Our bodies are exposed to toxins on a regular basis through our environment — from sources such as the water we drink, processed foods, commercial meat consumption, and heavy metal exposure. (1) Many of our organs, including the skin, function to naturally remove toxins from our bodies. Unfortunately, we often have a heavy accumulation of toxins at a cellular level which may require help in removal from our bodies. Most licensed Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) prescribe a variety of detox therapies for their patients as part of their comprehensive treatment plan. (2) These detox treatments used by NDs can range from dietary treatments to skin and foot soaks. (3) Similar to my foot soak recipe, my DIY Detox Foot Soak can soothe tired, aching feet and may also draw out impurities through the skin.
To make this DIY Detox Foot Soak, you will need to gather a foot soaking tub or inexpensive dish basin, Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt, bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar (ACV) and your favorite essential oils.
DIY Detox Foot Soak
2 gallons warm water
1 cup Epsom salt
1 cup Dead Sea salt
½ cup bentonite clay
½ cup apple cider vinegar
* My favorite essential oils for this recipe are wintergreen blends and peppermint to soothe aches, or lavender, which has been shown to normalize liver and kidney function after exposure to particular pesticides. (4)
- Carefully pour warm water into a basin large enough to comfortably accommodate your feet. Be sure to not use metal bowls as this may reduce the effectiveness of bentonite clay.
- Add Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt, bentonite clay, ACV and your favorite essential oils.
- Soak your feet for 20–30 minutes.
Detox Foot Soak Key Ingredients: Epsom Salt and Apple Cider Vinegar
Epsom salt is considered the MVP of body soaking salts because of its detoxifying and pain-relieving qualities. The magnesium contained within the salt is known to decrease inflammation and pain, and the combination of magnesium with sulfur and oxygen is believed to stimulate the detox pathway in the body. (5) In addition to assisting in detoxification, soaking in Epsom salt helps to naturally boost serum magnesium levels through transdermal absorption, which supports neuromuscular health.
Known for its many health benefits, studies show that apple cider vinegar (ACV) demonstrates antimicrobial and antifungal properties. (6) For this reason, ACV is a great addition to a foot soak or foot bath detox recipe. ACV helps regulate the pH of the skin when used topically or in baths and has been said to help with foot odor and foot fungus. Try adding ACV to your next foot or bath soak!
How Do You Detox Your Body Through Your Feet?
Although there are no current published medical studies or literature to back up the claim that your body can be detoxed through your feet, Eastern medicine has prescribed the practice for centuries. Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) practitioners believe that the meridians that run through the feet affect every organ and part of the body, and foot baths are a regular part of good health practice. (7)
Wondering how to detox through your feet at home? Alternative-healthcare practitioners encourage several ways to detox through your feet at home. The most common would be by soaking feet in a tub of warm water, with a blend of salts, herbs, and essential oils — such as my DIY Detox Foot Soak recipe. Other ways to detox feet at home include using detox foot pads, foot masks, foot scrubs and even foot massages. As I mentioned, Traditional Chinese medicine adheres to the belief that all organs and body systems are connected to meridians that run through the feet, and by using acupressure or massage to these meridians, organs and body systems are put back into balance.
Does a Foot Detox Work?
Although foot detox baths have been used for thousands of years throughout Asia, there is some controversy today as to whether or not foot detoxes actually work. In fact, a study was performed in 2012 to look at hair and urine samples, as well as to test the water before and after foot detox baths were completed. This study was not able to find evidence that foot detox baths eliminate toxins from the body. (8) There are other studies, however, that have found that ionic detox foot baths remove heavy metals from the body, which cause a plethora a health concerns. (9)
Despite a lack of studies on foot detoxing, I doubt that anyone will argue the simple relaxing and stress-relieving benefits of a foot soak!
DIY Detox Foot Soak
- 2 gallons warm water
- 1 cup Epsom salts
- 1 cup Dead Sea salt
- ½ cup bentonite clay
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- Essential oils (My favorites for this recipe are wintergreen and lavender.)
- Carefully pour warm water to a basin large enough to comfortably accommodate your feet. Be sure to not use metal bowls, as this may reduce the effectiveness of bentonite clay.
- Add Epsom salts, Dead Sea salt, bentonite clay, ACV and your favorite essential oils to the water.
- Soak your feet for 20–30 minutes
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