From medical treatment to a treat for your significant other, a foot massage can be an incredible tool to accomplish a wide variety of objectives. There really isn’t much to the definition of foot massages, anything that involves rubbing and massaging the feet is technically a foot massage. However, the effectiveness depends on the technique and skill of the masseuse performing it. Foot massage is often used interchangeably with reflexology massage because there are many similarities. Note that the main difference is that reflexology is a bodywork treatment, while foot massages also include massage for pleasure.
History of Foot Massage
The roots of foot massages are found both in ancient Egyptian and Chinese culture. There is evidence in both cultures that over 4000 years ago foot massage was practiced as a medical treatment. The first therapeutic textbook that included foot massage was written in Chinese 4000 years ago.
Eventually foot massage made its way to Europe where it was widely used, but it wasn’t until 1582 that Dr. Atatis and Dr. Adamus wrote the first known book on foot massage.
Foot Massage Techniques
Just like in traditional reflexology massage it can be helpful to divide up the feet into different areas and work on them separately for the most part. Unlike other types of massage however there aren’t a wide variety of actual foot massage techniques due to the size and shape of the feet, only procedures and methods. The video below explains a very solid basic technique to give you a little more insight into how to give a foot massage.
The key points from the video on how to give a foot massage are as follows:
• If the person is ticklish, use higher pressure initially
• Start at one side of the foot and work your way down
• Stretch out the ankle at the same time to loosen the foot
• Be gentler under the arch, that area of the foot isn’t used to as much pressure
• Save the toes for last, they feel the best!
Benefits of Foot Massage
Why do people like foot massage so much? For the benefits of course! Foot massage is one of the most effective types off massage there is. Here are just a few major foot massage benefits:
• Improved Circulation: The extremities of the human body are the ones that struggle for blood flow the most. Add the fact that many of us sit for the majority of the day and wear socks and shoes that contribute to limiting circulation to the feet and you can see why using foot massages to improve circulation to the feet is really important. The improved circulation will have several positive effects, like clearing out waste products and supplying the feet with fresher nutrients (On top of that there are many other foot massage benefits that would take too much time to go into).
• Relaxation: The feet have over 7000 nerve endings in them. A massage using proper foot massage techniques will feel really good and help give you a feeling of relaxation all throughout your body.
• Aches: This is kind of a combination of the other benefits in a way. Improved circulation clearing out waste, combined with relaxation will help reduce or eliminate any aches and pains in your feet and even in other places of your body sometimes.
• Homeostasis: As said before the feet are connected to all parts of the body through the nerves they contain, which is the main principle of reflexology and one of the biggest benefits of foot massage. When massaged correctly, the feet can help bring other parts of the body into better working order, achieving homeostasis (stabilizing of the body systems)
• Energizing: Just as much as it is relaxing a foot massage can also energize you as a result of stimulating your feet and other parts of your body. It is not uncommon for people to feel really energized directly following a foot massage.