Unless you are in a spa with trained professionals, a good foot massage is hard to come by. But, what even constitutes a good foot massage? Actually, not too much. While a good foot massage is hard to find, it’s not too hard to learn.
In fact, with a few simple tricks, you can get the hang of a great foot massage and enjoy all of the benefits. Here’s everything you need to know about giving a great foot massage:
Why Foot Massages Are Awesome
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of feet, it’s hard to deny the benefits of a foot massage. Some cultures believe that certain pressure points on the feet are a way of curing ailments in other points in the body. The belief, termed reflexology, has not been thoroughly studied via traditional science. However, some studies have suggested that reflexology has been effective in decreasing pain.
The 10 Steps
Check out our ten steps to the best foot massage:
1) Warm Up Twists
These twists are a great way to warm up the feet for a foot massage. The technique involves placing the palms on either side of the foot and gently pulling the right side of the foot forward while pushing the left to the back, then switch and move your foot a few times back and forth. The twisting motion helps increase circulation to the foot and warms you up for the rest of the foot massage.
It is recommended that you start with twists or some other warm-up motion to ensure that your massages have the desired effect.
2) Arch Rubs
The arch of the foot does a lot to support not only the feet but the entire body. That being said, the arches are sensitive, so you’ll want to start rubbing them with your fingers and then carefully progress to your knuckles to vary the pressure. Start at the heel of the foot, and with mild pressure, rub to the ball of the foot. Increase or decrease pressure depending on your comfort level. This shouldn’t hurt, but you should feel a little bit of pressure.
3) Toe Bends
Bending the toes helps encourage circulation and flexibility. Hold the heel of the foot in one hand while bending the toes back with the other hand. Repeat several times until your toes are flexed to their full range of motion. You should feel your toe muscles stretch, but you should not feel pain.
4) Foot Spread
The foot spread might allow you to massage your foot along its natural width. Hold your foot on either side and gently pull outward, allowing your toes and your foot to spread. If this sounds familiar, you’re probably right- this technique is often employed at spas and even used in salons during pedicures.
5) Heel Squeeze
To massage the heel of your feet, hold the top of the foot in one hand and the heel in the other. Squeeze and release the back of the heel varying pressure according to your own preferences. You can also use your thumbs to put pressure on various points of your heel.
6) Ball of the Foot
Gently massage the ball of the foot with your thumbs or knuckles. If the pressure feels too light, you can increase it, but you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable during this part of the foot massage, so decrease the pressure if something starts to hurt. You can also gently pinch the ball of the food with your thumb and your other fingers. The motion helps you cover more of the arch and stimulate various points that otherwise might be missed.
7) Learn About the Pressure Points- Or Guess
It is thought that certain pressure points within the instep can be particularly powerful; however, the pressure points on the foot are relatively easy to find if by blind luck. Start at your instep first, and then you can use the thumb to gently massage the instep and press down the back of the heel.
8) Isolate the Toes
Gently massaging the toes can feel amazing. Each toe, from your big toe to your pinky, can be incredibly fun. To do this, start with either your big toe or your pinky going from the base of the end of your toe. You can choose to do this in any order you like- as long as you get all of your toes.
9) Mind the Achilles
While your Achilles’ tendon is not part of your foot exactly, it is an integral part of your ankle connected to your foot and can cause stress to the muscles around your feet if not handled properly. You can massage your Achilles tendon with your thumb and fingers- just place them on either side and be gentle.
10) Top and Side Circles
Sometimes, the best foot massage involves going beyond the feet and the ankles and calves. After all, massaging the muscles near your feet can be both fun and beneficial in increasing circulation. This might mean a gentle ankle or calf massage when you warm-up or during the massage session.
Here are a few things to keep in mind with foot massages:
Not Everyone Likes It
Not everyone is up for a foot massage, and that’s ok. If someone isn’t comfortable, you can find something that makes all parties feel at ease.
Some People Have Sensitive Reflexes
There are a few sensitive points within the body, and some of these are located in the feet. If someone is worried about accidentally kicking you during a foot massage, make sure that your head is out of range and support your massage partner by going extra slow.
Lotion Can Help
Some lotions are designed to smooth skin, but they can also make things extra slippery. Use your best judgment.
Give A Gift
Sometimes, the best foot massages come from a gift to someone, rather than yourself. If you have someone who likes regular food massages, finding the best foot massager online might be the best way to go.