We all know that a short foot massage from time to time can help us relax, especially when our feet start to feel swollen after a long day of being outside and walking around. Sure, everyone loves it, but what exactly are the benefits, does it just make us feel more relaxed and relieve some pain?
There are several different massage techniques that guarantee certain benefits. Traditional treatments focus on relaxing muscles and joints; acupressure improves health and energy flow by acting on specific pressure points; aromatherapy uses essential oils and soothing music to add an extra element of relaxation through multiple senses, and reflexology improves internal organ function by massaging specific areas of the foot.
There are many claims, some quite outrageous, about what a simple massage can do for you, but there is little evidence to support these claims. Next we’ll see some of the benefits of foot massage that are backed by real science – benefits that are either immediate or can be seen and felt after just a few weeks, even if it’s only two to three times a week.
1. It’s good for your sex life
All it takes is some massage oil, a few scented candles and soft music to set the perfect mood for a night of passionate sex. A foot massage is a great form of foreplay for your significant other as a selfless little gift that they forget about the little worries they had to deal with throughout the day.
Feet are a great starting point because they can cause mild arousal and provide an easy transition to more powerfully sensual areas like the back of the knee and inner thighs.
2. Improve blood circulation
Due to our sedentary lifestyles, we have become less accustomed to using our muscles on a regular basis. The muscles in the feet hardly get any exercise and blood circulation is often compromised by tight and uncomfortable shoes. A 10-20 minute massage before bed can greatly improve circulation in the lower extremities, which is especially important for diabetics.
3. Helps prevent foot and ankle injuries
Massaging the feet can help relieve joint pain, help with recovery from injury, and reduce muscle soreness. However, when massage is combined with foot and ankle strengthening exercises and stretches, it can prevent future injuries and will speed recovery from existing injuries. Short training sessions three to five times a week will ensure you reduce the risk of injury. We all have our clumsy moments, but strong, flexible ankles and feet can ensure we avoid those unpleasant injuries.
4. Reduce the effects of depression and anxiety
From some studies on the effects of reflexology, it appears that this foot massage does more than just put people in a relaxed state during the massage.
Frequent sessions have been shown to significantly reduce anxiety in cancer patients. These techniques can be learned quickly and can be used as an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.
5. Helps treat headaches and migraines
A study conducted in Denmark showed that people who suffered from headaches and migraines showed great improvement after receiving reflexology. Subjects stopped taking medication and after three months, 65 % of them had reduced symptoms and a few were cured. It is believed that those who had reflexology managed to make more positive lifestyle changes, which may have helped them to get better results.
6. Lower blood pressure
High blood pressure has become quite common among modern men and women. It can be caused by many factors, such as stress and an unhealthy diet, but in most cases it has no specific cause and is thought to be the result of environmental factors and genes. A study of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease showed that 10 minutes of foot massage up to three times a week can improve mood, reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure. People with Alzheimer’s are under a lot of stress and are physically and emotionally heavy.
7. Help treat flat feet and plantar fasciitis
People with flat feet do not have normal arches due to lax ligaments, resulting in collapsed arches. It does not affect a person greatly, but some people can experience painful foot pain after light physical activity due to flat feet. Chronic heel pain can be caused by inflammation or deterioration of the plantar fascia (the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot). Regular foot exercises combined with a deep massage that applies strong pressure to the arch can help significantly reduce pain and even cure these conditions.
8. Helps relieve PMS symptoms
The most common symptoms during PMS include sadness and unhappiness, irritability, anxiety, tension, insomnia, fatigue, headaches, and mood swings. During this period, most of these symptoms can be relieved by a daily foot massage. Similarly, symptoms of menopause similar to those during PMS, plus hot flashes and depression, can be effectively reduced by regular massage.
9. Reduce the effects of edema in pregnant women
Edema, or swelling due to fluid retention in the feet and ankles, is more common in pregnant women and occurs mostly in the last trimester of pregnancy. This condition can be overcome by massaging the feet daily, along with adequate rest and a proper diet. As you can see, foot massage has many more benefits for physical and mental health than most people realize. While professional massage can sometimes be a bit pricey, there are many resources online to help you learn and understand the different styles of foot massage. It only takes about 10 – 20 minutes a few times a week so that you and your significant other can get the great benefits of a foot massage without having to do a lot or spend a lot.