Namaste and welcome to this 10 minute oil self-massage for the feet in the Ayurvedic tradition! I’m going to guide you thro this simple and effective self-care routine which can be an easy first step in a regular wellness routine. The feet, as with other parts of our body/mind systems, can be a powerful access point to living simply and consciously with deep self-care: our feet can literally ground us in life and on this planet, allowing us to experience our own bliss state.
This oil self-massage for the feet is traditionally part of the Ayurvedic end of the day ritual. We would normally use warmed Coconut Oil for this massage, but light Sesame Oil or Olive Oil are also both very relaxing, nourishing and moisturising to the skin.
As with Indian Head Massage, we spend a lot of time on foot massage because of the relaxing and therapeutic benefits – there are so many meridians and nerve endings in the feet which associate with the body/mind system.
You’ll need a couple of warm towels, and maybe your yoga blankets and a duvet. I keep old towels, that I use just for the oil massage practices. Have the towels on the floor, in front of your feet, ready to wrap your feet in between each stage for warmth. You can be sitting on the side of the bath, on a chair or the floor if you like that: this is a beautiful way to end your day.
The Energetic Connection
We’ll start with an energetic connection with the feet. With warmed oil poured into and evenly spread through the palms of your hands, rub the oil into the feet, right foot then left foot. With a firm grip, both hands on the right foot, one palm on the sole of the foot, one palm on the bony top of the foot just below the toe joints . . . take 2 or 3 deep breaths and bring your mind down to the foot area. You are forming your intention for your own deep self-care and self-healing.
And now with the left foot, again with a firm grip, both hands on the left foot, one palm on the sole of the foot, one palm on the bony top of the foot just below the toe joints . . . taking 2 or 3 deep, centering breaths and bringing your mind down to the foot area . . . forming your intention for your own deep self-care and self-healing.
Bring in Warmth
Bringing warmth to the joints now: Circular massaging motions over the right ankle. Long strokes over the toe joints to the ankle. And a warming, circular motion over the toe joints on the right foot.
Circular warming motion over the left ankle. Long strokes over the left foot, from the toe joints up to the ankle . . . and a warming, circular motion over the toe joints.
Wrap the feet up warmly now.
Now for the Massage
And now, we’ll massage the bottoms of your feet, the soles of your feet. As with the head, in Indian Head Massage, this important area of your body deserves time and care. We’re using the palms of our hands to massage the soles vigorously.
So, working with the right sole, vigorously moving the palms over the sole of the right foot. You can use a circular motion over the sole of the foot and long strokes through the instep and outer step to the heel . . . circular motion over the pad of the heel. Long pulling strokes from the sole of the foot up to the tip of the toes . . . and you can finish with a nice, soft little touching motion, gently padding at the top of the tip of each toe. So gently touching the skin in the tip of each toe , working from the big toe down to the little toe.
Working with the sole of the left foot now, circular motion over the sole pad, over the ball of the foot. Long strokes down through the instep to the heel, down the outer step to the heel . . . and a circular motion over the pad of the heel . . . . long pulling strokes through the toes, so pulling up from the ball of the foot up to the tip of the toes. And completing the massage of the left foot, the toes of the left foot with that gentle little pressing touch on the tip of the toe, gently putting pressure on the skin on the tip of each toe . . . again working from the big toe down to the little toe.
And, finally, Relax!
Relaxing now, maybe in a warm bath or showering. But you can also simply wrap in your warm towels and blankets, or your duvet . . . or whatever else would keep you warm following your foot massage: so wrapping up your feet, maybe your calves or with the blankets around your knees and over the thighs, keeping the warmth in the body.
It’s really good for your feeling of wellbeing to relax then for 10 minutes or so, allowing your mind and your body to integrate this wonderful self-nurturing practice. As with any practice, be it body movement, breathing or meditation, it’s our practice to relax in a lying down position for the body/mind integration of this self-nurturing.
I do hope you can manage to practice this wonderful, traditional end-of-the-day self-massage practice, which comes deep from the Ayurvedic tradition in India, as part of your night-time routine and maybe building it into your wellness routine during the week: I hope you enjoy this practice regularly.
We’re making the mind/body a more comfortable place for the spirit to dwell with a routine of deep self-care.
Susan Ni Rahilly has reached an interesting point in her life now that she’s in her mid-sixties: as an author/publisher and Zen, Yoga and Meditation teacher she considers herself “trans-genre”—a multi-dimensional teacher inspired by Ancient roots of both Zen and Yoga. These roots reach back to Divine Feminine practices and inspire her ongoing research into our innate abilities for deep listening and intuitive practice: awakening and accelerating our Spiritual Vision as change-agents for Humanity’s future. She is also the Spoken Word Artist SuZen.