10 Reasons To Give Yourself A Foot Massage
1. Relaxation and Stress Relief
Any type of massage can be relaxing, and can help you let go of the stress you are carrying in your body. 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. 2013 research found that staff who took care of dementia patients – a stressful and demanding role – experienced lower levels of anxiety and better moods after just ten minutes of foot massage.
Earlier research has also found that a five minute foot massage helped relax and reduce stress in critical care patients; while a hand or foot rub was seen to bring emotional comfort to those grieving the death of a loved one.
2. Better Sleep
Massaging your feet before you go to bed will help you relax and let go of the day’s stresses. To enjoy a really deep sleep, pay special attention to the solar plexus reflex which houses a lot of your stress.
The solar plexus can be found if you gently squeeze the top of the foot inward and search for a little dimpled space. Press and massage this area for a blissful night’s rest.
3. Improved Circulation
Thanks to our sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and restrictive footwear our circulation is often impaired.
Ever endure cold or numb feet? Get a tingling in your toes for no reason? Or perhaps you suffer chilblains. These are all signs of poor circulation in the feet – something which can be greatly improved upon with regular foot massages.
4. Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious condition that can increase your risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.
Lifestyle changes – including eating the right foods – can lower your blood pressure levels significantly, as can regularly massaging your feet.
A Korean study found that systolic blood pressure and blood triglyceride levels were both improved following a relaxing foot massage.
5. Injury Prevention and Faster Recovery
Massaging the feet can help with joint pain and aid recovery after an injury, as well as reduce muscle soreness.
It can also prevent future injuries such as plantar fasciitis – one of the most common causes of heel pain which sees the thick band of tissue running across the bottom of your foot and connecting your heel bone to your toe becoming painful and inflamed.
Too much standing, running, sports involving lots of jumping or hard landing, being overweight and wearing shoes with inadequate support all put you at risk of plantar fasciitis.
6. Alleviation of Headaches and Migraines
If you suffer frequent headaches and migraines, give reflexology a go. Specifically, try these six acupressure regions for migraine relief.
Danish research, published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, followed the response of 220 patients to six months of reflexology.
After just three months, 81% of the patients claimed that the foot massages either considerably helped or completely healed their headache problems, and 19% who previously took medication to manage their condition were able to stop taking it!
Here are 17 other natural ways to banish headaches fast, without resorting to drugs.
7. Decreased Feelings of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults – that’s just under one fifth of the population!
Natural remedies for anxiety can be incredibly effective, as studies have demonstrated. In 2002, 67 menopausal women were given nine sessions of either reflexology or non-specific foot massage.
Even though the reflexology was not shown to be any more effective than non-specific foot massage in the treatment of psychological symptoms during the menopause, it still led to a 50% decrease in feelings of anxiety, which surpassed the control group two-fold.
8. Natural Pain Relief
Tired and aching feet can always benefit from a foot rub but did you know that the pain relieving powers of massage don’t end there?
Foot massage can actually kill pain in other areas of the body too – especially when combined with these 15 pain relieving essential oils.
Research from 2004 discovered that patients who had just undergone an operation enjoyed greater pain relief after a hand or foot massage than did those patients who were only given pain medication alone.
More recent research showed that women who gave birth by C-section reported reduced pain after foot massages than those who did not receive the massage.
9. Nail and Skin Health
Regularly using moisturizing natural oils and antimicrobial essential oils on your feet is a fantastic way to ensure healthy, happy skin and nails.
Using coconut oil or almond oil can prevent dry, cracked and painful heels that lead to fissures and infections, as well as stopping thick calloused skin forming. Your nails and cuticles will also stay hydrated.
10. Cure for Swelling of the Legs
Swelling of the legs and feet due to fluid retention, called edema, can often follow on from long periods of sitting or standing. It is also common during pregnancy.
A study published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice found that pregnancy-related edema was significantly reduced by regular foot massage. In fact, the women in the massage groups had distinctly smaller leg circumferences than did the women in the placebo group.
It’s important to note that leg and ankle swelling can also signal an underlying issue including kidney disease, heart failure, liver disease and more. Always consult your doctor if in doubt.