While reading research data on diabetes, I found a couple of studies that focused on improving circulation in the legs and feet. Complications from diabetes can cause pooling of blood, poor circulation in the lower extremities, gangrene and amputation of the feet in some cases. I don’t have diabetes, but I do suffer from tired feet.
There are various ways to improve circulation and, according to research I read a few years ago, hydrogen peroxide is one of those ways. The research stated that soaking the feet in a mild hydrogen peroxide solution helped diabetics. Hydrogen peroxide, H2O2, has one more molecule of oxygen than water, H2O. The extra oxygen molecule appears to improve oxygen uptake at the cellular level. Most diabetic circulation problems are caused by lack of oxygen and nutrients to the cells. Improved circulation not only delivers nutrients and oxygen, it improves elimination of waste and debris from the cells. Proper breath control and exercise can also help improve blood flow to the extremities.
Cayenne pepper in a water and vegetable oil solution, like olive oil, can be rubbed on affected areas to help stimulate circulation. I’ve talked to people who’ve used cayenne pepper in this manner with good results. I’ve used cayenne pepper in an olive oil base to relieve pain, improve circulation and for healing a problem knee when I was doing professional athletics. I’ve also read research that used cayenne pepper topically as an analgesic, and circulation stimulant, with diabetics.
Poor circulation is very often accompanied by swelling in the hands as well as the feet and legs. Vinegar helps reduce swelling and the accompanying pain of tendon and carpal tunnel problems. The vinegar has to be unfiltered, unpasteurized and contain naturally occurring mother of vinegar. White distilled vinegar won’t work as well, if at all.
So, here we have a problem: tired, swollen feet that have been in a pair of hiking boots and on the trail for a number of hours. We also have possible information that hasn’t been tried, as far as we know, that can be used to soak the feet and possibly solve the problem. A large percentage of people won’t try anything new and in that scenario the answer to our dilemma is always “no.” Since none of the ingredients can cause any damage if used correctly, I figured that maybe I’d learn something new, so I experimented.
First I got a stainless steel pan. If I’d had a plastic pan large enough I would have used it. I wouldn’t use aluminum or regular steel because of a chance the metals may interact with the solution(s) or dissolve and get transported into the body through the skin.
Next, I put in a cup of vinegar, the real kind. Then added two tablespoons of cayenne pepper, the super high-octane variety, and stirred it into the vinegar until dissolved. Then I added enough water to cover my feet in the pan and a 1/4 cup of 12% hydrogen peroxide, the kind you get at the store. You could use food grade hydrogen peroxide, the 35% kind, but need to be aware that the ratio needs to be reduced proportionately. You also need to be aware that food grade hydrogen peroxide can cause burns and/or blindness if proper safety precautions aren’t adhered to.
O soaked my feet in the solution until the water was cold. Then washed my feet in warm, clean water and dried them thoroughly. I’ve soaked my feet for up to 30 minutes using this process and ended up with excellent results and a pair of nice feeling, pink feet that were ready to go on another hike or ride.