Health benefits of foot massage
Our feet do a lot for us. They carry us around at home or work all day, bear the brunt of their morning walk or jog and endure countless evenings in uncomfortable and tight shoes in the name of fashion. Despite all this, our feet are usually sorely neglected. A healing foot massage is one way we can treat our feet while benefiting the whole body.
Foot massage dates back over 5,000 years to ancient Egypt and China and can offer many health benefits. There are several different massage techniques that can offer health benefits. The most common is the traditional therapeutic massage techniques, which focus on relaxing the muscles and joints. There are other techniques like acupressure, aromatherapy and even reflexology that target other parts of the foot and leg and offer other benefits as well.
Relaxation and stress relief: Any type of massage can be relaxing, and can help you let go of stress. Many people tend to consider the neck, shoulders, and back as the primary places to massage when looking for stress relief – but a foot massage can be just as effective at easing your worries. A 2013 research found that people experienced lower levels of anxiety and better moods after just 10 minutes of foot massage; even a five-minute massage helped relax and reduce stress and a foot rub brought emotional comfort to those grieving the death of a loved one.
Improves circulation: Due to a sedentary lifestyle the muscles in the feet get hardly any exercise and blood flow can be slow to the feet because of disease or tight and uncomfortable shoes. A 10-to-20-minute massage session can greatly improve circulation in the lower extremities.
Better sleep: Massaging your feet before you go to bed will help you relax and let go of the stresses of the day and encourage a good night’s sleep.
Helps prevent foot and ankle injuries: Massaging the feet can help with joint pain and help with recovery after an injury, as well as reduce muscle soreness. However, when massage is combined with foot and ankle strengthening and stretching exercises it can prevent future injuries, as well as speed up healing of existing injuries. It is recommended that short massage sessions several times will help decrease the risk of injury.
Reduces the effects of depression and anxiety: Foot massage has been shown to decrease anxiety in patients with menopause and even cancer. Having regular sessions and adding essential oils have also been effective.
Helps with headaches and migraines: A study conducted in Denmark showed that people suffering from headaches and migraines showed great improvement after receiving reflexology foot massage and were able to add additional positive lifestyle changes.
Lowers blood pressure: High blood pressure is common and can be improved by foot massage. A study conducted on healthcare staff showed that a 10-minute foot massage session up to three times a week resulted in improved mood, less anxiety and lowered blood pressure.
Helps with flat feet and plantar fasciitis: Flat feet contribute to pain in the foot and even development of plantar fasciitis and lead to chronic heel pain due to inflammation or deterioration of the plantar fascia. Supportive footwear, regular foot exercise and deep foot massage have been shown to significantly lessen the pain and improve these conditions.
Helps alleviate symptoms of PMS and menopause: Common symptoms suffered during PMS include feelings of sadness and unhappiness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, headaches and mood swings. Women going through menopause can have similar symptoms with the addition of hot flashes and even depression. Most of these symptoms can be alleviated with daily foot massages during this period and be minimized with regular foot massages for menopause.
Reduces effects of edema in pregnant women: Swelling due to fluid retention in the feet and ankles, is very common in pregnant women. Daily foot massage can greatly help and manage this especially in the third trimester. It relieves the swelling and relaxes the feet, encouraging plenty of rest.
Foot massage is a lot more beneficial to both physical and mental health than most people realize. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes a few times a week to get the benefits of a foot massage. The following are some tips on how to give a therapeutic foot massage.
• Sitting comfortably, bend one of your legs and rest your foot on the opposite thigh.
• Gently rub a natural massage oil of your choice into your skin and nails, and massage the whole foot including the toes, arch and heel.
• To do a deeper massage, press the knuckles of your hand into your foot and knead it (like it’s a piece of dough)! You can also work the skin and muscles by holding your foot with both hands and pressing your thumbs into the skin.
• Then gently pull the toes back and forth or apart to stretch the muscles underneath.
• Repeat on the other foot.
Learn this simple skill and perform regularly to enjoy and reap the benefits of foot massage without a lot of work.
• For more information or to see a podiatrist, visit Bahamas Foot Centre Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996; or Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre, Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820; or email email@example.com; or visit www.apma.org.