BASIC FOOT CAREThe best measure you can take is to wear comfortable shoes that fit properly, with extra room in the toe area. Equally important is to wash your feet daily with soap. Rinse off the soap with lukewarm water and dry your feet thoroughly, including between the toes. Always keep your nails short but don’t cut into skin on the sides of your nails. Don’t apply harsh techniques to remove corns and calluses such as trimming or shaving because they can damage your feet. Change your socks every day and when you exercise. Whenever possible, air your feet by walking barefoot outside, or in the house. These simple rules not only increase your comfort level but can prevent infections, calluses and many other ailments of the foot.
Herbal Foot Bath
For tired feet and hard skin, a foot soak can do wonders. Warm water stimulates your feet and your whole body, and softens your skin. The aromas of herbs and baths salts provide relaxation through the sense of smell.
- Boil 1 quart of water. Make a small pouch of any of the following herbs: lavender, sage, rosemary. Place the pouch in a large wash bowl or bucket and pour the boiling water over it. Let it sit for twenty minutes.
- Add cold water, if necessary, to reach a comfortable temperature between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Soak your feet in the water for about twenty minutes. Gently rub the herbs on your feet but do not scrub.
- Dry feet thoroughly with a clean towel.Bathing salts also soften your skin.
By rubbing your feet, you ‘massage’ your whole body. “Massaging your feet helps detoxification, balances emotions, and improves blood and lymph circulation,”
- First wash your feet thoroughly with mild soap and warm water. Wipe your feet dry and sit in a comfortable position so you can easily reach your feet.
- Apply oil to one of your feet for lubrication.
- Start by gently rubbing the base of your little (fifth) toe.
- Continue at the base of the next (fourth) toe.
- Next, apply slight pressure between the fifth and fourth toes.
- Then, rub between the third and fourth toes.
- Next, massage, stretch and pull the big toe gently and rub each side of the nails.
- Then massage the ball of your foot in a circular motion. Apply gentle pressure on both sides of your heels below the ankle joints, followed by circling around your ankle joint with both hands in a clockwise motion. This improves circulation and the energy level of the body.
- Finally massage your calf muscle to release tension. Repeat the same steps on your other foot.
Treatment for Corns
Corns, like calluses, develop from an accumulation of dead skin cells, forming thick and hard areas on the tops, sides and tips of the toes. Constant pressure and friction from footwear can press these areas and cause pain. Instead of chemical corn-removing solutions, which can increase irritation, try the following simple remedy.
- Roast one garlic clove (dry or in a little ghee) until golden but not burnt.
- While still warm, apply garlic clove on the corn and place a band-aid over it. Use one clove of garlic for each corn. Leave it on for a day.
- Apply daily until corn falls off.
- Massage feet with Rejuvenation Massage oil to soften skin and prevent the recurrence of corns.
Preventing Foot Odor
Smelly feet can result from perspiration, dead skin cells and bacteria. Synthetic shoes and socks increase the problem by not letting your feet breathe. The following recipe naturally deodorizes your feet.
- Perform the herbal foot bath according to the instructions above but add one half to one teaspoon of salt to the water.
- Mix 1 part corn starch, three parts M•SPA Herbalized Clay, and three to four drops of peppermint essential oil.
- Make a paste by adding cold water to a small amount of the above mix. Apply paste on your feet for 20-30 minutes.
- Wash paste off with lukewarm water and dry thoroughly.
- Try to walk bare foot at home sometimes. This helps in strengthening your feet muscles. But remember to keep your home clean before doing this. Walk bare foot for some time and then get your slippers on.
- Always wear comfortable and stretchable foot wear which give enough room to your feet to stretch in the shoes. Choose shoes with broad curve and toe compartment. This will permit the feet not to feel bony. Hence, the right shoes are also important for foot care.
- Now, in terms of location, select place where you can put up your feet and relax. Always give a warm and soothing massage at a peaceful place close to nature. In this respect, beach is the best place to get your feet pedicure and allows you to relax in the surroundings.. Because the beach is such vast pumice sandstone, the sand's gently rough texture helps exfoliate the deceased skin in your feet. Stroll around barefoot and get rid of those dead layers of hard-bitten skin and soften your callus. Pineapple is great calluses which can help your feet to become soften as it contains enzymes.
Home Remedy For Toe Nail Fungus
- Tea tree oil is effective in treating toe nail fungus. Dip a cotton ball in the oil and rub the toe nail two times a day - once in the morning and the second time while going to bed at night.
- Listerine mouthwash is helpful in treating toe nail fungus. Soak your toes in the mouthwash for about 20 minutes. Its medicinal properties would help control the fungal growth.
- Fill a bucket with equal proportion of water and natural apple cider vinegar. Soak your feet in the bucket for 15 to 20 minutes. Thereafter, dry your toenails thoroughly.
- Mix equal amounts of lavender oil and tea tree oil. Soak a cotton ball in this mixture and dab the toe nail with it, 2 to 3 times in a day. This would be effective in treating toe nail fungus.
- In a tsp of olive oil, add 2 drops of oregano essential oil. Apply this mixture on the affected area. It would help provide relief from toe nail fungus.
- Fill a bucket with equal proportion of water and vinegar. Soak your feet in this combination for 20 minutes. Now, dry the toes with a towel and wipe them with a super absorbent paper. Repeat the process two times a day.
- Another helpful home remedy for toe nail fungus would be to soak the feet in rubbing alcohol, for about 20 minutes.
- Soak your feet in a tub filled with equal proportions of water and Hydrogen Peroxide (3%), for about 15 minutes. After this, dry the feet completely.
- Include lots of probiotics food, such as yogurt and kefir, in your diet. This would help your body get rid of the fungus.
- Make a paste with turmeric powder and water. Apply this paste on your toe nail. Rinse it off when it dries and then properly dry your feet.
- Peel an onion and cut it into slices. Rub the affected toenail with the onion slices for sometime. This is an effective way to treat the fungal infection.
- Another effective home remedy would be to soak a cotton ball in concentrated lime juice. Rub the cotton on the affected toenail.
- It is advisable to wash the feet properly after visiting public places, like swimming pools, spas, showers and locker rooms.
- Avoid sharing towels, washcloths, shoes or any other personal items of people who have already contracted this disease.
Home foot care tips
Cleansing tips –• A concoction of honey, liquid soap and almond oil in a 1:1:2 ratio, to which a tea spoon of vanilla extract has been added, works well for the feet. This mixture when poured into a small basin of warm water and used to soak feet in, will make them relaxed and cleansed.
• For smelly feet, an alternate day soak in warm water mixed with lavender oil and a pinch of salt, works wonders. It is a nerve relaxant as well.
• A few drops of vinegar, mixed with 50 grams of curd, when rubbed thoroughly on heels, between toes and all over the feet, then left to stay for 10 minutes; will cleanse the feet well, removing all dead cells, when washed off.
Scrubbing tips –
• Dead skin can be removed on a daily basis with a pumice stone.
• For hardened heels, grind some almonds/strawberries; mix them with olive oil/almond oil and a teaspoon of sea salt. Use this mixture as a scrub for your feet. Rigorous movements will enhance blood circulation too. Wash with warm water and apply moisturising oil.
• Apply a mixture of glycerine, fresh cream and honey, all in equal amounts onto your feet. Let it stay for 15 minutes and then wash off with warm water. Follow this for three days and find your feet soft and smooth.
Softening/Moisturising tips –
• A mixture of glycerine and rose water applied every night before bedtime helps keep feet soft and glowing, especially the heels.
• Almond oil massaged onto feet before bedtime keeps cracks and dry skin at bay, especially during winters.
• Application of Aloe Vera gel on your feet daily will keep them well moisturised and free of diseases like athlete’s foot.
Some Must Dos for healthy feet –
• Wear the right shoes, a little tight or a little loose do not work well.
• Do away with stingy buckles, straps that rub too much and too high heeled pairs.
• Comfort is primary for long hours in one pair only, so choose wisely. Reserve the fancy pairs for evening outs only.
• Let your feet breathe for a while. Wash and clean them well and then wear some airy foot wear atleast for an hour everyday.
• Walks, yoga or some light exercise increases blood circulation in the feet and legs.
• Follow all foot care regimes at night. This not only relaxes you at the end of the day but also gives ample time to your feet to absorb the applications well.
• Wear socks of good material and change them daily.
The basic pedicure –
To begin with remove old nail paint. Then clip your nails, straight across. File to smoothen them. Now soak your feet in warm water for 15minutes. Add coconut oil and lemon juice to this water before dipping the feet or any of the herbal cleansing combinations mentioned above. Then slowly scrub your feet with a pumice stone. Take out the feet and dry them well. Separate toes using cotton swabs. Apply a cuticle softener and then, push back the cuticles with a cuticle removing stick. Moisturise your feet well with the herbal options available. Apply a coat of clear nail paint or nail protecting serum and let it dry well. Application of coloured nail paint is a personal choice to give a final touch with.
Varicose veins are those ugly blue, twisted and swollen tracks under the skin (normally in the legs) which affect 1 out of every 5 adults. Twenty-five percent of women and 1 in 10 men suffer from varicose veins during their lifetime.
For women, pregnancy is a contributing factor, and for both men and women, age makes us more susceptible to varicose veins.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are caused by improper valve function in the legs. When the tiny valves in the veins (whose function it is to transport blood) are not working properly, the blood begins to back up in the veins instead of returning to the heart in a normal manner. The 'damming effect' occurs within the leg vein. This pooling of blood effect, causes the veins to enlarge. Once the valves falter, the veins also become weak, and eventually start to leak. Edema or swollen legs, swollen feet, and even ankles due to poor circulation and fluid retention is often the result.
Types of Varicose VeinsPrimary Varicose Veins
Primary varicose veins occur in the long and short saphenous veins and their branches and are the most common, found in the leg, ankle, foot, face, and even men's testicles.
Secondary Varicose Veins
When deeper veins have been damaged, the secondary varicose veins work as a bypass for transporting blood.
Thread or Spider Veins
Thread or spider veins mostly occur in women's thighs, but can occur in men also especially in the face.
Vulval varices appear in women, do to problems with pregnancy or infection.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
(1) Useful Herbs for Varicose Veins Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
The indigenous Indian herb, brahmi, is perhaps the best Ayurvedic treatment for varicose veins. It provides the necessary nutrients required for the proper toning of the veins and makes them less tortuous. Brahmi is taken in conjunction with some mineral supplement like Jasad bhasma.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Among its many advantageous properties, garlic also has effects in the treatment of varicose veins. Garlic can break down the protein content in the body and distribute it evenly. This increases the protein supply to the lower limb region. Hence, the condition of varicose veins is avoided.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Like garlic, ginger too breaks down and distributes the protein in the body.
Onion (Allium cepa)
Onion helps in the proper assimilation and distribution of protein in the human body. It gives inner strength. Chomping on one onion everyday can help to solve the problem of varicose veins permanently.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Varicose VeinsIf the diet of the person is deficient in certain nutrients, then it may cause the skin to lose its elasticity. This would lead to the condition of varicose veins. For this reason, people must take good dietary care so as to provide the body with the essential nutrients. The following are some points to remember:-
(3) Ayurvedic Treatments for Varicose VeinsAyurveda prescribes the Brahmi as the drug of choice for the treatment of varicose veins. Brahmi is used for four continuous weeks to get permanent benefits. It is taken in doses of 10 to 20 milliliters twice a day. Along with brahmi, the Jasad bhasma is also prescribed. This bhasma has three benefits – (i) it is a rich source of the mineral zinc, (ii) it helps in healing and blood clotting through the formation of collagen and (ii) it helps in the concentration of vitamin E in the blood. Other popularly prescribed medicines are Chandraprabha vati, Nagarjunabhra rasa and Punarnavadi guggulu, among others.
There are some Ayurvedic oils available for local application to seek temporary relief. These are Prasarini taila and Chandanabala taila. But care must be taken never to massage any oil directly on the varicose veins, as it would increase pressure on them.
Yogic exercises can treat varicose veins without any medication. The best exercises for this condition are Halasana, Pawanmuktasana and the Sarvangasana. Simple exercises like walking, swimming, cycling and stretching the legs while sitting on a chair also help.
(4) Home Remedies for Varicose Veins Have a mixture of carrot and spinach juice daily. This will solve the vitamin deficiencies in the leg.
Apply a mudpack on the leg in the night and wash it off in the morning.
Wearing stockings at night helps, but do not wear tight jeans in the daytime.
Have an alternating hot and cold hipbath daily.
Apply an oil containing vitamin E as its major component onto the legs. But take care not to rub it too deeply into the legs.
Have a wholesome diet rich in proteins and vitamin C.