5 Spot: Up With Feet!

Summer weather is here, and among the things to emerge from winter covers: my feet!

How lovely it feels to walk barefoot over the cool grass in my backyard, my toes rejoicing in their newly restored freedom. Our feet carry us, uncomplaining, over terrain rough and smooth, day in and day out, yet we rarely consider them. So I’ve decided to show my dogs some gratitude this month.

Here are five ways to treat your feet:

  1. A foot bath! Scatter chamomile flowers, a few slices of ginger, and a quarter cup of Epsom salts into a large bin of warm water. Soak your feet for 20 minutes. The herbs and minerals will draw out impurities; plus it just feels good! If you can turn off your electronics during this rest, all the better. In case of ankle and foot swelling, such as during pregnancy or travel, add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil to the footbath, and consider wearing compression knee socks. (If your feet or ankles swell often, consult your healthcare practitioner.)
  2. Try reflexology. Modern reflexology is based on an ancient form of therapy, evidently first practiced in China as long ago as 4,000 B.C. and at the same time in Egypt. Hieroglyphics found in the tomb of Ankmahor translate to: "Don't hurt me." The practitioner's reply: "I shall act so you praise me." Not only will your feet thank you, your whole body will!
  3. Sesame oil foot massage. When the air temps are high and dry, we can feel a little scattered due to our easily-deranged vata dosha. For a soothing, grounding Ayurvedic remedy, massage sesame oil into the soles of your feet in the evening, then put on cotton socks and go to bed. You’ll sleep well, and wake up feeling rested and more stable. The Co-op carries a couple brands of organic sesame oil, which you’ll find in the condiments aisle.
  4. For cool nights in the mountains: Socks. Socks. Socks! The Co-op carries a couple brands of socks made with organic cotton and/or recycled fiber. Maggie’s Organics socks are made in the USA of organic cotton or wool. PACT makes organic, fair trade cotton socks, in several stylish patterns. This reporter loves her PACT purple and white floral cotton knee socks.
  5. The human foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, and over a hundred muscles, tendons and ligaments. No wonder they sometimes hurt! For relief, consider acupuncture, massage, or Ayurvedic medicine. Check the Co-op’s Business Partner Listings, at moscowfoodcoop.org, for practitioners in our area. In ancient India, it was customary to touch the feet of one’s elders to show respect and to ask for their blessing.

Such a practice may be a little out of place here and now, but I’m going to take a cue from this tradition and let my feet remind me to be grateful for all that carries me along my path, from my parents and teachers to my own many-boned, ever-ready feet.