Treating Chronic Pain with Tibetan Foot Soaks

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ladys feet in Tibetan soak

Interested in hearing one of the best kept secrets to naturally treating chronic pain? Well, we’re breaking the silence and sharing our most recommended practice and it involves soaking your pain away. 

Tibetan Foot Soaks are specially packed tea bags containing a herbal mixture of Chinese herbs and minerals that have shown to be particularly effective at alleviating chronic pain and improving circulation.  Commonly used by practitioners of Chinese medicine, these natural soaks have becoming increasing popular in western medicine as well due to their effectiveness.

The Benefits of Tibetan Foot Soaks

The Tibetan herbal foot soak is designed to get rid of blood stasis, wind, cold, and phlegm from the channels. (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Modern day living along with a culture that influences us to eat more than we need, particularly foods that we really shouldn’t, creates phlegm

Unlike our ancestors, many people live relatively sedimentary lifestyles, which creates less blood flow throughout the body, but add phlegm on top of that, and now you’ve got chronic blood stasis. 

Additionally, this lack of movement and chronic stress (without a proper outlet) leads to increased muscle stiffness as we age, especially in our feet. 

As the fascia (an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes), in our feet become less manageable, the normal shock absorbing actions of our feet become stunted and the impact from our normal day-to-day activities, like walking and going up and down stairs, starts to be absorbed by our joints (ankles, knees, hips and all the way up the spine). 

As this progresses, we can end up in that place of overall body stiffness and lack of mobility that we often see in our elderly population.

 

What conditions may this help?

Tibetan Foot Soaks Also Help With:

  • Chronic health conditions
  • Most autoimmune conditions
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Improving fertility 
  • Digestive problems
  • Sciatica and lower back pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain and frozen shoulder
  • Knee and hip pain
  • Immune regulation
  • Increasing circulation
  • Reducing blood clots
  • Increasing blood oxygen
  • Mood enhancement
  • Regulating digestion

    How Do Tibetan Soaks Work?

    The sheer act of placing your feet in the warm/hot soak water warms your feet, aids in relaxing the fascia, and dilates the vasculature in your feet and lower legs (very important).

    The terpenes, found in the herbs, can then carry the precious volatile oils from the herbs in through the skin and into the vascular system (plant terpenes are also being used in making topicals in modern medicines).

    As the feet soak, the effects penetrate deeper and begin improving circulation throughout the entire body which creates prominent effects on multiple body systems.

    Tibetan foot soak’s particular blend was originally used for treating cardiovascular disorders and have decreased coronary blockages in patients.

    Why we need foot soaks

    If you live in a cold region, like Tibet, the act of turning fat into heat is incredibly important and requires very good peripheral circulation. Tibetan foot soaks increase the heart rate as though you’re exercising, which is essential for those of us who are no longer able to run and jump like we used to. 

    Having the ability to do cardiovascular exercise and being able to break a sweat is just as crucial for getting our body’s processes back in the right direction.

    We find that these soaks are exceptional for nerve pain and nephropathies of the feet, eyes, gout and arthritis.Will Sheppy OM, LAc, BS

    The mixture of herbs and minerals in the Tibetan foot soaks addresses pain caused by the immune system imbalance, which tends to cause pain that wanders from limb to limb. It also aids in the relief of pain and inflammation caused by gut dysbiosis. 

    Gut dysbiosis can cause a heavy pain sensation and is associated with brain fog. The condition gears down nerve pain caused by the deregulation of cortisol and nitric oxide, marked by burning or electric sensations. Additionally, it influences prostaglandin regulation for sharp pain and has beneficial effects on menstrual cycles.

    Woman foot soaking with tibetan foot soaks

    Bring tradition and science together

    The first thing to understand is how these herbs are affecting your body at a trans-dermal level by going into the skin.

    In high school biology, we were taught that our skin is an impenetrable shield. If there was any truth to this, then why does poison oak make you itch?

    Why do so many poisons travel through the skin and cause systemic effects on the body? The truth is that plants can affect us systemically via terpenes, alkaloids and volatile oils. 

    Tibetan foot soaks work similar to an herbal poultice, however herbal patches and poultices are dependent on peripheral blood circulation, because if too little blood is getting into the skin they don’t work very well.

    It’s important to not only place herbs against the skin, it’s vital to increase circulation at the same time.

    Using a poultice or oil blend in a sauna can work very well. It introduces the skin to the botanical chemical while increasing blood circulations, which can be absorbed for more sedentary people. 

    They work very well for farmers in China who lead active lives and are almost in a constant state of sweating. In these cases, I’ve seen the poultice work incredibly well for local pain.

    In the United States, for people who may work on a computer or have a sedentary lifestyle, I see very minimal effects. By working with an herbal foot soak, you increase circulation, while at the same time, introduce the botanical chemicals through the skin into the bloodstream. The effects they have on us is quite extraordinary.

    Tibetan Foot Soak Product Photo

    4 Stages to Soak Away Chronic Pain: Tibetan Foot Soak Instructions

    Stage 1

    Initially you put your feet in the water. The water should be at a hot temperature but still safe for you to use. It can be a little tricky to do, but the heat itself will signal the body to dilate blood vessels. It allows all of the tissue in the area to become oxygenated. 

    Think of your body as a snow globe, anything outside the cells will drain downward and it tends to drain down into the legs and feet. You can imagine it building up sediment and rotting there. The sediment causes oxidative damage to the body by way of an inflammatory reaction.

    Vasodilation will also lower blood pressure for those who want a nice foot soak that’s going to have a tranquilizing effect.

    If you need help getting to sleep, then you’ll start with a foot soak and just allow the feet themselves to get warm, but you’re going to stop before the heat travels throughout the whole body. For high blood pressure you want to do a shorter foot soak. 

    Stage 2

    During the next stage, the heat will begin to rise up the legs. The first time you do a foot soak, the heat may only rise halfway up the shin. As your vasculature improves, you’ll gradually be able to feel the heat past the knees and up through the hips to the lower back. 

    At this point we see a lot of healing taking place, within the knees and the lumbar area, also this stage is where you get a lot of pain relief.

    Stage 3

    As the heat continues up toward the chest and heart, you may begin to feel an increase in heart rate. 

    Doing a prolonged foot soak in a way that increases the heart rate is not ideal if people have high blood pressure. However, blood pressure is not a problem, allowing the heat to go up and cause the heart to beat faster can be a very good thing. It can really increase the energy of the body and activate that mitochondria and get that cardiovascular effect.

    Stage 4

    The final stage of the foot soak is when the heat will travel up through the head and cause the person to break a sweat.

    After you break a sweat is a great time to dry off your head dry and feet, then bundle up and go about your day.

    4 step Tibetan foot soak instructions

    How the 4 stages relate to the 4 seasons

    Winter

    Initially it draws Qi down as it opens up the blood circulation of the feet. This stage relates to winter just as a tree will have most of its nutrients in the root area during winter. The tree draws the SAP down into the core, into the roots. This represents winter.

    Spring

    Spring is the rising effect. If you think of shoots going up in spring, the active heat coming up through the legs is spring.

    Summer

    Summer is when the heart begins to really pump. This is similar to the way working outside in the summer heat would cause increased heart contractility.

    Autumn

    Is the final stage when they’re sweating. This is the end of the cycle, as rising has given way to descending again. Generally during the autumn stage is when you’ll break a sweat, you’ll get a feeling as though your lungs are open.

    This may increase your ability to breathe, which is often accompanied with pain relief.

    Tibetan foot soak ingredients

    8 Sacred Herbs & Minerals Used in Tibetan Foot Soaks

    One of the first herbs in this formula is called Du Yi Wei which helps stop hemorrhaging. If you have internal bleeding from an injury or inflammation that’s causing dilation of the blood vessels this may help it. 

    Du Yi Wei is an antioxidant that promotes red blood cell production and alleviates pain. 

    Hong Jing Tain increases oxygen in the blood and improves immune function and helps people fight fatigue. It is incredibly good for chronic long-term fatigue disorder or people who have been in a state of chronic inflammation.

    Zang Hong Hua this lowers cholesterol and reduces clotting. It is cardio-protective and is a powerful antioxidant. 

    Most of the blood clots that cause people to have a heart attack or stroke are found in the legs, so the increase in circulation at the same time using herbs to reduce these clots, it can drastically help to improve longevity. 

    By doing these foot soaks as a regular part of health maintenance it’s possible to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. This is something that’s very commonly used throughout Tibet and China. 

    We have sourced high-quality Qiang Huo, which is very important as this herb is traditionally used for arthritis pain, it is an anti-inflammatory and inhibits fungus. 

    Fungi in the body can have direct effects on pain signaling and this helps to alleviate it. The herb also does wonders to help regulate the timing of the heart. 

    We use this herb extensively with our cardiology patients and just using this foot soak it’s been able to help restore their normal heart rhythm. This herb works very well in conjunction with another Tibetan herb called Hong Jing Tain or Tibetan Rhodiola.

    Zang Chang Pul has a mild tranquilizing effect to relax people. It is antibacterial and has regulatory effects on the digestive system, which is so crucial for diseases involving the gut brain axis. 

    Some people can’t take herbs or supplements, but by using Zang Chang Pu trans-dermally, it’s still able to affect their digestion in a very positive way without asking their stomach to digest anything new.

    Ku Shen in addition is antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic. Ku Shen inhibits bacterial bio-films. This cannot be understated; bio-films are associated with most chronic diseases in the body. 

    These bacterial properties have gene expression which cause up to 20% of themselves to become mucus. They cover themselves in mucus to avoid the burn of the inflammation as your body goes into fever mode. By covering themselves, it allows them to go through the body and spread. Once the inflammation in your body goes down, they begin eating other tissues.  

    Bacterial bio-films are associated with Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, and other chronic diseases, particularly obesity. 

    Sheng Jiang is another wonderful herb in this formula as it is a liver protective. Sheng Jiang protects the gastric mucosa of the stomach lining. It is also anti-inflammatory, a painkiller, prevents clotting and is anti-bacterial.  

    AiYe has very strong volatile oils which transfer trans-dermally. It’s an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and inhibits blood clotting. AiYe also increases the secretion of bile in the gallbladder which can help you burn fat.

    Tibetan foot soak products

    Don't Use Tibetan Foot Soaks If:

    Caution using foot soaks with varicose veins:

    Foot soaks can be very helpful for those with varicose veins, but be careful with the dose. Start with only 1 teabag and have the soak done for shorter period of time at first (20 minutes); as the health and vasculature improve, the dose and soak time can be increased.

    Foot soaks should NOT be used for:

    • Pregnancy
    • Metastatic cancer
    • Active infection
    • Diseases that are made worse by increasing circulation
    • Recent surgery (wait at least 2 weeks)

    Our Conclusion

    Ultimately the only thing that is going to fix chronic pain is movement. As the heart contracts and blood circulation is increased, there’s the feeling that your lungs are open and it becomes much easier to get around and walk, start some yoga, or tai chi.

    Tibetan foot soaks create a window of opportunity to help heal and restore the body and help people to go through longer periods of movement without pain or fatigue.

    Where to buy Tibetan foot soaks

    Valley Health Clinic makes available high quality Tibetan Foot Soaks sourced ethically from Botanical Biohacking of Oregon. 

    We also recommend a quality Foot Spa Massager to pair with like the one from ArtNaturals.

    sustainable sources products

    Purchases give back to the community

    This entire project is being done by incredibly wonderful people who are working cooperatively with local Tibetan doctors and wild crafting herb gatherers. 

    We are working hand in hand with local government in a way that helps to preserve these herb growing regions. With respect for the cultural and spiritual traditions of the regions all of our foot soaks have been blessed by a Buddhist priest.

    You’re helping the ecology of some very precious areas of the world. It’s important to know that you’re actually protecting the ecology of the region. You’re helping to preserve the culture and traditions in that region. Today, so much use and consumption come at the expense of people in other areas and at the expense of the ecology of that region.

    The wild-crafting is done responsibly. When we come across a bunch of Du Yi Wei, we may only take 20% of it and leave the rest to make sure that it’s growing and thriving for the next year.

    We are working with local Tibetan charities. Partial proceeds from this go back into the community. It is something that’s making a truly positive change in the area and the people who are in charge of these charities are friends of ours.

    Thank you for making this decision because not only is this medical therapy the most effective, it is something you can do yourself at home.