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Ayurvedic Foot Massage: Gain a Foothold On Your Health.

Updated: Apr 26

There are many points on the feet that connect to almost every part of the body. Foot massage is a simple, Ayurvedic self-treatment to unwind and ground your energy at the end of the day. Serious medical conditions may also be detected by paying attention to your feet. Gain a foothold on your health.

woman doing Ayurveda foot massage

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According to the American Podiatric Medical Association , “Your feet mirror your general health. Such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet—so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.”

In addition to providing information about serious medical conditions, Ayurvedic foot massage (Padabhyanga), performed consistently, may support soft, supple skin, shiny hair, and even a sharper memory according to Ayurveda.

Padabhyanga (पादाभ्यंग) is a Sanskrit term which is made using two words:

  1. Pada (पद) : Foot

  2. Abhyanga (अभ्यंग) : Massage

Our feet connect us to the earth and ground us. They work hard for us many hours of the day, decade after decade. They need our loving attention. Where would we be without our feet? Not only do they connect and transport us, the feet contain pressure points that connect to nearly every organ in the body, the immune system, and the nervous system.

Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 7,000 nerves. How many hours in a day are your feet carrying the full weight of your body around? How many hours in a lifetime? In the ancient Vedic texts, feet are referred to as organs of action and feet are in need of attention and respect.

Ayurvedic foot massage is a way of massaging the whole body, relaxing the entire body and mind.

If you don't have time to do a full Ayurvedic massage (abhyanga), there's always a few minutes each day for Ayurvedic foot massage.

To learn about Ayurvedic self-oil massage: Abhyanga Massage - How to Do Ayurveda Self-Massage at Home

toes with smiley faces on each one

Benefits of Ayurvedic Foot Massage:

  • It feels deeply relaxing for the whole body and mind

  • Gently stimulates the body's organs and tissues (picture an organ map on the bottom of your foot.)

  • Supports circulation

  • Supports quality sleep

  • Soothing, grounding, it alleviates tension, anxiety, and fatigue

  • Makes the feet feel happy

  • Reduces that "my dogs are tired" or, "my dogs are barking" at the end of the day

  • Relieves dry skin

How To Do Ayurvedic Foot Massage: Padabhyanga

  1. Place an old towel under your feet.

  2. Warm your oil to a comfortable temperature.

  3. If you like, add dosha balancing essential oils to your base oil. Vata: warm, sweet, grounding, soothing aromas. This includes lavender, vetiver, cedarwood, clove, patchouli, sweet orange, geranium rose, ylang/ylang, frankincense, and vanilla. Pitta: sweet and cooling. This includes sandalwood, rose, honeysuckle, and fennel. Kapha: warm, spicy, and invigorating. This includes camphor, juniper, eucalyptus, marjoram, grapefruit, bergamot, rosemary, sage, cedar, pine, musk, patchouli, and clove.

  4. Apply oil all over your foot. Vigorously massage the front of the foot with both hands. Do long strokes on the long bones, top and bottom. Remember your ankles too. Massage in long strokes on the long foot bones, and round strokes around the ankles. When massaging the top of the foot, press into the spaces between each of the bones.

  5. On the soles, use firm circular strokes.

  6. If you find a spot that feels tighter, hang out there a little bit longer, but don't over do it.

  7. Remember all your toes. Starting with the big toe, press in a the base of the nail from the top of the toe and under using your index finger and thumb.

  8. Massage from the base of the toe where it's joined to the foot, up to the tip. Love up each toe this way.

  9. Repeat the process for the other foot.

  10. Cover your feet with socks if doing the massage before bedtime.

  11. Use rubber soled slippers, shoes, or sandals if you get up. Oil is slippery on wood and tiled floors, even through socks.

Which Oil Is Best for Ayurvedic Foot Massage?

Depending on specific imbalances, different oils are used as determined by an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner. Fatigue, exhaustion, migraines, eye issues, and so forth require different oils. In general, these three oils are used for Ayurvedic foot massage.

sesame oil and seeds

Use sesame oil for your Ayurvedic foot massage during the cooler, or colder parts of the year. In cold climates during winter, mustard oil may be used.

coconuts and glass bottle with coconut oil

Use coconut oil for your Ayurvedic foot massage during the warm, or hot parts of the year.

clay pot with ghee

You can use ghee for your Ayurvedic foot massage during the warm, or hot parts of the year.

Sore Feet?

Try our MahaBalm (Pain relieving balm). $20. Not only is this balm amazing for Ayurvedic foot massage, use it anywhere you're sore. "The mahabalm is amazing! It should go viral!" --Saumya client, New Mexico

Tonight, try Padabhyanga — it just might help you sleep like a baby.

This simple practice is easy to integrate in your Ayurvedic lifestyle. It doesn't take long, you can do it even if you travel, and it only takes a few minutes.

Ayurvedic foot massage balances Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Doing padabhyanga before bed, is especially calming to Vata doshas and promotes sound sleep.

Pair your Ayurveda foot massage with our sleep tips: Sleep Soundly: 11 Ayurvedic Tips to Help You Drift Off into Dreamland

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How Do I Know If I Have a Dosha Imbalance?

Peruse these comprehensive and convenient lists of signs and symptoms of dosha imbalances.

As we are all comprised of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, there can be an imbalance in any of the doshas, or a combination of dosha imbalances. Read all three lists and see if anything looks familiar.

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Ayurvedic Foot Massage: Gain a Foothold On Your Health. Give it a try tonight.

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Veenat at Saumya Ayurveda

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.

She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.

Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.

These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.

She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.

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