A benefit of foot massage is it can make your entire body feel better. This effect is due at least partly to the many nerve endings in the feet that send relaxation signals to the rest of the body.
Other benefits of foot massage include improved circulation, stimulates muscles, reduced tension, and often less pain.
Note: Although reflexology is sometimes referred to as massaging the feet, real reflexology isn't massage but an energetic technique that uses pressure on specific points on the feet (and hands and ears) to affect the whole body. However, many massage therapists do combine reflexology and massage techniques.
This article contains three videos demonstrating how to massage feet: a Swedish-style routine, a Thai massage routine, and a self-massage routine. Then there's a written description of foot massage techniques, followed by general foot care tips and tips for people with diabetes.
If you like, you can use a foot massage gel, such as this one:
Blend ingredients in a one-ounce (30-ml) flip-top bottle. Use as desired.
Taking time to practice good foot care will help your feet stay healthy and pain-free. Are the muscles of your feet flexible and strong? Unfortunately, most people ignore these muscles and their feet in general, leading to a wide range of foot problems, including bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis.
It's important for your feet to have the right amount of pronation and supination— the foot's natural rolling movement while walking or running. Too much pronation or supination causes a number of problems that affect your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back.
Pronation is the inward roll of the foot during normal foot movement. Too much pronation flattens the foot arch and overstretches the muscles, tendons, and ligaments on the bottom of the foot.
Supination is the outward roll of the foot during normal foot movement. Too much supination strains the muscles and tendons that stabilize the ankle and can lead to ankle injury.
For a relaxing foot soak, add Epsom salts to a basin of warm water and soak your feet and ankles for at least ten minutes. You can also add a few drops of essential oils. Some suggestions:
For a foot scrub to exfoliate and invigorate, blend a little olive oil, a tablespoon of sea salt, and a drop of your favorite essential oil. Scrub your lower leg and the bottom of your feet.
Can you pick up a small towel using only your toes? It's a great exercise. See this Foot and Ankle Conditioning Program from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
If you have flat feet, see exercises for flat feet at Somatic Reflections.
People with diabetes are prone to foot problems because of the decreased circulation to the feet. eMedicine offers these foot care tips for diabetics:
People with diabetes can receive gentle foot massage as long as there are no problems such as excess swelling or lack of feeling. If in doubt, ask your doctor.
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