Our feet bear the weight of our entire body, so they have to put up with a lot. It is our feet that have to endure all those stresses and strains – whether it’s shoes that are too tight, blisters, chafing, or just being on your feet all day long. Toxins are also expelled through the feet, which in traditional Chinese medicine is attributed to the fact that the organs are associated with the various regions of the foot. A foot massage is a great way to ease the tension in your feet, as well as being ideal if you just want to relax generally. We’ve done a little research to find out how to give yourself a soothing foot massage and what you need to keep in mind.
Why massage your feet?
Just like a body massage, a foot massage should produce a state of relaxation. Since tension and stress have been shown to lead to ill health, it is only natural that we should want to incorporate regular relaxation into our daily lives. As there are so many nerves at work in our feet, they are the ideal candidates for a massage and can help the whole body relax.
What kinds of foot massages are there?
There are several different types of foot massage. The first is relaxation massage, which uses simple massage strokes and takes no more than 10 minutes. Then there is the more involved foot reflexology massage, which, as the name suggests, divides the foot into reflex zones and then massages each zone using special techniques. Reflexology has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine and is designed to stimulate and innervate the organs, as well as to encourage relaxation. Special tools such as sticks are also used to do this. Since it isn’t particularly effective to give yourself a foot reflexology massage, we want to take a closer look at relaxation massage for the feet:
Relaxation foot massage
As we’ve already mentioned, relaxation massage is the kind of massage you can also give yourself and can start to work after just 10 minutes.
What do you need to bear in mind?
Before we start giving ourselves a massage, it is a good idea to take a warm bath or footbath to allow the muscles to relax more thoroughly beforehand. This is because heat is particularly good at loosening the tense muscles in the foot, helping us get the result we’re after more quickly.
Besides using a suitable massage gel, you can also use scented oils, of course. These oils should be prepared in advance. Relaxing music or scented candles can also be used to get you ready for your massage.
Now that we know how best to get set up ready for our foot massage, let’s take a step-by-step look at how to give yourself a massage.
How do you give yourself a massage?
Part 1 – Warm-up
Before we start with the actual massage, find a suitable sitting or lying position that allows you to really relax and get close to your feet. Before we start, it’s important to warm up – just like when you exercise. To do this, take the massage gel or oil (tip: personal lubricant is great for this too), grab the foot you want to start with and wring it out like a towel. Then you can slowly start to feel your way over your ankle, from the sole of your foot to the instep.
Part 2 – Kneading
You can now use your knuckles to gently knead the bridge of the foot from top to bottom, and along the inner sides. These areas tend to get particularly tired if you walk a long way. You can then use your index finger to make small circular movements in the middle of the sole of your foot and continue kneading on the outside with your knuckles from top to bottom.
Tip: Keep kneading for as long as you feel like it. Five minutes of kneading on each foot is usually enough when you are giving yourself a massage.
Part 3 – Stretching
Next, you can use your thumbs on the sole of your foot to pull the foot slightly wider, going outwards from the center and moving from top to bottom. This stretches the smaller muscles in your feet. We then stretch the toes inwards or outwards too, gripping them with our hands and stretching them. You can also loosen the feet a little by moving them gently back and forth and making circular movements.
Part 4 – Experiment to see what feels good
Once we have done with the stretching, we can either carry on kneading or gently work the inside or outside of the foot using our knuckles. We can also try out alternative techniques and change our sitting or lying position.
We have put together a few instructions for you, which you can try in a comfortable sitting position with one leg over the other so that your foot is on your thigh.
Other self-massage techniques:
- First place your hand and thumb around your inner ankle and use your thumb to stroke it and make loose circles
- Then knead from the ankle to the bridge of the foot and gently massage the metatarsal bones
- Then ‘rub’ up and down in the ‘grooves’ between the metatarsal bones, applying light pressure
- As you do this, you can use your other hand to press against the sole of your foot and gently stroke the sole of your foot
- Hold your toes with the whole of your hand, stretch them outwards and move them gently
What are the benefits of self-massage?
As we said before, we want to escape a little from the stress of our day-to-day lives and protect ourselves from illness. Apart from the relaxing effect that a foot massage has on the whole body, self-massage is also a good opportunity for self-reflection and simply for giving yourself a little self-love and me-time. If you prefer it when your partner gives you a massage, there are advantages to that too – it helps you get to know each other even better ? and does you both a world of good. Give it a try and ask for a foot massage.
Whatever treatment or type of massage you go for, give it a try and let yourself truly relax. When your feet are relaxed and free from blisters and chafing, you’ll be ready for anything. And of course, once you’ve enjoyed a footbath and massage, you can always give yourself a full pedicure too. For more tips on this, check out our blog.