I went through chemotherapy cancer treatment and now I have numbness in my lower legs and feet. It makes it hard to do standing and balance poses in my yoga classes because I can’t feel the souls of my feet. Can Yoga Therapy help me?
Dear Tingle Toes,
Mayoclinic.com describes this condition as “Peripheral neuropathy, a result of damage to your peripheral nerves. It often causes weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet…Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes and exposure to toxins [such as chemotherapy]. “
The good news is that nerve cells in general are pretty resilient. Even in the case of a pinched nerve if you can get the nerve un-pinched it has a great chance of healing and functioning 100% normally again.
In the Yoga Therapy view peripheral neuropathy is considered a “Vata” imbalance. Vata is related to air and dryness. Healthy nerves have a fatty covering around them called a myelin sheth. Damaged or depleted myelin sheaths impede the nerves ability to send their messages to the brain and can cause neuropathy – tingling, numbness and pain
This Vata imbalance relates to a dryness in the nerves or loss of the fatty myelin covering. A simple and effective thing you can do is the Ayurvedic self massage technique called Abhyanga. Start by warming a bottle of organic sesame oil. Then use a dry brush on your legs with an upward stroke on the areas that they are numb. Then massage the warmed oil into your legs and feet. Wait a couple of minutes allowing the oil to soak in and then take a warm shower or bath. This technique is done to restore the fat around the nerve cells and encourage their rejuvenation.
Give it a try and let us know how it works for you!