Treat your feet: 9 health benefits of foot massage

Our poor tootsies have to put up with a lot and yet are often the most neglected part of our body.

Despite spending hours every day carrying our weight and schlepping around in crazy heels or sloppy shoes, our feet don’t get anywhere near the amount of love and attention they deserve.

A quick foot massage is something you can easily try at home and it’s a really relaxing way to end a busy day.  

But did you know that it’s also possible to treat aches and ailments throughout your entire body, just by applying pressure to the right parts of your foot?

The benefits of foot massage

Reflexology is the method of treating health issues and wellbeing through foot massage. 

We all have a complex system of pressure points which connect our feet to other zones of our body.  By working on these points in the feet, it is possible to affect a physical change in your head, arms, legs or torso.  Clever stuff!

A simple foot rub, of the kind that you can do yourself, can help to improve your circulation and is great for relaxation, but professional reflexology can also offer help with all sorts of health issues. Some of the benefits of reflexology include:

1.      Relaxation

Any kind of massage is relaxing, but studies have shown that just 5 minutes of foot massage can be as effective at relieving your stress and improving your mood as a neck or back massage. 

General foot massage has also been shown to help ease the symptoms of anxiety.

2.      Sleep

If you suffer from disturbed sleep or insomnia, a foot massage before bed can help you get a better night’s sleep.

Massaging the dimpled space at the top of your foot, or under your foot (known as the solar plexus) can release tension throughout your body and help you drift off more easily.

3.      Circulation

Most of us spend a lot of time sitting still, at our desks and in our cars, which can lead to poor circulation.  It’s one of the reasons we get cold or numb hands and feet, or tingly toes for no reason.

Regular foot massage can help to improve these niggles by encouraging better blood flow.

4.      Lower blood pressure

Research has shown that people with high blood pressure can see a noticeable reduction in their symptoms after receiving a professional foot massage.

Some are even able to reduce their prescribed blood pressure medication whilst undergoing therapy.

5.      Prevention of injury

Being overweight, standing for long periods of time, or doing sport that involves jumping can all contribute to foot injuries, such as plantar facscilitis (acute heel pain due to inflammation).

Regular foot massage can help prevent injuries like this from happening, and to easy pain, reduce swelling and aid recovery.

6.      Ease headaches

The relaxing effect of a foot massage can help to relieve the symptoms of a headache by helping you to relax and let go of tension.

Professional reflexology treatment can also target the very specific acupressure points that are linked with the causes of a migraine. Studies have shown that migraine sufferers can see huge improvements in their symptoms within just a couple of months of massage treatment.

7.      Pain relief and PMS

Foot massage is the perfect way to tackle tired and aching feet, but as in the treatment of headaches, can also help to reduce pain in other areas of your body too. 

Post-operative patients who were given reflexology treatment claimed to notice significantly less pain, and studies have also shown that foot massage can equal the effects of ibuprofen for the treatment of menstrual symptoms.

8.      Nail and skin health

Our feet are so often out of sight and out of mind, which means they get neglected.

Heels can become dry and chapped, and feet that are cooped up in hot, tight shoes can be prone to bacterial and fungal infections.

Regular use of moisturising and antibacterial oils as part of a foot massage can help to keep your feet as fresh as a daisy.

9.      Tackling sinusitis

Chronic sinusitis sufferers who use reflexology to treat their symptoms, claim to notice an improvement that is equal to people who just use medication to treat the same symptoms.

How to give yourself a foot massage

Treating yourself to a professional foot massage or reflexology treatment every now and again is a lovely treat, but you can feel the benefits with a little DIY foot rub too.

Taking 10 minutes of time out to look after your feet is most definitely time well spent.

Here’s how:

  • Sit comfortably, bend one leg and place your foot on the opposite thigh
  • Gently rub a natural massage oil (like almond, jojoba or coconut) into your whole foot, including toes, nails, arch, heel and ankle.
  • For a bit more pressure, press the knuckles of your hand into your foot and knead it (like a piece of dough!). Or use your thumbs to press into the skin.
  • Spread your toes apart and move them around to stretch the muscles underneath.
  • Repeat on the other foot!

Share your story

Why not try giving yourself a foot massage every day for 2 weeks and let us know what difference it makes to your levels of stress or your ability to sleep?

Or, if you’ve been seeing a reflexologist for treatment and noticed an improvement in your aches or ailments, then we’d love to hear from you too.  Feel free to pop your thoughts in the box below!

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