Archive for February 17th, 2018

Photo: Nadine Greeff

Did you know that one-quarter of the bones in your body are in your feet? Our feet are sturdy, reliable, and can handle miles upon miles of supporting the weight of our bodies. But to that end, they are also the most overworked and under-appreciated limb. Often the only time they get to rest at heart level to restore is when we’re sleeping, so making a weekly or monthly ritual of giving them a little extra TLC will not only help your feet feel better, it will provide relief for your entire body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are many meridians that converge in the feet and spending a little time with them with acupressure, self-massage, body oils, and salts help us feel grounded.

Set your timer for 20 minutes (or don’t, if you have more time), put on your favorite relaxing playlist, and get ready for a real treat.

1. Prep.

Light a candle, palo santo stick, or a bundle of sage to smudge—even if it’s during the day, a burning ritual is a wonderful way to set the mood.

Before getting your feet wet, remove any nail polish that may be left over with non-acetone nail polish. After giving the feet a rinse, you have the option to buff your toenails. This is helpful if your nails tend to have ridges but feel free to skip this step if you’re short on time or prefer a more natural look.

2. Soak for five to ten minutes.

Using warm to hot water and your favorite bath salts, run a foot soak. You can do this in your bathtub or, if you don’t have one, a big lobster pot or stew pot works just as well. Epsom salt baths help soothe sore and tired muscles, so adding the salt a good place to start. Feel free to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil—astringent scents like eucalyptus or peppermint can be especially therapeutic. Top it off with an oil like avocado, jojoba, or even olive oil to help the skin stay moisturized.

Sit here for five to 10 minutes soaking it up and letting the salts and oils work on your feet. Put your phone away—this is not a time to answer emails or scroll through Instagram—and pick up a favorite, book, magazine, or your journal instead. Another idea is to use this time as a five to ten minute meditation.

3. Buff the feet and calves with an exfoliating scrub.

Once your soak starts to cool down, take your favorite body scrub and massage it into the feet and calves. If you don’t have a body scrub on hand, you can make one easily with brown sugar and olive oil. Add a 1/2 cup of brown sugar to a bowl, and about a 1/8 cup of olive oil. Stir until the sugar is coated, adding more sugar or oil as needed.

Take your time here—spend at least a full minute per leg sloughing off the dead skin working around the ankles, on the heels, and the balls of the feet where it tends to get a calloused and rough.

4. Moisturize with a muscle-soothing oil or balm.

Rinse off the scrub with warm water and pat it dry with a cotton towel. Then, using a muscle soothing oil or balm, moisturize your foot and bottom leg. Oils containing arnica and astringent, mentholated extracts like peppermint are known for their ability to calm and release sore muscles. Try EiR’s roll-on liniment oil, Weleda’s arnica massage oil, or look for a natural oil in your local health food store that contains arnica. Be sure to get the full calf and foot.

5. Set aside a minute or two for acupressure.

Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbologist, and mbg class instructor Paige Bourassa recommends foot acupressure in routines that help ease lower back pain, can help you sleep by moving stagnant energy, quell PMS symptoms and cramping, dull the pain of headaches, and more. In each of these acupressure sequences, there’s a specific pressure point on the foot that helps facilitate a release.

If you want to get fancy, use a tennis, lacrosse, or trigger point ball underneath the feet once they’re dry to roll out any residual tension.



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Photo: Alexander Grabchilev

The beauty of self-love lies in the ritual, the actual practice of it. And what better time of the year to discover a new self-love ritual than Valentine’s Day? Even if you’re not currently in a romantic relationship, it’s an occasion to celebrate love, fertility, romance, and passion of all sorts. And let’s be honest, a little extra love can do everyone a world of good. Here are a few spiritually infused practices to help you call it in:

1. Be your own love scribe.

Grab a diary, journal, notepad, or even postcard and pen, and allow yourself to write about what love means to you, letting your heart do the talking. By channelling your heart’s desires, you can release old wounds, let go of what no longer serves you, outline what you wish to bring into your life, and even send out well wishes for others. When you are writing about something negative or love that you want to release, use a black pen. If you are writing positive things that you wish to manifest, use a red pen. Burn anything you write in black so it can be banished. Bury anything you write in red so that it can grow and be nourished.

2. Feed your appetite for love.

No, this doesn’t mean seeking out dipped strawberries and Hersey’s kisses. (Although a few squares of dark chocolate never hurt anyone.) I’m talking about choosing to nourish your body with an infusion of self-love. Find a book that lights your heart aglow, watch a feel-good film, or spend time with like-minded souls who you love and adore. Energetically feast on things that nourish you inside and out.

3. Dance with your senses.

Light a few candles, burn rose-scented incense, dim the lights, and allow your senses to be seduced. Or, if you have a bath, throw in a few flower petals or floral essential oils for an indulgent soak.

4. Steep a special tea.

Combine herbs that sing to your heart and senses. Try thyme, which is associated with affection and devotion, calming lavender, or joy-inducing oregano. (This can also make a beautiful gift for someone you know who needs a pinch of extra love in their day.) Don’t just go through the motions of it; be mindful throughout the whole process of making your tea. Use it as an opportunity to think about what you adore about yourself and others in your life. As you sip your brew, imagine that you’re physically drinking love.

5. Bump up any ritual with rose quartz.

A rose quartz crystal can take any ritual up a notch. I personally like to wear a rose quartz close to my heart by wearing it in a necklace. You can also hold one in your hand as you meditate, affirming to yourself, “Here, my heart finds peace.” This is a soothing and sensual ritual that will melt away any matters of the heart.

Self-love shouldn’t be exclusive to Valentine’s. Call upon these rituals whenever you need a dose of positivity. The rules are up to you: Combine them; practice them separately; make them your own. Here’s to some serious love magic.


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