While our feet do a lot of work, they are the least pampered part of our body, so to pamper them and keep them strong and flexible, we need to do a daily foot massage. Foot massage has been practiced in different cultures for a long time and it has been a part of alternative and complementary medicine also. Combine the regular foot massage with reflexology to keep healthy.
Reflexology is an ancient healing technique based on reflex points on the feet that correspond to different parts and organs in the body. They are located on the soles, ankles, toes and upper part of the body. By stimulating these points, you promote good health.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of foot massage and reflexology.
To sleep better, a foot massage can be done before going to bed. It will help the body relax and improve circulation and sleeping.
Here’s how to massage the acupuncture points:
- Sit upright with the foot in your lap
- Press in and around the plantar pad of the big toe with the thumb
- Do it for at least a minute
- Massage the bottom of your feet for 10 minutes using coconut oil, olive oil or mustard oil
- Improve blood circulation
Due to our lifestyle, the feet muscles aren’t used properly. Improper footwear also hampers the normal circulation in the feet.
With just 10 minutes of foot massage, you can improve the circulation. It will help transfer oxygen to the body cells, which is crucial for our health. Of course, proper footwear will help too.
Foot massage will also improve the lymphatic system and treat varicose veins. Here’s how to do it:
- Put any massage oil on the palms and rub it in your foot
- Stroke the foot gently from toes to ankles
- Give a gentle massage to the lower foot
- Repeat the same on the other foot
- Helps you relax
After a long and hard day, a relaxing foot massage will soothe you. It will also disrupt blockages that hold back energy and relieve stress and fatigue. Regular foot massages before going to bed will improve the general well-being and it will only take 5-10 minutes. Use warm oil that penetrates easily in the skin.
The foot massage and reflexology will help with the fight against depression. According to a study from the Journal of Clinical Nursing, hand and foot massages after the death of a loved one helps a lot during the grieving period. It provides consolation, and balances the need to grieve and adapt.
Certain points on the feet help with this – like the center of the big toe, and the center of the ball in your foot under the big toe. These points are associated with emotional stability and mental health. Massage these points 2-3 minutes daily to relieve depression symptoms.
Reflexology has been long used for alleviating various pains and diseases like headaches, migraines, neck pain and upper backaches.
For neck pain, massage the toes and joints that join the toes to the foot. Do this for 5 minutes and the pain will be gone. You can also massage the ankle to reduce pain and swelling in it and relieve headaches and migraines.
To relieve thigh pain, put pressure on the outer ankle bone and Achilles tendon with your thumb.
For pain in the upper back massage the arch of the foot. Put pressure with your thumb on the edge of the foot, massage in circular motions and continue on the soles and tops of the feet.
The easy way to prevent feet issues is by regular foot massage. It will stimulate the muscles, lessen stiffness and reduce pain in the ankles. Besides, a 5 minute daily foot massage will strengthen the ankles, and prevent foot and ankle injuries.
Massaging your feet with olive or coconut oil will relieve pain and inflammation caused by foot tendonitis. It can even relieve the burning feet sensation.
Besides oil, you can use a foot roller. Roll it back and forth on the soles and top of the feet for a quick and relaxing foot massage.
During pregnancy, a regular foot massage can reduce the swelling in the ankles due to fluid retention – edema. This is especially effective in the last trimester.
It’s recommended to get it done by somebody else, not on your own. A qualified reflexologist would be best. A retrograde massage with some oil is very beneficial. It’s done by rubbing from the toes proximally, or toward the knee. This will encourage the fluid in the feet to return in the kidneys, so it can be then flushed out of the body.
Besides foot massage try to keep the feet elevated as much as possible, rest and wear accommodating footwear.
- Eases PMS and menopause symptoms
During PMS, most of women suffer from feeling of sadness, irritability, insomnia, fatigue etc.
All of these can be relieved with foot massage, even the symptoms of menopause and depression.
Massage the Grandfather Grandson point on the inner foot, where the big toe meets the foot. Massage it with some oil and steady, firm pressure. Do it for a couple of minutes, then continue on the feet and legs.
By regularly doing the foot massage, you will improve your sleep, get rid of hot flashes and mood changes.
Foot massage relieves the restless leg syndrome, a neurological disorder which causes difficulty sleeping. Massage the feet with coconut oil to improve the circulation and it will help you sleep. Here’s how:
- Rub warm coconut oil on your soles and all over the legs
- Massage the legs in circular motion with gentle strokes, upward from the ankles
- You only need 10 minutes of this massage
Hypertension, or high blood pressure can be balanced with regular foot massage. Studies have confirmed the effects of reflexology on lowering systolic blood pressure and triglycerides.
For hypertension, massage the solar plexus reflex. Squeeze each side of the foot – the hollow that forms is the exact point.
- Press this point for a few seconds with your thumb and take a deep breath
- Release and breathe out
- Press for 30 seconds to a minute, rotate the thumb clockwise and breathe
- Breathe out on release
- Repeat with the other foot
- Do this twice a week for several weeks
Besides this, you can massage the foot for 10 minutes 2-3 times a week to improve your mood, anxiety and to lower the blood pressure.
Note: Don’t massage your feet if there are wounds or burns, fractures or severe osteoporosis.