Foot MASSAGE: How to Perform
A Foot Massage alleviates roughness, stiffness, numbness, cracks of heels and fatigue of the feet. It also promotes suppleness and stability to feet and make them strong. It increases visual acuity, and calms the Vata Dosha. A foot massage also helps to ameliorate diseases like sciatica and other Vata disorders.
The foot massage should be done exclusively for 15 minutes once in a week or more if your time permits.
How to perform a Self Foot Massage
First, create a foot soak that meets your current needs, using one of the following recipes:
– to Cool Down Pitta Constitutions (and in summers): Fill a foot tub with cool water and mix in a tablespoon of honey and a handful each of dried lavender and fresh rose petals. You can also use lavender or rose essential oil. This will soothe the mind.
– to Warm Up (Kapha constitutions and in winters): Fill a foot tub with lukewarm water and add 1 teaspoon of dried ginger powder. This will invigorate the body and increase circulation.
– To Relax & Rejuvenate (Vata constitutions and in rainy season): Fill a foot tub with very warm water and add 2 tablespoon of rock salt to 3 litres (12 cups) of water. This will reduce any swelling and alleviate fatigue.
– Submerge your feet, relax for 10 minutes, then remove your feet and pat them dry.
– Now you are ready to give yourself a foot massage. Use slightly warm sesame, olive (Vata & Pitta), or mustard oil (Kapha). Apply the oil generously throughout your massage.
– Starting with your left foot, massage in circles around the ankle. With your right hand, squeeze down from the base of the calf muscle all the way to the heel bone, 3 times. Holding the heel, flex and extend the ball of the foot several times. Massage the spaces between all the toes, pinching the webbing between finger and thumb. Glide your thumbs up and down the grooves between the tendons on top of the foot.
– Now turn your foot over so the sole is facing you and hold it in both hands, with your thumbs just under the ball of the foot. Press your fingers into the top side of the foot, stretching the base of the toes apart. Then use your thumbs to “milk” each toe, sliding from the base over the tip of each toe several times.
– Next, massage vigorously from heel to toe using the heel of your hand. Walk your thumbs along the outer edges of the foot, along the arch, and deeply into the edge of the heel. Use your knuckles to massage the arch.
– Hold your ankle with your left hand and the top of your foot with the right, rotating the foot clockwise, then anticlockwise.
– Grasp your big toe and rotate it fully, as if you were drawing a large circle with the tip of the toe. Then rub the toe between the palms of your hands and the base of your little toe. Finally, using the flat palm of your left hand, massage the entire sole of your foot in a figure-8 pattern.
– To finish, pat the sole of your foot a few times. Then press the palm of your hand to the centre of the sole of your foot. Feeling the subtle energy at this marma (pressure point) encourages a healthy flow of Apana vayu, the grounding, and downward moving subtype of Vata. Repeat the entire sequence on the right foot.
– Finally, rinse your feet with warm water, dry thoroughly, and slip them into clean cotton socks, which will allow your feet to feel protected, soft, comfortable & responsive.