Hot Foot Bath

Heating Compress


from Hydrothermic Remedies...

Water Temp : 39.5 - 43.5°C / 103-110°F


Derivative for:- Congestions:


A local immersion bath covering the feet and ankles at temperatures ranging from 39° - 43°C / 103-110°F.

Physiologic Effects

  1. To provide local and reflex increase in blood flow through the feet and entire surface, producing decongestion in internal organs and brain (derivative effect).
    1. to relieve congestive headache
    2. to relieve chest congestion
    3. to relieve pelvic congestion
  2. To provide general warming of the body
    1. to prepare patient for general application of heat
    2. to prepare patient for tonic procedures
    3. to produce sweating (when prolonged)
    4. to help prevent or abort a cold
  3. To aid relaxation and comfort
  4. To provide a treatment for local inflammation of the feet
  5. Increase white blood cell activity


  1. Congestive Headache
  2. Passive Chest Congestion
  3. Pelvic Congestion including Prostatis, gall or renal Colic, Nephritis and Toxaemia
  4. Painful Abdominal Congestion
  5. Preparation for other, usually cold, treatments such as Graduated Tonic Cold
  6. Warm the body
  7. To stop Nosebleed
  8. Aid relaxation and comfort
  9. Common Cold and Sore Throat
  10. Eye Pain, Eye Inflammation, Earache

Contraindications and Cautions

  1. Obstructive circulatory disturbances
  2. Diabetes
  3. Peripheral vascular diseases
  4. Any condition where circulation in feet and legs is poor (like extreme vascular disease of feet and legs) or where there is a loss of sensation (feeling) in feet or legs.


  1. Foot tub or container large enough and deep enough; five gallon can or dish pan may be used but water should be at least 10 cm deep.
  2. Thermometer, if available; if not, test water with elbow; temperature 39° - 43°C / 103-110°F.
  3. Sheet or bath blanket
  4. Turkish towel, cold compress if needed
  5. Material for protection of bed (rubber sheet or plastic)
  6. Pitcher or dipper to add hot water
  7. Equipment for Fomentations and Cold Mitten Friction if needed


Important Considerations

  • Do not use hot foot bath in peripheral vascular disease unless specifically ordered by the physician; and, if used, maximum temperature is usually 39°C / 110°F.
  • Not recommended for frostbite
  • When adding hot water, be careful not to burn the patient

Preparation for Treatment

  • Explain procedure to patient
  • Have room warm and free from draft
  • Assemble materials
  • Protect bedding
  • If sweating is desired, have the patient drink warm or hot water before the bath
  • Patient may be lying or sitting, properly draped, i.e. covered with a sheet then a blanket, mitred at neck, with a towel around the neck


  • The patient can be lying or sitting
  • Have the patient properly draped
  • Have water temperature 39° - 43°C / 103-110°F. and deep enough to cover a couple of inches above ankles.
  • Assist the patient to place his feet in the tub; place your hand under his feet and into the water first to make sure the water is not too hot.
  • Be sure the drape covers the tub
  • Add hot water from time to time to increase the temperature gradually to 43°C / 110°F, of the hot foot bath; make sure you remove the feet first before adding the hot water or place one of your hands in the water between where you are pouring the water in and the patient's feet. Stir gently with your hand.
  • Continue 10 - 30 minutes; check reaction for perspiration
  • Use Cold Compress to head when sweating begins; renew often at least every 2 minutes and give water through a straw if sweating is continuing.
  • When finished with treatment, pour cold or iced water over feet; remove from tub and rub and dry thoroughly
  • If patient is perspiring, give an AlcoholSponge or other cooling treatment over the whole body and dry thoroughly when finished.
  • The hot foot bath is commonly given in conjunction with other methods.

Completion of Treatment

  • Give follow-up care as prescribed.
  • Be sure patient is warm and comfortable
  • Remove equipment.
  • Record treatment, temperature, time and reaction.
  • The patient should rest lightly covered following the treatment for 10 - 30 minutes so as to get rid of body heat and not perspire after getting dressed and leaving the building.

(Thanks to Lesley)

To prevent or treat Colds and Influenza

  • Drink hot water before the treatment
  • Use the lying treatment with Fomentations
  • Treat until sweating freely for 5 minutes - add hot water frequently
  • Follow with Cold Mitten Friction

For Congestive Headache

  • Treat sitting in a comfortable chair. Aim for relaxation.
  • Start with hot water but don't add more
  • Continue for 20 minutes or until pain relief
  • Massage neck and shoulders afterwards


from Dr JH Kellogg's Hydriatic Techniques...

46, 40-50°C / 115, 104-120°F Begin at 40°C / 104°F and gradually increase over 4 min

Derivative Antiphlogistic Revulsive


40-43°C / 104-110°F, 20 min - in


46-52°C / 115-126°F 5 min followed by cold Pail Pour in

Foot problems - 2-3x a day, 20-30min - in


from Dr GK Abbott's Prescriptions...


  • Begin at 40°C / 104°F and increase to 48°C / 118°F
  • Finish with cold dash