On Your Feet therapeutic soak (see the next section), then follow up with a massage using one of the oil formulas provided later in this chapter. It is especially satisfying to have somebody else massage your hands or feet for you, but it is also something you can do on your own. A warm soak and massage improves the circulation to hands and feet, bringing fresh blood to the tissues and helping to remove metabolic byproducts that can lead to cramping, swelling and pain. Because massage benefits the hands and feet both internally and externally, I highly recommend incorporating it into your natural body care routine your hands and feet will thank you for it.
I like to massage my feet with Energizing Foot Oil ( Ill) as part of my wake-up exercise ritual. During the winter months the Hot Lava Foot Oil ( 113) is especially pleasing. And before bed, a foot massage exchange with a friend or partner can prove to be the best nightcap. Try using the Lavender Chamomile Foot
Oil ( 113) for additional tranquilizing effects.
Hand soaks offer a pleasant and relaxing way to rejuvenate tired, swollen or painful hands.
They are also good for loosening and cleansing away dirt from under the fingernails and for treating split cuticles and cuts, abrasions or bruises. To prevent the skin from drying out, especially when doing the vinegar or salt soaks that follow, you can apply an emollient prior to soaking, or add a teaspoon of rich oil like jojoba or olive to the water.
Basic Hand Soak Technique. Choose a bowl that both of your hands fit into comfortably and fill it with water or herbal infusion, as hot as you can comfortably tolerate. Keep your hands in the water for at least 10 minutes. For a more therapeutic soak, try one of the following formulas.