Abhyanga applied to the feet is a simple, enjoyable and healthy thing to do. It prevents dryness, cracks, and roughness of the skin; numbness, fatigue, sciatica, cramps; and contraction of ligaments, vessels, and muscles of the feet and legs. It removes Vayu from the body, promotes sturdy limbs and feet, strength for walking, and sound sleep. Further, nerves from all the organs in the head and body terminate in the feet (also in the hands, ears, and head). Thus, by rubbing the feet, persons tone the whole body. A close relationship exists between the feet, eyes, and ears. Foot Abhyanga helps heal and prevent disorders of hearing and sight. Four important nerves in the soles are connected to the head. Constant friction and pressure on the nerves in the soles reduce eye sight. Abhyanga on a daily basis, or at least several times a week, restores health to these nerves. It is best done before bedtime, rubbing the soles and tops of the feet with some warm sesame oil. This also fosters sound sleep.
After all abhyangas, patients are advised to rest for 1 to 2 hours before returning home. It is best if another person drives them home to avoid the stress of driving. If this is not possible, then when reaching home, they rest. Light meals and rest are advised for the remainder of the day. An early bedtime that evening is strongly suggested. Some people find abhyanga so relaxing that they sleep through the next day, releasing deep-seated stresses.
As discussed earlier in this section, persons with emotional problems may find the abhyangas too powerful. Therefore, it is advised to achieve mental balance slowly through herbs, foods, aromas, colors and if needed, professional counseling.
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