Ayurvedic Pada Abhyanga | Benefits & Correct Technique for ayurvedic foot massage

Ayurvedic Pada Abhyanga | Benefits & Correct Technique for ayurvedic foot massage

Are you searching for simple ayurvedic therapies that can positively impact the mind, body and soul? Try a pada abhyanga  also known as foot massage in Ayurveda.

The foot is an area rich in many nerve endings with connections to many important organ systems located in each foot. By using medicated oil liberally applied to the feet to slowly give a soothing massage to the foot  , we can impact many vital areas in the body including the eye.

Padabhyanga therapy is a special ayurvedic technique that brings in relaxation and improve mental health. Padhabhyangam is also known to stimulate and improves blood and lymph circulation reducing fatigue. This traditional ayurvedic practice also improves eye health and deepens sleep quality. 

Lets understand in depth its importance in ayurveda , how to do this practice and how it helps us. 

 

How an ayurvedic foot massage helps in different sleep issues

 Difficulty falling asleep and very light sleep is linked to unbalanced Vata Dosha. 

 To calm Vata Dosha, Ayurveda suggests using well-formulated Ayurvedic “Tailas” or Ayurvedic Herbal Oils to soothe the body and mind and calm down Vata Dosha.

This process of applying an ayurvedic oil to balance Vata Dosha through the body is called “Abhyanga”. A special kind of Abhyanga is a Pada Abhyanga which means foot massage. Pada Abhyanga is a special foot massage in Ayurveda, which is done by applying oil to the soles of the feet, around the ankles and the Achilles tendon.

A pada abhyanga can be done as a part of an overall body Abhyanga or can be done especially at night. When done as a standalone practice at night, padabhyangam is known to stimulate circulation, calm the nerves, reduce fatigue and improve sleep quality.

It regulates the central nervous system, relieves anxiety, reduces  fatigue and stiffness in the legs, and promotes high-quality sleep. It also effectively improves blood and lymph circulation in the feet. It helps calm disturbances of the autonomic nervous system. Therefore it helps the body relax, & reduces water accumulation & tiredness.

Benefits of Pada abhyanga

 Pitta Dosha also plays a role in certain kinds of disturbed sleep. If you fall asleep easily, but find that you wake up a few hours after you sleep and are unable to go back to sleep, you may be experiencing derangement in Pitta dosha.

The Ayurvedic pada abhyanga also helps balance deranged Pitta and nourishes and soothes eye strain. It helps in settling disturbed sleep cycles by gently soothing the nerve endings, & balancing deranged Pitta dosha. It also improves cardiovascular circulation in the foot which is very helpful in aggravated Pitta dosha. 

 

Benefits of an Ayurvedic pada abhyanga

 Ayurvedic texts list certain wellness practices to be done daily. These practices fall into “Dinacharya” or a list of daily wellness practices. The Ayurvedic oil massage or Abhyanga is a powerful Dinacharya.

While describing the benefits of Abhyanga, the Ayurvedic texts pay special emphasis to the benefits of  "pada abhyanga" or & explain many benefits when we massage the foot with medicated oil . 

 Benefits of this ayurvedic treatment listed in Charaka Samhita:

  •       Keeps the feet well moisturised – removed roughness and dryness
  •       Removes pain and fatigue and numbness
  •       Reduces inflammation and tenderness in the feet
  •       Clarifies eyesight
  •       Balances deranged Vata dosha from around the feet and lower limbs
  •       Reduces the tendency towards sciatica
  •       Reduces cracking of feet, and constriction of blood vessels and ligaments in the feet
Caharaka Samhita on benefits of ayurvedic foot massage

 

How to fit in a padabhyanga every night into your schedule?

A pada abhyanga is one of the easiest and simplest Ayurvedic wellness rituals to fit into your schedule. The benefits of foot massage before bed are numerous and this ritual positively impacts the quality and timing of your sleep cycle. An ayurvedic foot massage also nourishes and helps rejuvenate the eyes, so it is well worth the effort.

why should you fit in a pada abhyanga into your night routine?

 Oiling and massaging your feet does not have to be a long-drawn-out ritual. It takes only ten minutes. It is best to do this before bedtime. Ayurvedic oil is quickly absorbed into the skin for most people. There would be no need to wash the foot after the massage or wear protective socks. 

 Ayurveda tells us that nadis / special nerves that connect different organ systems end in our feet. These can be manipulated by massage on marma / vital points / energy points that help us conect to these nadis. 

So when ayurvedic foot massage is done at night with herbal oil, we can slowly impact many connected organ systems. One clear example is how we can positively improve eyesight by doing an ayurvedic foot massage.

 What you need to start your Ayurveda foot massage:

  •       A well-formulated Ayurvedic Oil
  •       An old towel/piece of cloth to place your feet on while doing the pada abhyanga
  •       Oil warmer – if you live in a very cold climate alone

What oil should be used for pada abhyanga

 An ayurvedic pada abhyanga is a therapeutic aid for better dosha balance, sleep and eye care. 

Plain vegetable oils like Coconut oil, Castor oil,Sesame oil or olive oil are unsuitable. Also products with essential oils should be avoided. Only ayurvedic medicated oil should be used. 

Classical Ayurvedic oils like Dhanwantra tailam, Pinda tailam, Mahanarayana tailam can be used for both for a full body massage & a therapeutic foot massage.  Any classical Ayurvedic oil should be ideally presecribed by a vaidya. 

 

From the Krya range, we suggest the following oils. They can be used both for a soothing massage for the entire body or for pada abhyanga alone:

which krya oil to choose for pada abhyanga

  • If you are emaciated, do high-intensity exercise, are postpartum or are a senior citizen: Combine the suitable Krya Abhyanga oil with the Krya Pushti oil (Pushti oil is excellent for rejuvenation and imparting strength)
  • If you are recovering post Covid and are lean or have very high joint pain, use a combination of Intense Abhyanga Oil + Pushti Oil. For moderate - heavy build, or moderate joint pain , use a combination of Krya Classic Abhyanga Oil + Krya Pushti Oil

 Correct Pada abhyanga technique for foot care & better health 

Ideally pada abhyanga should be done on an empty stomach or after the earlier meal is fully digested. Time this between 1-2 hours after your dinner. 

  1. Sit comfortably with your back straight. Place your feet on an old towel to protect your bed sheet
  2. Switch off the A.C. Ensure your feet are clean before you begin the process
  3.  Use a combination of brisk shaking, extension and flexion of the toes, and twisting of the feet clockwise and anti-clockwise to warm up the feet. 
  4. Apply warm oil on the foot (one by one) and begin your ayurvedic herbal foot massage
  5. In Ayurvedic foot massage we pay attention to the toes, the space between the toes, the soles of the feet, the Achilles tendon, the ankle joint, and the alignment of the fine bones and ligaments in the entire foot and the overall structure of the foot. Massage from the ankle joint and achilles tendon to the entire foot.
  6. The exact massage techniques can be seen in the video shared below . Do watch our video on the complete Pada abhyanga technique for better sleep and relaxation here.
  7. If you have less time available, follow a smaller set of repetitions per movement. Children should have shorter, gentler pada abhyangas. Give them a soothing massage from the ankle onwards using very gentle pressure. 
  8. After the pada abhyanga, wipe the excess oil off the feet with a warm damp towel. For senior citizens, we recommend washing the foot with a paste of the Krya Intense ubtan in warm water and wiping the feet dry before sleeping. This is to prevent slips and also to protect from excess Kapha aggravation

 

Ayurvedic Foot massage technique - Watch video

To conclude: Benefits of Ayurvedic foot massage 

Ayurvedic wellness regimes are carefully studied and suggested by the Ayurvedic Acharyas to help build health, harmony and balance into our lives.

With a rise in stress, and anxiety today due to a variety of reasons, adopting a simple wellness routine like an ayurvedic foot massage can improve the flow of energy in the body, help us wind down, regulate the nervous system , promote better sleep & improve overall well-being.

The ayurvedic pada abhyanga is a therapeutic foot massage that is easy and simple to do, yet gives us multiple health benefits & improves foot health. 

We hope this article inspired you to try out this ancient wellness technique. You could read more about the benefits of a pada abhyanga here. Read this piece to understand how a daily abhyanga can additionally benefit you. For any further questions do write to us or WhatsApp Us.          

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