More than 70% of all people in the United States will have painful foot problems at some point during their lifetime. Do you take care of your feet as much as you use them? An Ayurvedic foot care routine not only helps to prevent corns, calluses, and odors, but also benefits the whole body. The following tips, routines, and treatments will help keep your feet in tip top shape.
Basic foot care
Comfort is key
If there’s one easy tip for caring for your feet, it’s to wear comfortable shoes. Many foot problems start just because the toes are too cramped, the heels are too high, or there’s no supportive arch in your shoes. With so many options for comfortable, supportive shoes these days, the investment in good shoes is worth it.
Keep feet clean & dry to help avoid athlete's foot
Equally important is to wash your feet daily with soap. Rinse off the soap with lukewarm water and dry your feet thoroughly, including between the toes.
Athlete’s foot and other fungi can start from perspiration or dampness between the toes. Tip: For a simple athlete’s foot Ayurvedic preventative treatment for those prone to skin irritation, blow dry your feet after a shower and before putting on socks and shoes.
Always keep your nails short, but don't cut into the skin on the sides of your nails. Don't apply harsh techniques to remove corns and calluses, such as trimming or shaving, because they can damage your feet. Change your socks every day and when you exercise.
Allow your feet to breathe
Whenever possible, air your feet by walking barefoot outside, or in the house. These simple rules not only increase your comfort level but can prevent infections, calluses, and many other ailments of the foot.
Wearing synthetic socks can keep your feet from “breathing” and contribute to foot odor. Opt for organic, cotton socks when possible.
Ayurvedic foot care
"Caring for your feet in Maharishi Ayurveda goes beyond the cosmetic purposes: it benefits the whole body and nervous system," says Vaidya Nitin Agrawal of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International.
An Ayurvedic foot bath and foot massage relaxes the whole physiology and provides a feeling of revitalization, increased energy, and improved circulation throughout the body.
Routines and Ayurvedic foot treatments
Herbal foot bath
For tired feet and hard skin, a foot soak can do wonders. Warm water stimulates your feet and your whole body and softens your skin. The aromas of herbs and bath salts provide relaxation through the sense of smell.
- Boil one quart of water. Make a small pouch of any of the following herbs: lavender, sage, rosemary. Place the pouch in a large wash bowl or bucket and pour the boiling water over it. Let it sit for twenty minutes.
- Add cold water, if necessary, to reach a comfortable temperature between 100 and 110 °F.
- Soak your feet in the water for about twenty minutes. Gently rub the herbs on your feet, but do not scrub.
- Dry feet thoroughly with a clean towel. Bathing salts also soften your skin.
Ayurveda foot massage
Ayurvedic foot massages can create a greater sense of general wellbeing. By rubbing your feet, you "massage" your whole body. "Massaging your feet promotes detoxification, balances emotions, and improves blood and lymph circulation," says Vaidya Agrawal.
- First wash your feet thoroughly with soap and warm water. Neem soap is especially beneficial due to its antibacterial properties. Wipe your feet dry and sit in a comfortable position so you can easily reach your feet.
- Apply Ayurvedic foot massage oil such as our Youthful Skin Massage Oil or Tridoshic Holy Foot Balm to one of your feet for lubrication.
- Start by gently rubbing the base of your little (fifth) toe.
- Continue at the base, gently rubbing your Ayurvedic foot massage oil into your next (fourth) toe.
- Next, apply slight pressure between the fifth and fourth toes.
- Then, rub between the third and fourth toes.
- Next, massage, stretch, and pull the big toe gently and rub each side of the nail.
- Then massage the ball of your foot in a circular motion. Apply gentle pressure on both sides of your heel below the ankle joint, followed by circling around your ankle joint with both hands in a clockwise motion. This improves circulation and the energy level of the body.
- Finally, massage your calf muscle to release tension. Repeat the same steps on your other foot.
Ayurvedic treatment for foot corns
Corns, like calluses, develop from an accumulation of dead skin cells, forming thick and hard areas on the tops, sides, and tips of the toes. Constant pressure and friction from footwear can press these areas and cause pain. Instead of chemical corn-removing solutions, which can increase irritation, try the following simple remedy from Vaidya Agrawal.
- Roast one garlic clove (dry or in a little ghee) until golden, but not burnt.
- While still warm, apply the garlic clove on the corn and place a Band-Aid over it. Use one clove of garlic for each corn. Leave it on for a day.
- Apply daily until corn falls off.
- Massage feet with Organic Sesame Massage Oil to soften skin and prevent the recurrence of corns.
Preventing foot odour
Smelly feet can result from perspiration, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Synthetic shoes and socks increase the problem by not letting your feet breathe. The following recipe naturally deodorizes your feet.
- Perform the herbal foot bath according to the instructions above, but add one half to one teaspoon of salt to the water.
- Mix one part cornstarch, three parts bentonite clay, and three to four drops of peppermint essential oil.
- Make a paste by adding cold water to a small amount of the above mix. Apply paste on your feet for 20-30 minutes.
- Wash paste off with lukewarm water and dry thoroughly.
Do this procedure every day for a month or until the problem disappears, then twice a week. You can also sprinkle the powder mix in your shoes or socks during the day. As in every area of Maharishi Ayurveda, the emphasis is on prevention in foot care as well. If you give your feet a break, they will serve you better and help you stay free from discomfort.
Just a few simple self-care practices, such as these foot care tips, added to your routine can go a long way toward keeping your entire body, and mind, balanced and healthy. Add a new Ayurvedic practice like daily foot massage with oil to help prevent foot problems and relieve tension while feeling great!