Ayurvedic Foot Massage
Ayurveda is supposed to be the oldest system of medicine known to man. It originated in India and influenced Chinese, Greek, Arabic and other traditional systems of medicine. ‘Ayuh’ means vitality and ‘veda’ knowledge in Sanscrit, Ayurveda thus being the knowledge of vitality and long life.
The Padabhyanga (also called Ayurvedic Foot massage or Ayurvedic Reflexology) protocol first starts with a massage from the knees to the toes, using warm sesame oil in which herbs and essential oils have been macerated, allowing the client to deeply relax.
A small bronze bowl, or kasa bowl, is then used in the massage routine. The bowl is warmed and its rounded surface well-oiled before application. The surface of the legs and feet is rubbed lightly in circular and lengthwise motions to stimulate the circulation and the flow of energy in the area, the conductivity of the bowl’s metal interacting with the energy field of the body. Finally, the ‘Marma points’ or Energy points are worked in an anti, then clockwise motion.
Padabhyanga has a very special place in the Ayurvedic tradition; in India, it is commonly practised as a daily ritual, especially before retiring to bed. There is an Indian saying: “Disease doesn’t go near one who massages his feet before sleeping just as snakes do not approach eagles”.
The potential benefits of the Ayurvedic Foot Massage (Padabhyanga) are:
to help calm the mind,
to help maintain eyesight and hearing,
to promote quality sleep,
to improve peripheral circulation,
to aid foot health by alleviating pain, improving muscle tone and nourishing the skin,
to reduce joint pain, inflammation and arthritis,
to help prevent sciatica
good during pregnancy and to promote fertility,
it treats all systems, i.e. reproductive, urinary, digestive
The treatment lasts for one and a quarter hour; the client is asked to wear loose clothing to allow the practitioner easy reach to the knees and legs.