Footbath: Meaning, Origin, Examples, Uses

A foot bath is called a foot bath or soak that is generally done for therapeutic or medicinal purposes. This can be in natural, mineralized, ionized, flavored water or with different colors, to name a few cases.

There are different benefits that a foot bath can have, from deep cleaning of the feet to improving the health of different organs and systems of the body, or simply as a relaxing and soothing therapy for tired feet.

There are many types of foot baths depending on the components that are added to the water, as well as the ailment that is to be alleviated or the function that is to be fulfilled in the recipient. There are ionized, emollient, cleaning, fortifying, relaxing footbaths, for bleeding the feet or derivatives, among others.

Meaning and origin

In simple terms, the act of washing the feet using plain water or any other accessory that adds a medicinal or therapeutic value to the action is called footbath.


The word is a noun that comes from the Latin word pediluvium , made up of pedís , whose meaning is human foot or any animal species; lŭere , which can be translated as wash; and ium , which is the Latin suffix that determines an action or effect.

Pediluvium is then translated as the action and effect of washing the feet. That’s where the modern Castilian version comes from: footbath, which means more or less the same.

Another related Latin word is pedilavium, widely used during the Middle Ages. This also designates the action and effect of washing the feet, but within a ritualistic context.

The aforementioned was a common practice among Christian monks to wash the feet of their fellow men as a demonstration of humility, in commemoration of the foot-washing ceremony carried out by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper.

Medicinal or therapeutic footbath

The footbath is a service that has become popular in recent decades in aesthetic centers, or as a routine for practitioners of alternative medicine. It counts as hydrotherapy, that is, treatment of ailments using water at different temperatures.

The footbath consists of immersing the feet in water, usually hot and with added salts or components. It is recommended to start with water tempered at 30 or 35 degrees Celsius and gradually increase the heat. When done with very hot water, the immersion takes place for no more than 10 minutes.

The ionic footbath

One of the most popular treatments is the ion footbath. Ions are electrically charged atoms with excess or deficiency of negative charges called electrons.

In the ionic footbath, the feet are immersed in tempered water with dissolved salts and a small charge of electric current is circulated, which allows the exchange of ions between the salinized water and the human body through a chemical process known as osmosis. This causes toxins and electrical charges to be released from the human body.

Why on the feet?

It is performed through the feet because in this part of the body there are a large number of nerve endings and blood supply. Also because they contain energy points called chakras in oriental culture.


Its benefits are many at an organic and emotional level. Its main function is to detoxify the body, helping to release heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic.

It has an antioxidant effect that helps delay cellular aging. It also enhances energy production and helps self-regulation of the lymphatic, nervous and circulatory system.

All of this translates into the relief of muscle and other pain, as well as an improvement in the appearance of the skin and some increase in happiness and general well-being.

Usage examples

– In the aesthetic clinic of my father they offer foot bath service.

– Luis takes foot baths at home every day.

– Performed frequently, footbaths have helped me relieve pain in my feet.

– To treat acne they recommended foot baths.

– On Tuesday, Maria and I went to do a foot bath.


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