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The Hot Foot Bath


The hot foot bath consists of placing the feet in hot water deep enough to completely cover the ankles. It may be used alone or combined with another treatment such as fomentations or the heating compress. This treatment can be used for a variety of ailments, from headaches to stomach aches.

The hot foot bath affects the circulation of the entire body. Heat expands or dilates the blood vessels of the feet, which moves the blood from other body parts to the feet. The increased blood flow to the feet relieves congestion of the blood in the brain, lungs, and abdominal organs.

Treatment Indications

• Prevent or shorten colds, chest congestion, flu or coughs

• Headaches

• Pelvic cramps or prostate disorders

• Stop nosebleeds

• Diminish pain anywhere in the body from toothache to backache

• Relieve fatigue and nervous tension

• Warm the body in preparation for massage or some other treatment

Treatment Precautions

• Use only mild heat in diabetics and others with loss of feeling (numbness) or decreased blood flow to the legs and feet.

• When adding hot water, keep your hand between the hot water and the patient's feet to avoid burning them.

Equipment Needed

• Foot tub-a large bucket or deep dishpan

• Basin of cold water--use ice if available--for the cold compress to the head

• Tea kettle or pitcher of hot water

• Pitcher of cold water

• Washcloths (for the cold compress to the head)-2

• Large towels--1 or 2

• Blanket and a sheet

• Large piece of plastic to put under the foot tub (to keep bed or floor dry)

• Glass of water and a drinking straw

Treatment Procedure

1. Preparation for treatment

• This treatment may be given with the patient sitting on a chair or lying on a flat surface.

• Have the room warm, free of cold drafts, and all equipment assembled.

• Explain the procedure to the patient, and assist the patient in preparation for treatment.

• This treatment will be described with the patient sitting on a chair.

• Place a blanket over the chair, and cover the blanket with a sheet. Put a piece of plastic under the feet, and cover the plastic with a dry towel.

• Prepare the foot bath with enough warm water to cover the ankles.

2. Treatment

• Begin each treatment with the most important element-prayer.

• Test the water with your elbow to determine the comfort level. Put your hands under the patient's feet and carefully immerse them in the warm water bath.

• Completely wrap the patient and the foot tub in the sheet and blanket. Leave the head and neck exposed.

• When sweating occurs, put cold compresses on the head and neck.

• Drink water freely throughout the treatment to replace the water lost in sweating.

• Periodically add hot water to the foot bath to maintain heat. Place your hand between the hot water being poured and the patient's feet (to avoid burning the feet).

3. Completion of treatment

• Lift the feet out of the hot water and point the toes upward. Quickly pour cold water over the feet.

• Remove the tub and place the feet on the dry towel. Thoroughly dry the feet and toes. Put on warm socks or slippers to avoid chilling.

• If sweating occurs, briskly rub the skin with a cold washcloth, and then dry the skin with a towel.

• Remove damp garments and replace them with clean, dry clothing.

• The patient must rest for approximately one hour after each treatment.

• If further sweating occurs during rest, take a lukewarm bath or shower to finish the treatment.