Mustard oil Ayurveda
Tucked away in America’s ayurveda books are intriguing references to the benefits of foot massage. In Dhanwantari, Harish Johari writes, “Diseases do not go near one who massages his feet before sleep, just as snakes do not approach eagles.” And in Prakriti, Robert Svoboda says, “When you have no time to massage your whole body, at least massage the soles of your feet.” But where do these statements come from? And what do they mean? To investigate, YogaInternational consulted a keeper of ayurveda’s oral tradition: Dr. Vasant Lad, a renowned ayurvedic physician from India and head of the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He told us everything we wanted to know about feet—and more. His knowledge shapes and informs this article.
Ask the average American what she thinks about her feet and she’ll inevitably say, “They hurt, ” “They’re ugly, ” or “They stink.” Ours is not a culture conditioned to honor or appreciate our feet—a pair of misfit trolls that bears the burden of our weight and carries us from place to place. By living indoors and wearing shoes during most of our waking hours, we have become more distanced from our feet than our ancestors, who knew the value of caring for their feet after a hard day’s work. Lovers, parents, children, friends, neighbors, folk healers, and physicians have practiced the art of foot massage since time immemorial. Ancient texts, illustrations, and artifacts reveal that people in places as far-flung as Russia, Japan, Thailand, Iran, Peru, and North America used foot massage to relieve pain, treat disease, and promote overall health. The Chinese used a combination of foot massage and acupuncture to treat illnesses more than 5, 000 years ago. And in Saqqara, Egypt, a wall painting dating from 2300 B.C. in the tomb of Ankhamor depicts people massaging each other’s toes. The ancient Egyptians believed that the body was a symphony of vibrations that could be tuned, or played, by manipulating points on the feet.Ours is not a culture conditioned to honor or appreciate our feet—a pair of misfit trolls that bears the burden of our weight and carries us from place to place.