If you’ve had a long day standing on your feet or had a stressful day at work, wouldn’t a nice foot massage hit the spot? Massaging your feet has tremendous benefits for the entire body. Not only does it increase circulation in the feet, but it helps banish exhaustion while invigorating the nervous system and boosting muscle strength. The feet have important nerve endings and acupressure points present on the soles of the foot. A foot massage helps to relieve stress, eye strain, balance energy in all the chakras and ground your energy. In addition, applying oil on your feet everyday will prevent common skin ailments like cracked heels and bacterial or fungal infections.
A foot massage will cost you a pretty penny at the spa, but you don’t need to fork out big bucks at the salon for something you can quite easily do at home. Ayurvedic foot massage techniques are simple to do and feel absolutely wonderful. If you want to learn how to give a foot massage to yourself (or your special someone) then read on to know this Ayurvedic foot massage how to tips that also incorporate Ayurvedic reflexology techniques.
1. Items needed for an Ayurvedic foot massage
- A small tub of warm water.
- Salt and ginger.
- A towel to wipe your feet.
- A massage oil such as coconut, mustard or sesame oil. Mustard oil can generate heat in the body and should be avoided during the summer.
2. Make a foot soak and relax yourself:
Take a tub of warm water and add some crushed ginger and a teaspoon of sea salt. Soak your feet in the tub and relax. To make your soak extra special, add a few rose petals to the mix, which has a wonderful aroma to help unwind and destress.
3. Wipe your feet and apply the oil:
After soaking your feet for about 15 to 30 minutes, take them out and pat them dry; remember, the purpose of this foot soak is to be healing and relaxing, so take as much time as you need. Once you’ve patted your feet dry, take some massage oil and liberally apply it over the feet. Ensure you’ve used enough oil so that there is little friction between the hands and feet when you begin the massage. Begin with the right foot and then proceed to the left.
4. Massage the feet:
Massaging each foot should take around 15 to 20 minutes. Here is how you can go about it.
Start by massaging the area around the ankles, beginning with the area where the calf ends. Use the fingers and thumb to press the muscle at the base of the calf to the heel. Use a gentle downwards motion with only as much pressure as feels comfortable.
Next, take the fingers and thumb to massage the area right below the ankle while moving the fingers from the inner side of the foot to the outside.
Then, proceed to the toes and massage the area in between each toe with the thumb and index finger. Press each part gently and pull away from the toe.
Wrap the finger around the base of the big toes and pull it away from the toe, while gently loosening the muscles in that area; repeat for all five toes.
Next, glide the thumb along the tendons of the toes on top of the foot. Ensure to use the pad of the thumb for this step and gently press down. Begin from the web of the fingers and go on while pressing along the depression of the top of the foot to the ankle.
5. Massage the base of the foot:
Now, move on to the base of the foot. Keep your leg bent at the knee and place the foot on the thigh of the other foot so that the bottom of the foot faces upwards.
Hold the foot with both hands so that the thumbs are on the sole and placed right under the ball of the foot. Apply pressure and move the thumb in an outwards motion, going in opposite directions.
Bring the thumb to the center of the foot and massage right down the center, or the arch of the foot. Repeat several times and massage the heels. Use the base of the palm to press down on the heel in circular motions.
Interlock the fingers with the toes and pass them in between the toes. Hold up your foot and gently move them in a clockwise direction and then again in an anticlockwise direction to loosen up the muscles on the feet and ankles.
Clasp the big toe in the palms of the feet and rotate it in a similar manner.
Use the palm of the hand to massage the base of the foot using a figure eight motion. Slap the soles of the feet to promote circulation and eliminate excess Vayu (the Air element present in the body, according to Ayurvedic philosophy) and repeat the process on the left foot.
6. Clean up:
You can wash the feet with warm water when the massage is finished. Soap is not required to cleanse them as this step is simply to wash off any excess oil on the feet. Once they have been washed, wear soft cotton socks and get some sleep.