This technique enhances the mental silence experience, relieves the body of stress and allows for a peaceful and relaxed night’s rest.
Sometimes the simple things can be the best. In many traditional societies the practice of footsoaking is common. After a long day, or when feeling particularly exhausted, it is not uncommon for people to put their feet in a basin of water with some salt (dissolved) to help deal with stress and tiredness. In fact, many midwives recommend this to women in the late stages of their pregnancy when the mother-to-be seems most prone to becoming hot and bothered.
Our experience in the research programmes was that footsoaking was a highly effective adjunctive strategy to enhance the meditative experience, especially mental silence. So we universally recommend the strategy to everyone who is looking to enhance their experience. This is helpful at any time of the day, but can be especially beneficial after a busy day’s work, especially just before bedtime.
Shops sell plastic buckets/basins for a few dollars and this would be a great investment for your meditation practice. Use the bucket or basin only for footsoaking, not for any other purpose.
Experiment with the water temperature. If you’ve been very busy or it’s a hot day, you might prefer to use cool water straight from the cold tap. Or, if you prefer, use lukewarm water, especially if you live in a very cold climate where the water is likely to be extremely chilly. Sometimes having a full salt bath followed by a short shower might be just the right thing.
Follow this procedure for effective footsoaking
- Put a handful of salt into your basin/bucket of cool or lukewarm water (the water should reach your ankles).
- Sit comfortably in a chair with your hands on your lap.
- Place your feet in the basin/bucket.
- Meditate for 10 to 15 minutes using any of the strategies mentioned above.
- You can say some affirmations if you wish.
- When finished, rinse feet with a fresh glass of water, then dry feet.
- Flush the water down the toilet and rinse the bucket.
If you are outdoors enjoying nature, it can be very beneficial to take the opportunity to footsoak in a river, lake or the sea. Similarly, pouring water over your bare feet while standing on the earth, or putting bare feet on dew-covered grass, can help to clear your subtle system. See what works best for you.