Poor feet! They take a daily beating and rarely get the attention they deserve. Here are some natural ways to give your feet some tender lovin’…

Soothing soaks for aching feet: Have you been on your feet all day? To dissolve foot pain, add one cup of apple cider vinegar or one-quarter cup lemon juice or one-half cup Epsom salt to a basin filled halfway with lukewarm water. Then soak your feet for at least 15 minutes. The aches and pains of hard work or holiday shopping should melt away.

Sweet scrub for rough skin: Strawberries, with a little help from oil and salt, work wonders to slough off dead skin cells, so you can say good-bye to dry, flaky heels and soles. In a blender, combine one cup of sliced strawberries, two tablespoons of olive oil and two teaspoons of coarse (kosher) salt. Pulse the mix until it has a pulpy consistency. Then gently massage it into your feet, especially on the heels where skin is usually the driest. Let it stay on for about two minutes, then rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly.

Easy foot “reflex” massage to ease the pain…

  • Sitting, place your left ankle on your right knee. Grasp the left foot with your right hand and slowly rotate the foot at the ankle three times in each direction. Then use your fingers to gently rotate toes, one at a time, three times in each direction. Repeat on your other foot.
  • Sitting, place your left ankle on your right knee and cradle the left foot in both hands. With thumbs, make five small slow circles—first on the instep…then the ball of the foot…heel…and pad of each toe. Repeat on your other foot.

Bonus: Performing foot massage for 10 minutes nightly may promote health overall.

Theory of reflexology: “Reflex points” on the feet are linked to various body systems and organs, which benefit from tactile stimulation.

Thanks to Paula Koepke, CMT, a massage therapist at the University of California, San Francisco, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, for help with this tip. PaulaKoepke.MassageTherapy.com.

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