Ending your busy day of walking and standing around, with a nice relaxing foot massage is surely something everyone desires. Not only that it will relax you, but the foot massage will provide you with beneficial effects for both, your mental and physical health.
Foot massage is an essential component of the alternative medicine called reflexology. Our feet have a couple of nerve endings, reflexes, which are connected to different organs and systems in our body. Once we activate these reflexes through foot massage, they show therapeutic effects.
However, foot massages are recommended by health experts for improving the overall health of all age groups, and there are many studies that have actually proved this. Nursing & Health Sciences has published a 2002 study focusing on the benefits of foot massage, saying that it supports a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, especially improving relaxation, blood circulation, and a person’s own healing power. There’s no need for a professional masseur for a regular foot massage. Just do it yourself right before bedtime.
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Foot Massage Health Benefits
1. Promotes Sound Sleep
We often struggle with our everyday problems even before we fall asleep, which prevents good sleep. A short message on your feet will relax you and will encourage sound sleep, although we know that a full body massage is an ideal one.
Massages support the free flow of energy, and stimulate the reflexes alongside meridians, thus relaxing you and enabling a restful sleep.
Critical Care Nursing journal in Iran has published a 2014 study, according to which heart patients, especially those with ischemic heart disease, should practice foot massage to improve the quality of their sleep.
2. Improves Blood Circulation
Most of us wear tight and uncomfortable shoes throughout the day, which is why the circulation in our feet is often restricted. In addition, the feet muscles of most people don’t get any exercises which only adds to the poor circulation.
Massage is the best way to improve the circulation in our feet.
Massaging the feet 10 to 20 minutes before bedtime is recommended for everyone, especially for diabetics as they have more chances of peripheral neuropathy.
This issue happens when nerves and tissues in the extremities, both feet, and hands, aren’t supplied enough with oxygen and nutrients because of poor circulation. This can result in tingling, numbness, and burning sensation.
The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has published a 2014 study which proves that the level of physical activity isn’t connected with massage benefits, since massaged have enhanced the vascular function in those who don’t practice exercises.
3. Alleviates Low-Back Pain
Foot massage before going to bed is recommended for people suffering from low-back pain. They should use their thumbs to apply pressing alongside the arch of their feet for a short period of about 5 minutes.
The Nursing and Midwifery Iranian journal has published a 2012 study according to which reflexology is more beneficial and effective in lowering chronic back pain, than massages on the lower back itself.
This type of pain can cause difficulties in having a sound sleep, which is why you should reduce it with a nice foot massage.
4. Fights Anxiety and Stress
We have all felt anxious or stressed sometimes. By massaging your feet, you will lower your anxiety and stress, and you will experience more benefits than just relaxation.
Pressing specific feet reflexes promotes relaxation, and causes responses in the nervous system, such as lowered anxiety or stress.
In order to find the reflex responsible for relieving stress, called the solar plexus reflex, squeeze your foot’s sides together. This reflex is located at the center of the scrunched area.
BMC Nursing has published a 2012 study that demonstrated that foot massage has reduced blood pressure and anxiety while improving the mood in long-term people working with older patients with dementia.
Foot massage is the perfect, effective way to deal with everyday stress and anxiety.
5. Reduces Blood Pressure
Since high blood pressure can lead to myriad health problems, we should try to reduce it so that we can lower the risk of those other problems. A regular foot massage can help you in that.
PLOS One has published a 2016 study that states that aroma foot massage drastically reduced the mean diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Not only that, but it has also lowered the state anxiety score and increased the life scores related to mental health.
6. Prevents Lower-Leg Edema
This condition happens as a result of fluids build-up in the legs, causing painful, swollen, and stiff legs. Some of the common causes of edema are poor blood circulation and pregnancy. This condition makes people have difficulties and pains in moving, and also sleep problems.
Besides stretching, swimming, or light exercise like walking, foot massage can as well help in fast relief from these symptoms.
The International Journal of Nursing Practice has published a 2010 study that states that this type of massage has proved to be effective in edema treatment in pregnant women.
7. Lowers Foot and Other Chronic Pain
A nice massage on your feet will relax them, soothe and stretch the muscles, as well as lower the painful swelling.
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice has published a 2014 study which discovered that reflexology lowers pain and relaxes people with conditions such as chronic pain and whiplash injury.
Pain Management Nursing has published an American Society study from 2014, according to which foot massage was actually effective in the postoperative management of pain in patients with breast surgery.
How to Give Yourself a Foot Massage
You can easily massage your feet not relying on others, unlike massaging other parts of your body. In just half an hour of regular foot massage, you will reap all of the mentioned benefits.
- Pour warm water in a large bowl, and add 2-5 drops of your favorite essential oil;
- Soak your feet in warm water for about 10-20 minutes. Then pat dry them with a clean soft towel;
- After this, sit in your comfortable place. Put the right foot sole on your left knee, and spread some warm olive, coconut, or mustard oil on the same foot;
- Massage your foot with the oil, while moving the fingers back and forth along the bottom of your foot;
- After the sole massage, focus on the toes by extending, squeezing, and flexing them in order to improve their flexibility;
- Do the same procedure on the other foot.