In our modern lives, we have not been taught to honor or appreciate our feet which bears the burden of our weight and carries us from place to place every day. By spending most of our waking hours living and working indoors with shoes on, we have become more distanced from our feet than our ancestors, who knew the value of caring for their feet after a hard day's labor.
Foot massages have been practiced and documented since time immemorial in places as far-flung as Russia, Japan, Thailand and Peru, and the Ayurvedic foot massage in particular has roots tracing back to over 5 thousand years, when Indians began rubbing specific, medicated oils (prescribed according to their body type) on the soles of their feet to treat different ailments and boost their overall health.
The benefits of an Ayurvedic foot massage
It offers a myriad of benefits: not only does it nourish the skin, reduce bacterial and fungal infections and stimulate your organs and tissues, it also helps with psychological imbalances like anxiety, nervousness, and depression and promotes a sense of stability.
“The doors to the body’s inner pharmacy,” renowned Ayurvedic physician Dr. Vasant Lad has said, “are under the bottoms of your feet.”. Through the simple act of a foot massage, it is believed that we can reduce stress, activate our immune system, and heal our body, mind, and consciousness.
How to give yourself a foot massage
According to Ayurveda, the feet contain reflex points to all the organs and other parts of the body. Amazingly, each foot houses 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 7,000 nerves! Now imagine your feet as a mirror for the rest of your body: if you’re experiencing shoulder pain, you can press on the corresponding part of your foot to alleviate the discomfort, and a spot of tenderness on your feet might signify a bodily imbalance before you notice symptoms.
Here's a simple foot massage you can do yourself:
- Pour a small amount of oil into your hand and spread the oil over the top and bottom of your foot, including your ankles and toes.
- Massage the entire sole of your foot with circular motions and firm strokes.
- Begin with your big toe by pressing the base of the toenail and the underside of the toe simultaneously with your thumb and index finger.
- Massage from the base of your toe to the tip and repeat on each toe.
- Massage along the length of the top of your foot, firmly pressing into the crevices between each of the bones.
- Repeat the process on your other foot.
- Soak your feet for 5-10 minutes in a bucket half filledwith warm water and a teaspoon of salt to draw the stress and toxins out of your feet, or hop straight into the bath!
- Cover your feet with socks if doing the massage before bedtime!
We love using our Lime Vetiver Dry Silk Body Oil for the massage, but you can use a simple oil like coconut, sesame, castor, ghee, or sunflower from your local grocery store! We also recommend warming the oil because it is comforting and penetrates the skin more easily.
Try this ritual for a week or two and see how your body responds to it- we would love to hear from you!