The feet are one of the most important parts of your body. According to ancient belief, the body and soul are embedded in the feet, making this organ a vital part of the body. In an Ayurvedic tradition, ‘Pada’ has been given particular importance. Ayurvedic foot massage Padabhyanga is a great way to provide the necessary care to your feet. Massaging the feet with Ayurvedic oil helps relieve nervous tension, which ultimately improves your overall health. Here are all the details about an Ayurvedic foot massage, its therapeutic uses, and benefits
What is pada abhyanga or Ayurvedic foot massage?
Padabhyanga therapy, or an Ayurvedic foot massage, is a miraculous method in which this specialized technique treats many body diseases.
Feet are given more importance in Ayurveda and feet because the end point of all the nerves of our body is in our feet.
Massaging the feet means massaging the nerves. Along with strengthening the nerves, this also makes other body parts healthy.
Doing this daily provides many health benefits.
The word pada abhyanga (Ayurvedic foot Massage) comes from Sanskrit literature. Pada Abhyanga means foot massage and is employed in Ayurveda as a part of dinacharya (daily regime), where medicated lukewarm, dosha-specific oil is applied over the person’s feet, followed by a massage using specific techniques and strokes by well-trained therapists.
The methods of massage employed in this treatment are unique.
The feet are massaged synchronously, from the ankle, and the toes up to the soles, focusing on specific pressure points and Marmas.
Specialized techniques like kneading, pulling, stroking, and friction are performed in this procedure.
You will be prescribed a particular medicinal oil depending on your health condition. Specific ayurvedic herbs infused into the oil are used to treat certain diseases.
A hot water foot bath or dip follows this.
Padabhyanga can be combined with other therapies such as Sarvanga Abhyanga, Sweda(full body massage), etc.
Many modern massage techniques prevalent are modified forms of abhyanga developed from Keraleeya Kalari Chikitsa, Kathakali massage, and other martial art forms.
Therapeutic uses of Ayurvedic foot massage
In Ayurveda, ‘Padabhyanga’ ( Ayurvedic foot massage) is said to be the mother of all alternative therapies. Padabhyanga therapy cures roughness, dryness, laxity, tiredness, numbness, cracking of feet, contraction of blood vessels and nerves of feet, sciatica, and many gout diseases.
Because it has the power to cure dosha imbalance, this means full health benefits can be obtained by massaging the feet. Along with this, the vision of the eyes also becomes sharp with its help.
It fills the cracked heels and makes them smooth. While discussing the therapeutic uses of Ayurvedic foot massage, let’s go through the results of the process.
- Improves vision and eyesight
- Removes numbness in hands and feet
- Enhances skin glow
- Helpful in preventing mental illnesses
- Improves sleeplessness
- Prevents diseases like stress, anxiety, headache, hypertension
- Blood circulation increases
- Improves joint pain, muscle stiffness
- Helpful in removing depression or mental/physical imbalance
- Aids in hearing and eyesight
- Provides relief in sciatica pain
Procedure and Duration
The procedure can be divided into 3 phases:
Collect the materials required, including the oil for massage, a plastic sheet for laying under the feet, an old towel, socks or silicone shoe socks, If possible, a bronze bowl Kansa vatki bowl
Make the person lie down straight. Choose tailam according to nature by laying a plastic sheet under the feet.
Now lukewarm the oil and leave it on the feet. Massage the feet, ankles, joints, and soles by pressing them well with light hands.
Do the massage for at least 20 minutes, for which first 10 minutes with hands, then 10 minutes by rubbing on the soles from the lower part of the bowl friction.
Sometimes ‘Ksheeradhara’ is also used, which is made after combining milk, Laksha Churna, and Dashamoola Kashayam.
Massage applies slight pressure to that area to activate the person’s nerves and energy points.
This process draws out negative energy and toxins from the body for a positive effect.
The patient should rest for about 15 minutes and can take a lukewarm bath afterward with suitable medicated water. Apply rasnadi churna after bathing over the vertex.
Best time to do Ayurvedic foot massage and its duration
Padabhyanga, or Ayurvedic foot massage, is a part of full body massage. Padabhyanga or foot massage can be done at any time, but the best time is before sleeping. This is because you can relax, and the vital points are activated during this time. Because during this time, the body is tired from the whole day’s work. Therefore, if pada abhyanga is done before sleeping at night, along with getting good sleep, the fatigue of the entire day also goes away.
However, there are some conditions when it should not be done.
Here are some health conditions you should avoid – cold, fever, blood infection, indigestion, stomach disorders, skin problems, circulatory disorders, etc.
Practising Ayurvedic foot massage can help rejuvenate the body and keep you healthy by removing overall health problems.
Benefits of Ayurvedic foot massage
Ayurveda regards the feet as an essential motor organ, as most of the communication systems of the organs terminate in the feet. This makes this part important. Massaging the feet means massaging the nerves, which, while strengthening the nerves, promotes the overall health and well-being of other body parts.
In Ayurveda, ‘Padabhyanga’ is the mother of all alternative therapies, as it can treat most of the doshic imbalances. You can do a padabhyanga at night before going to bed. Doing this daily provides many health benefits.
- It activates your immune system to keep you away from autoimmune diseases.
- Reduces mental stress and anxiety
- It gives peace to the restless min
- Promotes good sleep
- Increases blood circulation
- Increases eyesight
- Prevents cracked heels
- Improves foot health
- Treats leg pain
- Protect the skin from dryness
- Helpful in balancing ‘Vata Dosha
Benefits of Foot massage with a bronze bowl
A Foot massage with a bronze bowl gives more foot relief than a hand massage.
- Aids in the detoxification of internal organs
- It provides energy to the body by eliminating anxiety, fatigue, and depression.
- Helpful in regaining lost energy
- Aids in blood circulation
- Relieves joint pain
- Useful in relieving insomnia and fatigue
Best oils used for pada abhyanga or Ayurvedic foot massage
The usage of oils depends upon the condition of the patient. However, commonly used oils are as follows:
Do’s and Don’ts during pada abhyanga
Keep these precautions while doing pada abhyanga.
It should always be done after 1-2 hours of eating.
Do this before bath.
Refrain from doing pada abhyanga when you are very hungry or thirsty.
Take a bath only after 20 minutes of rest.
After pada abhyanga, take a bath with lukewarm water only.
One should not do pada abhyanga in some special conditions related to health, such as cold, fever, blood infection, indigestion, stomach disease or skin disorder, or thrombophlebitis.
- The patient should bathe with medicated or warm water for 30 minutes after completing the procedure.
- Use medicated soap or powder to remove oil from feet
- Eat food that soothes Vata dosha.
- Caffeinated drinks
- Heavy physical exercises and loud speech
- Use of Air conditioner or fan immediately after the procedure
- Sleeping during the procedure
- Suppression of the natural urges
- Chilled food and drinks
- Viruddha ahara (incompatible foods)
- Exposure to sunlight and strong winds
Foot care and foot health significantly contribute to the body’s overall well-being. When stimulated, the feet have specific pressure points or Marmas that help heal and revitalize various organs. Padabhyanga is one of the most rejuvenation, relaxing, and stress-relieving techniques and has multiple beneficial effects on the mind and body. Various oils are used according to different body constitutions and disease conditions.
Let’s end this by remembering the sayings of the holy text, Bhagavad Gita,
“Urdhva mulam,adhah sakham,” where the foot is correlated with the branches, is also an essential part of the tree, as when the branches get destroyed, the whole tree may be uprooted soon.
Keep your foot happy and healthy forever!