Eastern spiritual traditions believe that our body and soul are connected and embodied in our feet; in these cultures, touching, washing and kissing the feet of teachers, elders and parents show love and respect. Across Asia, there are holy sites with feet imprints of Gods and Buddha, where devotees gather to worship.
The ancient healing traditions of the East, especially the Ayurvedic tradition, place an equal importance on feet. Padabhyanga or the Ayurvedic foot massage can be traced back 5,000 years. With many nerves from vital organs ending in the feet, foot massages benefit the entire body rendering revitalised energy, enhanced blood and lymph circulation, strengthening and restoring nerves, improving skin and alleviating stress. By stimulating vital points (marma) a balance of ‘doshas’ is achieved, resulting in homeostasis, a state when all the body’s systems are working in harmony with one another to bring about a state of balance. This contributes to maintaining good health. Ayurvedic foot massages use herbal oils with their own individual therapeutic benefits to effectively combine into the movement of energy in the massages.
The healing power of Ayurvedic treatments has been scientifically proven by several studies. Research has showed that Ayurvedic foot massages can effectively heal headaches and migraines. They calm your nerves and mind and help you sleep better, they are known to lower blood pressure, reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause, and even reduce effects of oedema in pregnant women. In Ayurvedic science, feet serve as mirrors of our overall wellbeing. The American Podiatric Medical Association echoes this wisdom, stating “such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, nerve, and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet, so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.”
The ancient Ayurvedic text, the Ashtanga Hridaya, identifies four major nerves in the feet that connect to the eyes, and stimulating these improves and helps maintain good eyesight while relieving eye strain. Padabhyanga has a long tradition of enhancing your immunity and keeping it well and steady. It is also highly beneficial for the general upkeep of healthy feet by preventing sciatica, healing foot pain, improving muscle tone and nourishing skin. According to reflexology, foot massages release any blockages that can hold back energy that should be flowing through the body freely. While this rejuvenates your entire body, it also helps unimpeded blood circulation and cleansing.