If there is one part of your body that works hard for you, it is your feet. Every day, walking and other activities bring the weight of your entire body to bear on your feet. And that workload may come with a cost — your feet are the area of your body most subject to injury.
Yet most of us pay little attention to our feet, unless of course there is an injury or imbalance. Here are a few tips to give your soles some love and avoid hot, tired, overworked feet.
Comfort is Key
If there’s one easy tip for caring for your feet, it’s to wear comfortable shoes. Many foot problems start just because the toes are too cramped, the heels are too high, or there’s no supportive arch in your shoes. With so many options for comfortable, supportive shoes these days, the investment in good shoes is worth it.
Keep Them Clean and Dry
Wash your feet daily with warm water and natural soap — try one of our creamy herbal soap bars. Wash between your toes, and dry your feet just as carefully as you wash them. Athlete’s foot and other fungi can start from perspiration or dampness between the toes. Tip: If you are prone to skin irritation, blow dry your feet after a shower and before putting on socks and shoes. You’ll be surprised at the difference this makes.
Allow Your Feet to Breathe
Wearing synthetic socks can keep your feet from “breathing” and contribute to foot odor. Opt for organic, cotton socks when possible. Or spend a portion of your day barefoot.
DIY Foot Massage
The feet are an engineering wonder of 26 bones (1/4 of the bones of your whole body), 33 joints and a network of more than 100 tendons, muscles and ligaments! And because every nerve in your body finds its home in your feet, a foot massage can affect your entire nervous system. Massaging your feet helps detoxify your body, balance emotions, and improve blood and lymph circulation. A foot massage before bed helps to create deeper sleep, and is also a quick way to recover from travel tiredness.
- After washing and drying your feet, apply Youthful Skin® Massage Oil or a massage oil of your choice to each of your feet. You’ll be surprised how quickly “scaly heel” goes away with some of our oil and a gentle massage.
- Start by gently rubbing the base, sides and top of your smallest toes. Continue with each toe. Massage, stretch and pull each toe gently.
- Move to the ball and sole of your foot and rub in circular or long motions. Apply a gentle massaging pressure on both sides of your heels. Massage the sides of your ankle bones in a clockwise motion. This improves circulation and energy for the entire body.
- Note any areas that feel tight and give them extra attention.
- Finish by massaging your calf muscles to release tension, using long, up-and-down strokes.
Soak for Softness — A Wonderful Evening Ritual
Are your feet hot and tired from too much activity? Or do you have hard calluses on the soles of your feet?
A good soak in warm herbal water is not only relaxing — water will help soften your skin and release stress from not just your feet, but your whole body. Here’s how to create a therapeutic foot soak:
- Bring a quart of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and pour the water into a large bowl or pot (large enough for your feet). Or purchase online a foot-massage tank. Add to your water — loose leaf, or in a pouch — dried or fresh lavender, sage, and rosemary. Let it steep for 20 minutes.
- Adjust the temperature, if needed, by adding cold or hot water, until it is slightly above body temperature (100-110 degrees F).
- Soak your feet for 20 minutes. Gently rub your feet with the water or pouch.
- Dry each foot thoroughly with a soft, clean towel.
- Moisturize your feet with Youthful Skin® Massage Oil.
- Put on socks and climb into bed.
Just a few simple self-care practices, such as these foot-care tips, added to your routine can go a long way toward keeping your entire body, and mind, balanced and healthy.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.
This article originally appeared on the vpk by Maharishi Ayurveda website and is used here with permission