Nothing feels better than a good foot rub, but you may be surprised to know that there are many very real benefits to regular foot massage. Naturally, after a long day of hard work citing your feet and putting them up feels great, but this is just the start of the benefits.
In this article, we will touch on some of the many very good things about receiving regular foot massage. We will also share some excellent hands-on tips to help you give a great foot rub to yourself or someone else. Read on to learn more.
Benefits of foot massage
1. Relationship building & stress reduction: Giving your partner a foot massage at the end of the day is a great way to bond and encourage closeness. Regular human contact in general and foot massage specifically helps reduce anxiety and can even help alleviate depression and reduce stress. This is especially helpful for people who suffer from headaches, or are experiencing PMS or menopause.
2. Health & wellness benefits: Foot massage provides a number of direct physical benefits such as:
- Reduced joint pain
- Improved circulation
- Reduced swelling (edema)
- Strengthen the feet and ankles
- Improve flexibility and prevent injury
People suffering with chronic foot problems can especially derive physical benefits from regular deep foot massage. The combination of stress reduction and improved circulation has been shown to help lower blood pressure as well.
Follow these steps for a basic foot massage
1. Wash: A good foot massage begins with clean feet. Whether you are giving someone else a foot massage or massaging your own feet, start off with a soak in warm water or in a foot spa.
2. Towel briskly: After washing, towel-dry the feet gently, but briskly with fairly coarse toweling. This gives a nice overall massage and stimulates circulation.
3. Protect: Rest the feet on a clean, dry towel that is big enough to wrap around both feet. This will help to prevent massage oil spills and works to keep the feet warm and comfortable throughout the massage.
4. Oil: Once the feet are dry, apply a good quality of massage oil to both feet with broad, gentle strokes. Good choices in massage oil include jojoba oil, olive oil, coconut oil and grapeseed oil. Avoid petroleum based oils (e.g. baby oil) as they only coat the surface of the skin. They do not soak in and nourish the skin.
5. Focus: Once the oil is applied over the soles and tops of both feet and the ankles, choose the foot you want to focus on first and wrap the other one in the dry towel.
6. Stroke from ankle to toe: Start out by applying long, gliding strokes from the ankles down toward the toes. Glide your thumbs along the top of the foot and your fingers along the sole.
7. Massage toes separately: Pull on each toe lightly and individually and slide your fingers between the toes to separate them.
8. Stroke from toes to ankle: Now, reverse the direction of your massage by stroking firmly from toes to ankle. This is especially good for helping relieve swelling and edema.
9. Focus on the sole of the foot: Once the entire foot has been lightly massaged and stimulated, focus on the soles of the feet. Use your knuckles to glide deeply along the sole of the foot. This is a very good stress reliever for sore arches and for relief of ball of foot pain.
10. Stretch the foot: Finish up by grasping the foot in both hands with the thumbs pressed into the sole. Apply pressure to the ball of the foot and pull down with the fingers on the top/sides of the foot. Move back toward the heel to provide deep massage for the entire base of the foot and stretching for the top of the foot.
11. Stroke or circle: You can finish up your massage by going back to long, gliding strokes from ankles to toes or by simply using gentle circular motions to soothe the foot.
12. Wrap & switch: When you are finished one foot, be sure to wrap it in the dry toweling to keep warm while you focus on the other foot. Repeat steps 1-12. At the end of the massage wrap both feet and allow yourself or the person you are working on to rest.