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Leg and Foot Massage Techniques

The benefits of leg and foot massage include reviving tired legs and feet, relieving muscle soreness and pain, and simply feeling great. Giving and receiving basic leg massage at home with a loved one or friend is easy with a few simple techniques.

Leg Massage on Thigh

Caution: Do NOT massage the legs of someone who has a blood clot, serious varicose veins, or swelling or very poor circulation caused by a condition such as advanced diabetes or uncontrolled high blood pressure. If in doubt, consult a healthcare provider.

If you're looking for a massage gun for leg pain, take a peek at the Hydragun.

Back of Leg Massage

First, a video that demonstrates several variations of effleurage and petrissage for the legs.

Here's a basic Swedish massage routine for the back of the legs:

  1. Start at the ankle and use the palms of both hands to do a light gliding stroke (effleurage) all the way up the leg.

  2. For a deeper effleurage, walk your hands up the leg using the web between your thumb and first finger to apply pressure.

  3. Lift the foot slightly off the massage table with one hand and use the other hand to drain the calf by deeply (as appropriate) stroking from the ankle to just below the back of the knee.

  4. Petrissage the leg. Petrissage is a two-handed kneading technique where your hands move in a semi-circular motion. 

  5. With the leg lying on the table, use both of your thumbs to do upside-down Js up the midline of the calf and hamstrings. The idea is to apply some friction to the muscles with the J motion. Also, do the Js on the outside of the calf. Then use the heel of your hand or fingertips up the outside of the thigh.

  6. With your thumbs pulled in next to your fingers, "wring" the legs, up and down one time.

  7. Use tapotement on the legs: Placing your hands in either a "karate chop" position or in a loose fist, tap the muscles vigorously.

  8. Shake the leg lightly.

  9. Do a light, feathery stroke down the leg and off the foot.

How to Massage Front of the Leg

Foot Massage Techniques

Foot massage 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.

  1. Warm up the foot with effleurage (gliding strokes): With the foot lying on the massage table or other surface, use the palms and heels of your hands to make long massage strokes from the toes to above the ankle.

  2. Rotate the foot: With the foot still resting on the table, use your outside hand to hold the ankle. Place the thumb of the inside hand between the big toe and index toe and use that hand to rotate the foot gently.

  3. Flex and extend the foot.

  4. With one hand on each side of the foot, place the heels of your thumbs on top of the foot and use them to spread apart the top of the foot.

  5. Use your thumbs to massage between the tendons on the top of the foot.

  6. Use your fingertips to make circles around the malleoli (the bony bumps at the sides of the ankle).

  7. Massage the sole of the foot using either your thumbs, fingertips, or knuckles to make small circles over the entire surface of the sole. Adjust the pressure to suit the person whose feet you are massaging.

  8. Gently squeeze and pull each toe (some people don't like this technique, so be careful).

Swedish Foot and Lower Leg Massage

Energizing Aromatherapy Gel for Leg and Foot Massage

Make an energizing gel for leg and foot massage with this aromatherapy recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon witch hazel
  • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 to 4 drops peppermint essential oil (or another essential oil of choice)
  1. Combine the witch hazel, aloe vera, and cornstarch in a double boiler.
  2. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until ingredients are blended.
  3. Remove the double boiler from heat and then stir the mixture.
  4. Let the mixture cool.
  5. Stir in the peppermint essential oil.
  6. Pour the mixture into a clean jar with a lid that fits tightly.

Store the leg gel in a cool, dark, dry location. This gel will remain good for three to four weeks.

Source: EcoBeauty: Scrubs, Rubs, Masks, and Bath Bombs

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Massage picture courtesy of Massage Nerd.