The feet are a map for all of the organs of the body, according to many healing systems such as Chinese medicine, reflexology, Thai massage, marma therapy and various other forms of bodywork. Even though the maps on the feet vary from tradition to tradition, they all agree that a foot massage is therapeutic for all organs, muscles, and bones.
People are generally aware of their upper body, but forget to attend to sensations coming from the lower body. The legs and feet often suffer from poor circulation, making the skin on your legs appear dry, dull and lifeless. Poor venous return from the legs can cause water retention in your legs, and a tendency to gain weight in the legs and thighs. A foot massage balances out these unhealthy tendencies.
Warm sesame or coconut oil on the stove, make sure it's not too hot, and settle into this nourishing practice.
Simply directing attention to your feet is grounding. If you are out and about, feeling rushed and frazzled, simply bring your mind's attention to the soles of your feet. Keep your attention there for several breaths. Feeling your feet directs attention away from your stressful worries, and softens your concentration.
Ayurveda recommends you keep your feet flat on the ground and warm. An anusara yoga practice can teach even more about how to stand properly on your feet, including the placement of toes, the ball of the foot, and the ankle. The placement and twist of your foot can mean the difference between a strong knee on one hand, or arthritis and injury on the other. Placement and twist of the foot also controls how your leg bones connect to the hips. An improper connection will leave you feeling spacey and ungrounded.
Warm Up with a Foot SoakWhat better way to warm up your whole body while bringing attention to your feet than a hot foot bath? Perfect for a cold day, a nice hot foot soak relaxes tight muscles, calms your mind, softens your nervous system. Add epsom salts, ginger tea, or lavender for added pain relief and circulation.
Fists With Your Toes & Other Foot ExercisesMaking fists with your toes is also a great way to feel grounded, as Bruce Willis discovered in this clip from the movie Die Hard! - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIkZSrvF9IE
Once a day, lie down putting your feet up on the wall to drain them of stagnant blood. Experiment with moving, tilting, twisting, and adjusting your hips to see which postures improve blood flow to your feet. Notice how the temperature of your feet changes during these exercises. If you experiment with the position of your hips while lying in bed, you might also notice slight muscle spasm in the feet as your circulation refreshes tired muscles.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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