If you’ve ever had a job where you had to be on your feet all day, (like, say, motherhood?) you probably know just how great a foot massage can be. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, why not treat a mother in your life (or yourself!) to a relaxing foot massage. (If you can’t get out of the house to find a gift, a mini spa day is great last minute Mother’s Day gift!)
Giving a quality foot massage is really more than just rubbing a person’s feet. You can learn techniques that can make a foot massage very satisfying and release tension throughout the body if done correctly.
There’s definitely a lot worth knowing on this topic, and you’re completely capable of learning!
Types of Foot Massage
A foot massage involves putting pressure on different parts of the feet. You can either do this manually or using mechanical tools.
Learning how to give a foot massage is useful and fairly easy to do. However, you should learn about the different types in order to develop your own style.
Swedish foot massage
This form of foot massage is widespread. It’s gentle and involves five different types of strokes. These include deep, circular movements, kneading, tapping, long strokes, and vibration.
This style of massage is known to help energize and relax a person’s feet. It’s a good choice for patients who are recovering from joint injuries.
Reflexology foot massage
If you know anything about reflexology, it makes sense that this type of massage is all about stimulating parts of the feet in order to relieve pain in other parts of the body. Reflexologists believe that certain points in the feet are connected to other parts of the body, to the point where manipulating and stimulating these parts of the feet can affect a person’s health in corresponding areas.
This type of foot massage also involves the application of pressure to the upper leg region and calf, in addition to the foot.
Deep tissue foot massage
This is one of the more forceful types of massage. It involves relatively slow and forceful strokes that are meant to stimulate deeper muscle layers and connective tissue. It’s an excellent method for people who have muscle damage from chronic injuries or stiff, painful joints.
Sports foot massage
As the name suggests, this is a popular choice for many athletes. This involves different types of strokes and pressures before and after they participate in vigorous sports events. It helps prevent injury by increasing the person’s flexibility, and it’s also useful for treating muscle injuries and strains.
Thai foot massage
Here, the practitioner uses his or her thumb to apply pressure along specific lines of the recipient’s entire foot. They’ll press each point for about 5 to 10 seconds until the recipient feels pain. Then, they repeat this four times afterward.
The practitioner can apply pressure using his or her thumb, palm, elbow, or finger. Some practitioners believe that this type of massage has the potential to enhance skin sensations on the bottoms of the feet and improve blood circulation. It can be excellent for diabetic patients, helping them improve their balance by increasing feeling and range of motion within the foot.
Trigger point massage
This might be the best type of massage for people who are dealing with chronic pain in their limbs and/or joints. The practitioner manipulates the soft tissues of the zone where the recipient is experiencing pain. It stimulates the muscles and nervous system and improves blood circulation in trigger points.
Benefits of a Good Foot Massage
We hear you asking, “Why is it a good idea to learn how to give a foot massage?” There might be more benefits than you thought! Let’s walk through the pros of learning the art of giving a quality foot massage.
Keep that blood moving!
A lot of people don’t use the muscles of their feet properly because of sedentary lifestyles, or they wear tight shoes that hinder their circulation. This impedes proper blood flow. Ten minutes of foot massage daily can help transport oxygen from the feet to the rest of the body.
If someone’s had a stressful day, particularly if they’ve been on their feet all day and have swollen feet, a foot massage is a great way to relax.
Get those Zs…
Many practitioners believe that the best time for a foot massage is right before going to sleep. That’s because it’ll help improve the circulation of the blood, which leads to more restful sleep.
The principles of reflexology are behind this. If a practitioner gives a good foot massage, it may treat aches and pains not only in the feet but also in the rest of the body.
Reflexology not only involves the connection of the feet with physical health in other parts of the body but also mental health. Many massage practitioners believe that working with specific points on the feet is particularly helpful when it comes to alleviating the symptoms of depression.
If a practitioner massages these points or applies pressure to them for a few minutes a couple of times a day, it can be very helpful in relieving depression symptoms.
Many people have a problem with swollen feet, particularly during pregnancy. This happens as a result of fluid retention. Regular foot massages may alleviate this condition.
Your feet bear a considerable burden. They support hundreds of tons of force in the form of gravity, in addition to your weight while you’re moving. It makes sense, then, that your feet would need some support of their own!
Regular foot massages can help prevent foot problems. It helps to stimulate the muscles surrounding your feet, can diminish pain in your heels and ankles, and lessen stiffness. It can also make your ankles flexible and strong, which helps prevent different sorts of ankle and foot injuries.
Foot massages can also be beneficial for people with flat feet and plantar fasciitis.
Those who have flat feet don’t have a normal foot arch because of ligament laxity. That causes the arch to collapse, which can make it so the person has foot pain even after minor physical activity of the feet.
Also, people can have chronic heel pain because of inflammation or deterioration of the plantar fascia, which medical professionals refer to as plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is the depth of tissue that supports your foot arch.
Foot massages with firm pressure on the arch can help significantly decrease this pain. In some cases, when coupled with proper foot exercises, it can even cure these conditions.
How to Give a Foot Massage
There are many techniques for giving a good foot massage. But when you’re learning how to give a foot massage, it’s good to start with the basics first.
Also, keep in mind that foot massage isn’t for everyone. In some cases, it can actually exacerbate pain. If you’re concerned, it’s a good idea to get verification from your healthcare provider that you can actually recieve a foot massage.
1. Soaking is good
You can also use slices of citrus fruit to rub on the person’s feet. The acid from the fruit can help soften the skin and release toxins, in addition to improving overall foot health.
2. Blood needs to move
After the foot bath, you can dry the recipient’s feet. Put a pillow on your lap, and cover it with a soft towel. Put one of his or her feet at a time on the pillow, since you’re only going to massage one foot at a time.
Use one hand to hold his or her foot by the heel, and use the other hand to rotate the foot. Rotate it gently clockwise three times, and then counterclockwise three times. Do the same with each toe.
3. Tension begone!
Put some foot cream or massage oil on your thumbs and then put both of your thumbs into the center of his or her foot arch, right below the ball of the foot. Using light pressure, rub your thumbs in the arch in small circles, with one thumb going counterclockwise and the other going clockwise.
Do this for about 30 seconds, put more lotion or oil on your hands, and then move your thumbs up and down the entire length of the person’s foot with firm pressure.
Then, put one thumb on each end of the foot, lengthwise, and have the thumb slowly move towards one another on the foot, with one going up in the other one going down. Do this for several minutes.
4. Toes in a pose
Use your thumb and index finger to squeeze each toe lightly, and then use your thumbs to make small circles in both directions just beneath each of the toes. Do this for about 15 seconds for each toe. It’ll help reduce tension in the feet and toes.
It may also be helpful to pull the toes. To do this, hold the foot with one hand under the arch. With your other hand, hold a toe with your thumb on top and your index finger on the bottom, and slightly turn and pull the toe until you get to the end. You can repeat this with each toe.
Alternatively, you can just slide your fingers repeatedly from top to bottom on each toe.
5. Soles for the soul
Put your thumbs on the ball of the person’s foot. Then, make small circles, with each thumb going in opposite directions. Do this all the way up and down the length of the sole.
Use extra pressure as you approach the heel. Do this for several minutes or until you get tired.
Use your thumb and forefinger to give a gentle squeeze to the hollow area right below the ankle for several seconds. Alternatively, you can gently rub the Achilles tendon, which is the somewhat elastic band that starts at the heel and runs up through the calf.
You can actually do both if you want to make the foot massage exemplary!
Don’t Let Those Relaxed Feet Walk All over You!
Now that you know how to give a foot massage, aren’t you excited to give one to a loved one? They’ll be surprised by just how much relief you give them. You’ll just have to be careful and make sure they don’t want massages all the time!
A good foot massage can come with a variety of benefits. Whether you’re learning how to give a foot massage for yourself or another person, it can be quite rewarding.
Since we’re all stuck cooped up at home right now, a foot massage is great way to show a mother in your life how much you care about them this Mother’s Day. It’s relaxing, personalized, inexpensive, and best of all, you get to know that you did something nice for someone else’s health.
What do you think of everything you’ve just learned about how to give a foot massage? Need advice on working from home as a mom? Let us know by leaving a comment!