Already priest Sebastian Kneipp (1821 – 1897) recognized the positive effect of hydrotherapy, which is used both preventively and curatively. The effectiveness of hydrotherapy, to which the footbath belongs, is mainly due to the heat conduction of the water. The water is capable of generating a wide range of temperature stimuli by either supplying or removing heat. The stimuli of the water application by a foot bath do not remain locally limited, but develop their effect in the entire organism. The immune system, the circulation, the nervous system and the metabolism are affected. A cold footbath first has a refreshing effect, then a relaxing and calming effect. Cold foot baths are used especially for venous disorders. But also for headaches, overheating, a gout attack or nosebleeds. The cold water has a temperature of 12°C to 18°C. The duration of the bath is a maximum of thirty seconds. The feet are not toweled afterwards, but the water is only wiped off. The “rising” foot bath warms the entire organism and expands the blood vessels. The warm footbath increases the general blood circulation and provides the body with warmth. Another variation is the alternating bath. Two vessels are filled with water. One with 36 °C warm and the other with 18 °C cold water. First the feet are bathed in the warm vessel for about five minutes and then in cold water for about ten seconds. The change between warm and cold should be repeated at least once. Here too, a resting phase is important for the body.
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