Foot massage has been around for hundreds of years, and spans many cultures. It’s frequently been used to improve health and relax the body. These days, most forms of foot massage borrow elements from a variety of disciplines, such as shiatsu and reflexology. These traditions operate on the belief that applying pressure to the more than 7,000 nerves in the foot can release energetic blockages in the rest of the body. Foot massage and reflexology can be used as pain relief, to help alleviate stress and even to speed up injury recovery.
Traditionally, foot massages are performed using the hands, although treatments may sometimes include the use of sticks or rollers to more effectively stimulate the reflex areas in the foot.
Whether you’re giving yourself a foot rub, or enjoying a treatment from a reflexology practitioner, a foot massage can be a rewarding complimentary massage treatment that positively impacts your entire body.
Benefits of a foot massage
There are many potential benefits to foot massage, including:
A sense of balance and wellbeing
A foot massage can help to relax the whole body, helping you to sleep better, and leaving you with a rejuvenated energy to bring to your day.
Massaging the extremities helps with the circulation of blood around the body, promoting cell repair and growth.
A drop in cortisol
Firm pressure on the solar plexus region of the foot is said to encourage a drop in the body’s stress hormone, cortisol.
DIY Foot Massage
Although it’s worth finding a professional to show you how it’s done, you can also give yourself or a friend a foot massage at home. Try these steps:
- Wash your feet (and dry them well)
- Apply lotion or oil to your hands, covering the fingers and palms.
- Rub your feet all over, making sure to go between the toes too.
- Hold the top of each foot with both hands, and use small circular motions with your thumbs on each toe, working down to the base of your foot and right up to the ankle
- Now do the same to the base of your foot. You can afford to use a bit more pressure here! Working from the top of the toes, move to down towards the heel.
- You may also wish to loosen the joints by twisting and rotating the feet and toes.
- Now firmly but gently press the pad of the foot. This is where you’ll find reflexology points. You can use a map to target certain areas.
- Repeat the above steps on the other foot.
The main reflexology points in the foot are said to be as follows:
- Spine – instep
- Liver – outside of right foot
- Spleen – outside of left foot
- The head and face – toes
- Lower back, lower limbs, genitals – heel
- Kidneys – sole of the feet