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Posted on: March 4, 2019 at 12:27 pm
Last updated: March 12, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Even just thinking about getting a massage creates both relaxing and feel-good thoughts. Whether you prefer a whole-body massage or a session that focuses on your upper back and shoulders. Massage has many therapeutic effects and benefits, supporting your overall health and well-being.

Studies show that there’s one message you should opt-in for more. It is believed that our feet may benefit the most from massage. In traditional Chinese Medicine is it said that that the souls of the feet are connected to different bodily systems. Particular areas of the feet may stimulate and connect with specific organs and systems.

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It’s no wonder that massage is beneficial for the well-being of people of all different ages, and pets too! Working to promote relaxation and healthy blood flow, a simple self-administered foot massage for 10 to 15 minutes each day, before bed can do wonders for your health, its effects are so significant, that numerous studies have been conducted on the therapeutic benefits of touch and massage.

These studies focus on the physical and psychological benefits of massage on a variety of health conditions and ages:

  • A 15-minute massage was able to improve the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being for those in geriatric care [1]

  • Self-acupressure has been shown to alleviate the signs and symptoms of allergies, nausea, pain, and stress in healthy subjects [2]

  • Chinese massage works to stimulate the body’s rest and relaxation response, with the effects reaching their peak after just 10 minutes [3]

  • Infants with gastroesophageal reflux disease revealed a decrease of symptoms and infant stress, allowing them to reach a healthy weight after a massage was performed for 30 minutes, twice a week for six weeks [4]

  • Thai foot massage was administered to diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy. While results were noted after just the first session, after two weeks, range of motion, balance, and foot sensation improved significantly [5]

  • Pre-operative anxiety affects many patients who are undergoing minor or major surgery. Massage has been shown to decrease anxiety levels after just four 20-minute sessions [6]

  • Patients with dementia showed a positive improvement in alertness, mood, and relaxation with foot massage, even more so than with the alternative therapy of quiet presence [7]

Treat Yourself to a Simple Do-it-Yourself Foot Massage

It just takes 5-10 minutes of your time each night.

Step 1: Prepare

  • You can soak your feet in a tub of warm water before you start, you can optionally add minerals or natural essential oils such as frankincense, sandalwood or lavender
  • Use a natural oil such as sesame, coconut or olive or a clean-ingredient lotion
  • Sit down on a chair or a couch and prop one foot onto your lap, and let the other rest extended in front of you
  • Add a small amount of lotion of oil to prep your foot

Step 2: Soothe Your Sole

  • Hold the bottom of the foot firmly with both hands. Begin rubbing the top of the foot using a firm motion, while your thumbs slowly work their way down the sole of the foot
  • Use a loose fist or an open palm to gently tap the sole of your foot, to stimulate blood circulation

Step 3: Work the Toes

  • Hold your foot beneath the arch with one hand
  • Use your thumb and index finger to gently stretch your toes back
  • Gently pull each toe in a steady motion
  • Slide your index finger into the gap between each to, move this area back and forth, rubbing the base of each toe with your index finger and thumb if desired
  • Gently slide all five fingers between each of the toes simultaneously
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Step 4: Loosen Ankle Joints

  • Place your right foot on top of your left thigh. Using both hands, rotate your foot at the ankle and gently rub your fingers over the top of the bone
  • Grasp the ball of the foot with the other hand and turn the foot slowly at the ankle three to five times in each direction

Step 5: Apply Pressure to the Arches

  • Overlap your thumbs and apply gentle pressure in the arch, just below the heel bone. Then push slowly up to the bone of the big toe.
  • Begin again by pressing gently into the lower arch near the heel bone and then slowly spread your thumbs open, stretching the full width of the arch. Overlap your thumbs again, this time pressing a bit higher on the arch
  • End this portion of your foot massage by simply rubbing in large circular motions with your thumbs around the arch.

Step 6: Use the T-shape Fan Technique

  • Wrap both hands around your foot, with thumbs meeting at the bottom of your sole and fingers curled lightly onto the top of the foot
  • Press your thumbs into the sole of your feet and then sweep them up the center of your sole. Near the toes, fan the thumbs out toward the sides of the feet to complete the T-shape and stretch the foot outward

Massage Instructions Adapted from Lifehack

  1. Psychophysiological effects of hand massage in geriatric facility residents https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24476592
  2. Effect of self-acupressure for symptom management: a systematic review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25637155
  3. The Effect of Head Massage on the Regulation of the Cardiac Autonomic Nervous System: A Pilot Randomized Crossover Trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26562003
  4. Benefits of massage therapy for infants with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24379449
  5. Effects of Thai foot massage on balance performance in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy: a randomized parallel-controlled trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25892354
  6. The effects of foot reflexology massage on anxiety in patients following coronary artery bypass graft surgery: a randomized controlled trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24439644
  7. Foot massage versus quiet presence on agitation and mood in people with dementia: a randomized controlled trial https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24216598
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