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Natural Health

Keeping your feet in fine fettle

Kavita Mukhi
Until a year ago I always wore footwear produced by a particular company in Mumbai. But the last couple of times I had to order my shoes, especially since they had stopped production. However, last year I resolved to be less fussy and bought my footwear from another store. My requirement besides comfort is that my shoes shouldn’t look too masculine or ugly on my dainty feet — a consideration born not out of vanity, but the fact that I often need to wear the same shoes at work and business dinners.

Last year I ended up buying ten pairs which fulfilled the conditions of comfort and sleekness. However, last month I found myself dragging my feet. I felt tired just getting to work rather than at the end of it. Which was rather strange because my business had just experienced a change of ownership and its new potential was very exciting. In short, there was absolutely no cause for my not being my normal, energetic self.

Several sessions of introspection and meditation brought home the realisation that I am somewhat hyperactive and can’t sit still even in a typical office environment. Which means I’m on my feet quite a lot. Indeed I seize every opportunity to walk, especially in the sunshine because I miss its energy in my typical city life. All this cerebration led me to the conclusion that my shoes although not uncomfortable, were not really giving my feet the support they needed to do all the running around I have to do. Even flat shoes didn’t help. My feet designed to walk on grass, sand, earth, rather than concrete, were unhappy.

Feet are important. We need to take care of them, so not to stress them out. I went back to the footwear company with a worn out sample of the shoes that had stood me in good stead for so long. As a result, I now sport one of the two pairs they customised for me. After a year of suffering, I’m once again walking on cloud nine. Mind you, these aren’t fancy designer shoes or recommended by podiatrists. They simply suit my feet and their needs.

All this helped me recall a lecture I had been to in Florida where, in typical American fashion, the speaker went on and on about the importance of one’s feet and how most people tend to neglect them. But he had a point. When you think about it, our feet carry us where we want to go, with whatever weight we want to lug around, all day, each day of our lives. Shodding them with decent footwear is the least we can do for them. Soaking them in warm water, with sea salt and an aroma oil of your choice is another. It’s soothing and energising, like saying thank you to your feet.

High or any other kind of heels that don’t sit well on the arch of your foot will not only cause your feet to hurt, but also cause your back to ache. Nevertheless for many women who opt for looking taller, wearing outrageously high heels is more important than feeling comfy and healthy, whatever it costs in terms of aches and pains.

The same argument is applicable to other parts of our complex bodies. We may not be aware of it but whatever chore we are doing, be it washing clothes, bending to make a bed, or even sitting at a desk, the right posture is important to prevent spinal stress. Bending at the knees or squatting when necessary instead of bending over, curbs bad posture. Sitting rather than standing while executing a task, sleeping on a cotton mattress of the right density, balancing what you are carrying, etc — these little precautions stave off back and leg pain including the incidence of varicose veins.

It’s helpful also to sit with your legs tucked under the torso even when seated on a chair. Whether I am at a friend’s house, at a restaurant or at the theatre, I feel as though energy is flowing out of my legs unless I tuck them under or sit cross-legged. At home too my feet are never below my torso level, even at meal times. Luckily no one looks under the table!

Sitting at floor level to eat or drawing your feet up under you while seated on a chair during meals, has been known to assist digestion. My grandmother would not only sit on the chair with her legs up under her, but actually raise one leg so as to form an armrest. I often unconsciously assume this position when writing or eating. In the good old days this was exactly how women cooked in their country kitchens. They didn’t stand and labour but sat at floor level and prepared delicious meals on slow fires, which exuded peaceful energy as compared to the frenetic fast foods dished out today. Indeed squatting or sitting on the floor while cooking, reading or writing etc, aids the digestive system, is good for general agility and prepares women for giving birth while controlling a predisposition to varicose veins, water retention and other women’s ailments.

Getting back to caring for our feet, the socket under one of my left toes was causing some pain. Simultaneously my right eye seemed to be under strain. I soon realised that the nerve endings of the toes are connected to the eyes. So massaging that socket resulted in the cure of my eye. Washing it in rose water with a grain of turmeric immersed, also proved extremely helpful.

There are umpteen nerve endings on the soles of our feet connected to all parts of the body. Therefore foot massages are very therapeutic. Any natural oil can be used. My favourites are organic coconut, almond and apricot oils. I know that if I haven’t slept well and have a headache, massaging the sole of the foot helps much more than pressing the head! Similarly there are any number of ways in which you can take care of your feet, crucial for giving you a natural balance and shape.

Activity being a prerequisite of good health, we need our feet to be in fine fettle to serve us life long. If we take good care of them, they will return the compliment and take care of us.

(Kavita Mukhi is a Mumbai-based eco-nutritionist and director of Conscious Food)

1982 Views  | Posted on:March 2005 Add Comment  Show Comments (0)