Ayurvedic Foot Care
More than 70% of all people in the United States will have painful foot problems at some time during their lifetime. Do you take care of your feet as much as you use them? An ayurvedic foot care routine can reduce your chances of belonging to the unfortunate 70%.
Basic Foot Care
The best measure you can take is to wear comfortable shoes that fit properly, with extra room in the toe area. Equally important is to wash your feet daily with soap. Rinse off the soap with lukewarm water and dry your feet thoroughly, including between the toes. Always keep your nails short, but don't cut into the skin on the sides of your nails. Don't apply harsh techniques to remove corns and calluses, such as trimming or shaving, because they can damage your feet. Change your socks every day and when you exercise. Whenever possible, air your feet by walking barefoot outside, or in the house. These simple rules not only increase your comfort level but can prevent infections, calluses and many other ailments of the foot.
Ayurvedic Foot Care
"Caring for your feet in Maharishi Ayurveda goes beyond the cosmetic purposes: it benefits the whole body and nervous system," says Vaidya Nitin Agrawal of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International. An ayurvedic foot bath and foot massage relaxes the whole physiology and provides a feeling of revitalization, increased energy, and improved circulation.
Herbal Foot Bath
For tired feet and hard skin, a foot soak can do wonders. Warm water stimulates your feet and your whole body, and softens your skin. The aromas of herbs and bath salts provide relaxation through the sense of smell.
- Boil 1 quart of water. Make a small pouch of any of the following herbs: lavender, sage, rosemary. Place the pouch in a large wash bowl or bucket and pour the boiling water over it. Let it sit for twenty minutes.
- Add cold water, if necessary, to reach a comfortable temperature between 100 and 110 °F.
- Soak your feet in the water for about twenty minutes. Gently rub the herbs on your feet but do not scrub.
- Dry feet thoroughly with a clean towel. Bathing salts also soften your skin.
By rubbing your feet, you "massage" your whole body. "Massaging your feet helps detoxification, balances emotions, and improves blood and lymph circulation," says Vaidya Agrawal.
- First wash your feet thoroughly with soap and warm water. Neem soap is especially beneficial due to its antibacterial properties. Wipe your feet dry and sit in a comfortable position so you can easily reach your feet.
- Apply oil to one of your feet for lubrication.
- Start by gently rubbing the base of your little (fifth) toe.
- Continue at the base of the next (fourth) toe.
- Next, apply slight pressure between the fifth and fourth toes.
- Then, rub between the third and fourth toes.
- Next, massage, stretch and pull the big toe gently and rub each side of the nail.
- Then massage the ball of your foot in a circular motion. Apply gentle pressure on both sides of your heel below the ankle joint, followed by circling around your ankle joint with both hands in a clockwise motion. This improves circulation and the energy level of the body.
- Finally massage your calf muscle to release tension. Repeat the same steps on your other foot.
Treatment for Corns
Corns, like calluses, develop from an accumulation of dead skin cells, forming thick and hard areas on the tops, sides and tips of the toes. Constant pressure and friction from footwear can press these areas and cause pain. Instead of chemical corn-removing solutions, which can increase irritation, try the following simple remedy from Vaidya Agrawal.
- Roast one garlic clove (dry or in a little ghee) until golden but not burnt.
- While still warm, apply the garlic clove on the corn and place a Band-Aid over it. Use one clove of garlic for each corn. Leave it on for a day.
- Apply daily until corn falls off.
- Massage feet with Youthful Skin Massage Oil to soften skin and prevent the recurrence of corns.
Preventing Foot Odor
Smelly feet can result from perspiration, dead skin cells and bacteria. Synthetic shoes and socks increase the problem by not letting your feet breathe. The following recipe naturally deodorizes your feet.
- Perform the herbal foot bath according to the instructions above, but add one half to one teaspoon of salt to the water.
- Mix 1 part corn starch, three parts bentonite clay, and three to four drops of peppermint essential oil.
- Make a paste by adding cold water to a small amount of the above mix. Apply paste on your feet for 20-30 minutes.
- Wash paste off with lukewarm water and dry thoroughly.
Do this procedure every day for a month or until the problem disappears, then twice a week. You can also sprinkle the powder mix in your shoes or socks during the day.
As in every area of Maharishi Ayurveda, the emphasis is on prevention in foot care as well. It you give your feet a break, they will serve you better and help you stay free from discomfort.
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.