A foot spa is a great, and free, way to relax at home. Foot spas provide different kinds of massages including vibration, bubble and heat massage.
Foot spas are generally safe to use for most people. But you should take a few precautions, especially if you have a health condition like diabetes or a nerve problem.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Foot Spa?
The biggest reason to use a foot spa is that it’s relaxing. It probably can’t compare to visiting a spa where you have someone massaging your feet, but it’s perfect for everyday use at home.
You’ll especially love it if you spend most of the day standing or walking. The combined vibration, massage and bubbles from a foot spa helps relax tight muscles, reduces foot soreness, and fatigue-induced foot swelling.
A foot spa can also help with poor blood circulation. Massage widens blood vessels (vasodilation), which improves blood flow.
One study found that massage not only benefits the point of application (in this case, your feet) but your whole body as well. It improves the function of various body systems including the immune system, muscles and brain.
The heat therapy from the warm water also reduces aches, improves blood circulation, and improves nerve function. This is helpful for people with conditions such as diabetes, plantar fasciitis, and arthritis.
If you are an athlete or have an active lifestyle, using it for 15 minutes at the end of an active day boosts recovery and reduces the risk of injury.
What Kind of Foot Spa Should I Get?
Look for a foot spa that provides at least three different kinds of massages: heat, vibration and bubbles.
For heat massage, get one with a keep-warm function. This ensures water stays warm, eliminating the need to keep refilling the spa.
For vibration, most foot spas use rollers that vibrate. You can also move your feet over these rollers to massage your acupressure points.
A bubble massage complements the vibration and heat features, helping you relax and unwind.
Also, make sure you get a good quality foot spa that is safe to use. Only buy from reputable manufacturers and check that the product has safety certifications such as the CE mark.
How to Use a Foot Spa (Safely)
As with any product, especially an electric product, it’s essential to read the user manual. Learn how to use it safely and what precautions to take.
Foot spas are generally safe. Some people feel a bit nervous about having water and electricity too close, but it is highly unlikely that it will electrocute you.
As long as you buy from a reputable brand and get a foot spa with the CE mark, there’s no cause for concern. Foot spas are designed with multiple layers of protection to keep you safe.
These include multiple layers of insulation and watertight electrical housing.
Most foot spas also have overheat protection that automatically shuts down the unit if the water gets too hot.
Even with a safe and good quality foot spa, you’ll still need to do your part to stay safe. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when using a foot spa.
- Only plug in the spa into a safe, functional outlet.
- Do not fill water beyond the maximum indicated point. Overfilling could cause the water to overflow when you put your feet in and interact with electrical components.
- Do not run the foot spa dry. This can damage the heating element and other parts. Add water to the foot spa before turning it on.
Be extra-cautious if you have any medical conditions such as diabetes and neuropathy. Some manufacturers will state expressly that their foot spas are not safe for people with certain health conditions.
You should also talk to your doctor before using it for the first time.
When it comes to diabetics, some doctors say it’s safe to use it as long as you are successfully managing diabetes. It can help with neuropathy and blood circulation.
For pregnant women, foot massages are generally safe. So a foot spa is also safe, but talk to your healthcare provider first.
How Long to Use a Foot Spa?
The safest duration to massage and pamper your feet in a foot spa is 15 minutes. That’s plenty of time for your muscles and body to relax, but not too long that the heat and vibration become uncomfortable.
Some foot spas have an auto shut-off feature that turns off the unit after 15 minutes. Others let you set a timer for up to 15-30 minutes.
Both the timer and auto shut-off features are handy if you often find yourself dozing off in the middle of a massage.
How Often to Use a Foot Spa?
For most people, a once a day session with a foot spa is enough to experience all its benefits. The best time is in the evening when your feet are sore and tired, and you need to relax in preparation for bedtime.
If you have pains and aches in your feet, two sessions a day is also safe – in the morning and evening.
Remember to listen to your body. Some people find they love using a foot spa even three times a day for 15 minutes at a time. Others find they can only do it once. And others prefer using it only 2-3 times a week.
Try different approaches until you find a schedule that works best and is safe for you.