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What Is Foot Massage?

A foot massage involves applying pressure to the feet manually or using rollers to promote relaxation and improve overall well-being. Healing foot massage has been practised in many cultures for hundreds of years and in most of its forms borrows elements from shiatsu massage and reflexology. The latter is based on the principle that applying pressure to over 7,000 nerve endings in the feet can improve the function of the corresponding body part or system.  

Whether giving yourself a foot rub or receiving treatment at a foot massage spa, a regular massage helps relax the body, reduce stress, and even improve sleep.

What Happens During A Foot Massage?

Before starting your foot massage treatment, your therapist will check for blisters, cuts, bunions, corns, toenail problems and conditions like athlete’s foot. 

They will then choose a suitable foot massage technique that focuses specifically on the treatment of your feet, although this may have a positive impact on the rest of your body.

Your therapist will soak your feet in warm water with added essential oils to relax your body and mind. After drying your feet with a towel, they will begin the treatment using massage oil or lotion to ensure smooth movements and relaxation.

They will rub your feet and squeeze or press on various points to promote healing and rejuvenation.

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What Are The Benefits Of A Foot Massage?

Foot massage therapy can provide you with many benefits, including

  • Pain Relief – Foot pain massage therapy coupled with regular exercise offers immediate pain relief to people with flat feet or chronic pain in the heel. Strong pressure on the arch of the foot and respectively the heel can sometimes even cure these conditions
  • Improved Blood Circulation –Blood circulation is often impaired by tight and uncomfortable shoes or a sedentary lifestyle. Getting a foot massage for 10-20 minutes a day stimulates nerve functions and improves blood circulation.
  • Lower Risk Of Injury – Regular feet massage therapy can strengthen your muscles, tendons and ligaments. Combine it with frequent exercises for feet and ankles and you will have more flexible feet that are less prone to injuries.
  • Reduces Anxiety And Depression – A relaxing foot massage alleviates stress and improves physical, mental and emotional well-being. It reduces stress hormone levels and promotes endorphin release, elevating mood and boosting energy, especially in people suffering from depression.
  • Better Sleep – A good foot massage can significantly improve sleep patterns. Better circulation and relaxed nerves can help you unwind and fall asleep faster.
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Foot Massage Vs Reflexology

Although they have some similarities, foot massage and reflexology are not the same.

Reflexology does not include manipulating soft tissues. It only involves applying pressure on specific reflex points on your feet that correspond to various systems and internal organs throughout the body. It can also focus on your hands and ears.

Foot massage can focus on specific reflex points but without holding pressure. It is about smooth, gliding movements to loosen tightened muscles, improve blood flow and promote relaxation and healing.

Quite often, massage therapists claim to offer reflexology without having an understanding of the reflex points and the correct manual techniques used to stimulate them.

Becoming a certified reflexologist requires long training and hands-on clinical sessions. In other words, it is not something that a licensed massage therapist can acquire in a few days workshop.

Are Foot Massages Painful?

The primary purpose of a foot massage is relaxation so your therapist will not apply pressure that makes your feet hurt. You only might feel discomfort if you have ticklish feet.

Like exercise, foot massage stimulates your muscles to improve circulation and eliminate toxins, so slight soreness afterwards might occur. However, that is nothing compared to the sense of calm and overall well-being you will experience.

Before having a professional foot massage, pregnant women and people at risk for blood clots should consult their primary physician.

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DIY Foot Massage

For many people and especially those who are on their feet all day, a great foot massage may just be what they need to help them de-stress. Whether you give yourself a relaxing foot massage or ask a partner to rub your feet, try these steps:

  • Soak your feet in warm water with a few drops of essential oil and dry them with a towel.
  • Sit somewhere comfortable and place your left foot gently on your right thigh.
  • Apply massage oil, a cream or a lotion to your hands and rub it into your foot. Use circular and gliding movements to massage your whole foot including the toes, arch and heel.
  • Use your knuckles to apply more pressure to the pad and bottom of the foot.
  • Gently pull the toes back and forth or apart to stretch the muscles underneath.
  • Repeat with the right foot.

You could also purchase devices like foot rollers to help restore your feet. For a quick massage at work or home, just roll your bare feet over the device.

While taking the DIY road is excellent for relaxing your feet, finding a qualified foot massage therapist to do it for you might provide more benefits.

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