Foot massages are relaxing and a great way to pamper your feet. They also work wonders for the body in ways you would least expect them to.
There are a several different massage techniques that all promise certain health benefits. Traditional therapeutic techniques focus on relaxing the muscles and joints; acupressure seeks to improve general health and energy flow by acting upon specific pressure points; aromatherapy uses scented oils and relaxing music to add an additional element of relaxation by acting upon multiple senses; and reflexology seeks to improve internal organ function by massaging specific areas of the foot.
We will take a look at some of the benefits of foot massage that are supported by actual scientific research – benefits that are either immediate or can be seen and felt after a couple of weeks, even with as little as two to three sessions per week.
1. Improves circulation
Our feet spend most of their time being suffocated by tight shoes and socks that hamper blood circulation. Foot massages improve circulation in the feet, which is also known to help with diabetes. A 10–20 minute massage session before going to bed can greatly improve circulation in the lower extremities, which is particularly important for people suffering from diabetes.
2. Helps prevent foot and ankle injuries
Massaging the feet can help with joint pain and aid recovery after an injury, as well as reduce muscle soreness. However, when massage is combined with foot and ankle strengthening exercises and stretching it can prevent future injuries, as well as speed up recovery of existing injuries.
3. Reduces the effects of depression and anxiety
Stress and depression are the leading causes of many killer diseases. Foot massages are a great way to relieve depression and stress due to their soothing and relaxing properties. They also have the ability to reduce anxiety.
Frequent sessions have been shown to significantly reduce anxiety in cancer patients. The techniques can be learned fairly quickly and can serve as an effective way of dealing with depression and anxiety.
4. Helps with headaches and migraines
A study conducted in Denmark showed that people suffering from headaches and migraines showed great improvement after receiving reflexology treatments. Massage can also reduce the pain of headaches and migraines by relaxing the mind. It is believed that those who had reflexology foot massages managed to make additional positive lifestyle changes that may have contributed to their impressive results.
5. Lowers blood pressure High blood pressure is a common condition.
Office stress, unhealthy eating habits, lethargy and junk foods are some of the factors responsible for high blood pressure. A 10-minute foot massage can help significantly by enhancing mood, controlling anxiety, maintaining blood pressure and improving blood circulation.
6. Helps with flat feet and plantar fasciitis
Flat feet don’t have major side effects, but some people experience pain after mild physical activities. The plantar fascia, which is a thick band of tissues connecting the heel bone to the toes, can deteriorate or become inflamed, causing chronic heel pain. A foot massage can help reduce pain and inflammation.
7. Helps alleviate symptoms of PMS and menopause
PMS and menopause have similar symptoms, such as mood swings, irritability, headaches, anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia, to name a few. Regular foot massages can ease these symptoms.
In the same vein, symptoms of menopause, which are similar to those suffered during PMS with the addition of hot flashes and depression, can be effectively minimized with regular massages.
8. Reduces effects of edema in pregnant women
Edema, that is, swelling due to fluid retention in the feet and ankles, is very common in pregnant women, mostly in the last trimester. This condition can be combated by massaging the feet on a daily basis, coupled with plenty of rest and the right diet.
As you can see, foot massage is a lot more beneficial to both physical and mental health than most people realize. Although professional massages can sometimes be a bit costly, there are plenty of resources available online that can help you learn a thing or two about the different styles of foot massage. It only takes some 10–20 minutes a few times a week, so you and your significant other can reap the tremendous benefits of foot massage without a lot of work.