Pada Abhyanga (Foot Massage)

The foot massage should be done exclusively for 15 minutes at least once a week or more if time permits.

pada abhyangaFirst Prepare a Foot Bath 

Create a foot soak that meets your current needs, using one of the following recipes. Submerge your feet in the solution and relax for 10 minutes. Remove your feet when done and pat them dry.

To Cool Down

Pitta constitutions and those experiencing summer will enjoy this cooling recipe.

Fill a foot tub with cool water and mix in a tablespoon of honey and a handful each of dried lavender and fresh rose petals. You can also use lavender essential oil, rose or a Pitta soothing blend. This will soothe the mind.

To Warm Up

Kapha constitutions and those experiencing winter will enjoy this warming recipe.

Fill a foot tub with lukewarm water and add 1 teaspoon of dried ginger powder. This will invigorate the body and increase circulation.

To Relax and Rejuvenate

Those with Vata constitutions and those experiencing rainy season will benefit from this recipe.

Fill a foot tub with very warm water and add 2 tablespoons of rock salt to 3 litres (about 12 cups) of water. This will reduce any swelling and alleviate fatigue.

Pad Abhyanga: Self Foot Massage

Now you are ready to give yourself a foot massage.

Use slightly warm sesame or olive oil for Vata, mustard oil for Kapha or ghee/coconut oil for Pitta. Apply the oil/ghee generously throughout your massage.

Step 1: Start With Your Left Foot

Take your left foot and some oil and massage in circles around the ankle.

With your right hand, squeeze down from the base of the calf muscle all the way to the heel bone, 3 times. Holding the heel, flex and extend the ball of the foot several times.

Massage the spaces between all the toes, pinching the webbing between your index finger and thumb. Glide your thumbs up and down the grooves between the tendons on the top of the foot.

Step 2: Now turn your foot over so the sole is facing you and hold it in both hands, with your thumbs just under the ball of the foot.

Press your fingers into the top side of the foot, stretching the base of the toes apart. Then use your thumbs to “milk” each toe, sliding from the base over the tip of each toe several times.

Step 3: Next, massage vigorously from heel to toe using the heel of your hand.

Walk your thumbs along the outer edges of the foot, along the arch, and deeply into the edge of the heel. Use your knuckles to massage the arch.

Hold your ankle with your left hand and the top of your foot with the right, rotating the foot clockwise, and then counter clockwise.

Step 4: Grasp your big toe and rotate it fully, as if you were drawing a large circle with the tip of the toe.

Then rub the toes between the palms of your hands and massage the base of each toe with your thumb.

Finally, using the flat palm of your left hand, massage the entire sole of your foot in a figure-8 pattern.

Step 5: To finish, pat the sole of your foot a few times.

Then press the palm of your hand to the center of the sole of your foot feeling the subtle energy at this marma (pressure point). This encourages a healthy flow of apana vayu, the grounding, and the downward moving subtype of Vata.

Repeat the entire sequence on the right foot. Finally, rinse your feet with warm water. Dry them thoroughly and slip into clean cotton socks, which will allow your feet to feel protected, soft, comfortable, and responsive.