the calves can be soaked as well. Start with hot water, about 40 degree Celsius, but do not fill up the basin. As it cools, keep adding hot water to keep up the temperature. Soaking until there's a sweat can relieve symptoms of colds, flu and menstrual cramps.
Remove your feet when you start sweating a little, in 15-30 minutes. Sweating indicates the energy channels are not stagnating. Too much sweating is not good as it consumes too much energy. Healthy people usually start to sweat in around 20 minutes; it may take longer for those with energy-flow problems.
This practice is also a good way to prevent stroke.