Here in northern California, our drought has ended, and we are grateful! The constant rain, however, has left us feeling that kind of chill that is hard to shake. Ancient Chinese medicine tells us that cold and dampness can easily enter the body in this environment, after a day walking around in the rain, with wet hair and cold shoes. So, we have been reaching into our Bulk Remedy jars of dried ginger to warm ourselves from the feet up. This remedy came to us from our founder’s childhood in Hong Kong. On chilly nights or at the onset of a cold, Jess’ father would prepare a special ginger foot bath for healing.
The strong heat in ginger acts to balance and soothe the body in the darker months governed by the slow, cool yin energy. Grown in the rich soils of Hawaii, this potent tropical root is the perfect remedy for removing cold and dampness, aiding the flow of blood, and promoting a warm and restful sleep deep into the long winter night.
Like all self-care rituals, this is best done in a comfortable and relaxed environment. Here is our recommendation…
Prepare the foot bath. Set aside a full 45-60 minutes for yourself, preferably when you will be undisturbed. Heat a large pot of water over the stove or run a shallow bath at the hottest temperature setting. While the water is heating or the tub is filling, gather what you need to create a warm and relaxing atmosphere, and be sure to place a glass of water, soft towels and socks or slippers nearby for after the foot soak. When the water is hot, toss the satchel of ginger into the water and let it steep for 10 minutes.
If using a foot tub, pour the potent ginger brew into the tub and add colder water for an optimal temperature, the tub should be filled to cover the ankles. Soak your feet and ankles in the hot water for at least 20 minutes. You might feel your body heating up significantly, and some sweating is normal. As you soak, activate your senses. Luxuriate in the feel of the warm water and observe the heat spreading through your legs and into your body. Breathe in the spicy steam rising from the water and listen to the subtle sounds or gentle music around you.
TIP: If you do not have a foot tub or large enough vessel, the foot soak can be done in a bathtub while showering. Just leave the bath stopper in, and allow the tub to fill and the ginger to steep before jumping in the shower.
Have an early night. Dry your feet, and continue to keep them warm with socks or slippers. Drink a glass of water and keep activities to a minimum. Try to go to bed early to take advantage of your enhanced restful state.
Repeat the ritual. The next morning, notice how you slept the night before, and how you feel. Herbal remedies are often subtle at first, and their effects cumulative. Try the foot bath a few nights in a row and see how it feels (it should feel like a treat at the very least!). In time, you will begin to sense when your body is not in balance, when you are chilled or have excess heat, when your digestion is sluggish, or sleep is uneasy. This is when to turn to these simple, soothing and effective practices.
Most of all, Enjoy Yourself! Happy bathing!