One of my children’s favorite family activities is when we give each other a foot massage. As a Mom of four, I love to find ways to replenish myself and connect with my kids. I also like to show my children that there are easy ways of taking care of yourself right at home. These self-care practices are a way you can make your body, mind, and heart healthy. In fact, foot massage can have a direct impact on your immune system. When your senses have time to soak in the relaxation of muscle, fat, and nerve tissue it can actually strengthen who you are. This sense of self is the base for cellular intelligence. In Chinese Medicine and in Ayurvedic Medicine this relationship, or understanding, reinforces the difference between you and the outside world. There is a superfine hormone-like material that helps control your immunity. It is considered the first physically recognizable matter in all bodily tissues. In Ayurvedic Medicine it is called "Ojas.”
I find it interesting that “Ojas” means “essence of love” when translated from Sanskrit. This matter is also known as your creative potential. Therefore, for your body to have immunity it must know itself deeply in its present moment and in the receiving of its future growth. “Love thyself” is not just a way of treating yourself, but becomes your body’s code for identification. This "Ojas" shows up in every cell of your body. When the body is producing and maintaining Ojas in its system, it can give off a blissful state to the consciousness of the individual. To build love builds your immunity, builds your bones, builds your connection. No one can deny the joyful energy that children natrually bring to the world. Foot massage helps them to learn how to contain and cultivate their creativity and strength. It will provide them with a lifetime of wellness.
I like to offer foot massage when we are tired, feeling over- active, or at the changing over of a season. Here's how our foot massages go:
1. Get out your towels
2. Make the room cozy (you can burn some candles, or even use the battery operated candles, light a fire, turn down the lights)
3. Take off your socks
4. Take turns giving and receiving
5. If the feet are dry use oil (cooking oil is fine--sesame, coconut, or almond oil) is recommended) -- just keep it safe from your rugs and very little hands).
**Note- it is not recommended to use oil when someone has a fever.
First, I give them a foot massage so they can feel it, or have them watch me give someone else a massage as I put it to a story. You can make up your own. I like to use a story so that the younger children have something to picture in their heads. I recommend using a story where the children are traveling so that they pick up the sense that they need to be gentle, quiet, and watchful when giving massage. My oldest still remembers from when she was four and I taught her class about some astronauts landing on the moon. This is a version of that story:
Pretend your hands are a rocket ship taking off. First, heat up the rocket boosters by rubbing your hands together until you feel the fire, then blast off your ship (hands interlocked) into space. Find a “moon” foot to land on making sure to take a slow approach so you don’t crash your ship. Once landed, take out you first two fingers for these are the bravest of your astronauts. These astronauts will want to explore, but remember they have special boots that make them move very slowly. They have to push off from one finger to the next to get around the moon. The astronauts find a hill at the top of the “moon” foot and so they climb up and slide down landing on a toe. This is great fun so they do this many times. One time they slide so far they almost fall off the top of the moon and without any gravity they have to hold on to the toes to keep from flying away. As they are hanging off the toes they discover the underside of the moon. It is built up with rivers and mountains. It looks so beautiful that they quickly run back to their ship to get all the other astronaut fingers. They climb to the very top of the foot. All together with one giant push they slide down the foot and as they hold onto each toe, they are able to make it to the other side. They decide they would like to stay on this part of the moon for a long time. Luckily they brought tents for the trip and their tools. They would need to set up camp and then go out looking for food. Twisting their knuckles gently along the bottom of the moon they are able to make holes for the stakes. Once they get the tents up, they hammer each corner stake in case it gets windy. The camp is all set up so they head out to find food. First, they climb to the bottom and look around the heel. There is no food. So, they venture to climb up the foot towards the toes. Almost by accident they discover when they touch the tip of each toe out fall some “moon” apples. These were quite good. The skin of the apple was a shiny yellow color and it made them feel strong. They jumped up and down with delight.
They spent three days exploring the bottom of the moon and on the third night they decided it was time to clean up. They gently collapsed their tents. And, with their shovels this time they covered the holes they had made for their stakes. Once finished, they packed up their bags and made sure everything was picked up. Then, they swept up (using the tips of their fingers) and hiked back to the ship. Saying goodbye, they warmed up their boosters and blasted away back for home.
Have fun creating your own foot massage adventure.
~Sarah Adams Pyne