We use them everyday. They carry us from place to place. They can peddle us over mountains, run through thick forests, and swim through deeps seas. If our feet are so important, why don’t we keep better care of them? Here are some great tips to help you balance better from head to toe.
Yoga can help realign the body, mind and spirit. The integral process starts from our roots, otherwise known as our feet. Unfortunately, over the last 100 years the foot has become more of a fashion statement, than a sacred member of the body.
Did you know that walking in shoes with heels causes almost 25% more pressure per inch of height? For the average sized person, that can easily add up to more pressure per square inch than an elephant experiences while walking around bare-foot all day. No wonder women have four times the amount of foot problems than men. It must be related to all those stylish high heels.
Needless to say, many diseases show their first signs by causing problems in the feet. If our feet are out of alignment, the body follows. So, it is very important to keep our feet in healthy order.
Here are some top tips at keeping fantastically fit feet.
Put Your Feet Up
It is certainly a great idea to relax the feet. It is an even better idea to keep the feet over your head for a few minutes at a time.
Keeping the feet above the head for several minutes will slow blood circulation and allow the release of deep tension in the lower body. In Yoga, “Legs Up the Wall” pose can greatly assist with relieving all sorts of foot pains. Click here to view a detailed instruction on how to properly practice ‘Legs Up the Wall’. For maximum relaxation, try a few ‘sand-bag weights’ on the soles of the feet while holding pose.
Pamper Those Toes
Requesting foot massages from friends and family is a wonderful idea if seeking better foot health. However, locating a reputable Reflexology/Acupressure practitioner may inspire a greater tension release. The precise pressure on certain areas of the body, known as pressure points, can release blockages all over the body. If you experience pain regularly, definitelybook a Reflexology / Acupressure appointment soon. You may find that pain in your knee goes away after receiving such specialized foot care.
The Right Sox
Sox play a huge roll in our lives. They are the first line of defence when it comes to healthy feet. That being said, the fabric and dyes used to make our sox are an important thing to consider.
Since we are accustomed to wearing sox all day and there are many sweat glands/pores on our feet, it would be a healthy idea to choose socks that are made out of organic materials such as cotton or hemp. These high quality fabrics help keep moisture away from the foot, decreasing the chances of bacterial growth. Furthermore, for those with sensitive skin; be mindful of the types of dyes used to colour socks. This helps to avoid toxic skin reactions, as well as unwanted chemical exposure.
Castor Oil Treatment
To treat the feet, grab some top quality Castor Oil from your local health food store. Before bed, rub the thick oil to the bottoms of your feet, then cover up with a favorite pair of socks. By morning, all of the oil will absorb into the body, and your feet will feel super fresh and silky. This is a wonderful solution for dry feet, especially during winter months.
Tennis Ball 4 Tension
Along with your morning stretch routine, try rolling a tennis or golf ball under your feet for optimum stimulation. This is also a great practice right before bed. Warning to those with ‘uber’ tense feet; this tender foot release can be highly addictive due to the fact that it feels SO good!
The Right Size
The easiest way to ensure optimum foot health for the rest of your life is to wear the right sized shoe with a regular sized heel incline. Squeezing into shoes can lead to many foot issues, for example ‘foot corns’. And wearing shoes too big (aka clown shoes) can cause many knee and back problems. As the age old saying goes, “…if the shoe fits then you should wear it”.
Avoid cold toes. Grab a pair of thick warm socks in the winter and avoid pain later. Consistently cold feet can cause a weakened immune system, leading to a greater chance of catching the colds/flu. This is certainly an important fact to consider when living in colder climates.
Walking, jogging or skipping can naturally activate many pressure points in the feet. These simple exercises can help strengthen the muscles in the feet, as well as keep the rest of the body in tip top shape.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to stretch out the back, front and sides of each foot. The more you stretch, the less tension will be present in the foot.
To conclude this article, here is a great 5 minute Yoga stretch sequence for optimum foot health. Practice regularly to achieve happy healthy feet for life.
5 Minute Yoga Sequence For Foot Health
- Start in ‘standing position’.
- Raise your right heel up but keep the base of your toes placed firmly on the ground. Concentrate on lengthening in the back of the right foot.
- Switch to the left foot and repeat back and forth 2-5 more times.
- Take several breaths stretching each foot slowly.
- Next, raise each foot up separately and rotate the ankle several times each way.
Use a wall or chair for support if needed.
Gently kneel on the floor and sit back onto your heels. This may be enough to feel a stretch in the tops of your feet.
- For greater intensity, move the heels slightly outward and if your body allows, sink your back side onto the floor.
- From this position, place your hands behind and gently rock backwards, knees should float up into the air as the tops of the feet stretch.
This should feel good, release immediately if there is any pain.
Move into a ‘squat position’ with your feet as close together as possible.
- On your next exhale move your torso between your upper legs and knees.
- As you release your head forward, try to grab your ankles/heels with each corresponding hand. Your knees may need to widen more to accommodate for your shoulders.
- Try to keep both feet flat on the floor. For those with tight calf muscles, this will not be possible unless practiced every day.
- Concentrate on lengthening the backs of the feet. Breath into the heels.
- Stay here for several breaths then relax back into childs pose for a few more breaths.
Always remember to be kind to your feet. You wouldn’t get anywhere without them.