Our feet are, perhaps, our most overlooked body part and possibly go through the most abuse. Outside of bi-weekly pedicures, how much love are we showing our literal support systems?
Although they are tough, they are incredibly important in determining how the rest of our bodies move and function so we must treat them with care.
There are more than 72,000 nerve endings in a foot and they each correspond to a different part of your body.
Foot massages are oftentimes performed by a reflexologist and reflexology methods cater to not only your body but your mind, as well.
Many studies show that foot massages help reduce stress and blood pressure for those suffering from emotional issues. These types of problems could be related to high-stress jobs or loss of a loved one.
This practice has been known to cure illness, calm anxiety, detoxify, give energy and of course, improve circulation.
Unfortunately, reflexologists and masseuses can be expensive and appointments can be time-consuming.
We’ve compiled some ways for your to give yourself a helpful and healing DIY foot massage while refreshing your entire body.
Soak, baby, soak!
Start by giving your feet a nice, hot bath. This specific act is drawing the toxins out of your body through your sweat glands.
Depending on what kind of treatment you'd like, there are different things you can put in the water to target your specific foot problems.
There are a lot of additives that have the potential to make the experience more enjoyable.
If you don't think you have the patience for a soak, don't worry. This is a great time to get some reading done or take care of other idle tasks.
Essential oil soaks only require a few drops. Lavender oil is a natural pain reliever and is perfect for soothing sore muscles and joints.
Juniper berry oil is especially good for those with arthritis. Cypress oil is known to work magic on blisters and acts as a natural deodorant.
If you're feeling sick, you can help reduce fevers with a peppermint oil bath. This additive is also good for helping you feel calm and relaxed.
If you're feeling like your essential oil bath still needs a little more "oomph," add a teaspoon of vegetable oil or whole milk to the water mixture. Doing this can increase the strength and intensity of the oil soak.
The magnesium and sulfate mix in a warm Epsom salt bath is easily absorbed through your skin.
This helps relieve muscle tension, pain, and joint inflammation. On top of that, Epsom salt can help flush toxins and heavy metals from your skin cells.
Epsom salts are super anti-inflammatory, so a soak might also be a good idea if you're suffering from soreness. This applies to those who have sprains in ankles or toes, bruising, or arch problems.
There are also claims that Epsom salt has anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties.
Lemony baths drive out dead skin, reduce foot odor and restore shine to your skin and nails. Lemon has also been shown to help dry, brittle nails come back to life.
This soak is also a good method for helping yellowing nails return to their healthy pink state.
Best of all, lemon is a lot cheaper than oils, lotions and other products. In fact, you probably have some in your kitchen right now.
This one is really good if you suffer from lots of dead skin, discoloration, infections, or smelly feet.
You can make a simple exfoliating bath by mixing a couple of tablespoons of baking soda with a half cup of rice and a tub of water. The mixture will ultimately act as an antibacterial agent.
A baking soda bath can also work wonders for the prevention of recurring infections.
It may also help reduce the kind of excessive perspiration from the soles that lead to foot odor.
Work your pressure points.
Giving yourself or someone else a good DIY foot massage is all about knowing where to put the pressure. Each spot in your foot can affect a totally different area of your body.
As such, it's important to do your research and be intentional about where you’re focusing.
If your main issue is head or neck pain, you should consider focusing your massage on your toes and their joints, or the "toe knuckles".
If you're more concerned about stress, aching, or tightness in the spine area, your massage should involve working on the insides of your feet. Apply pressure all the way from the tips of your toes to the very back of your heel.
If you're feeling sore or tight in your chest, you can find some relief by working the ball of your foot. If you're worried about your waistline apply focused pressure to the area of your foot that is the smallest width.
This is located between the ball of your foot and your heel. For pelvic pain, massage your heel, specifically on the left-hand side, to focus on stomach pain.
If you're seeking relief in your lower back, you can start by working your thumb down the inside line of your foot, from the tip of your big toe to your ankle. By doing this you'll be influencing all of the spine reflexes at once.
If you want to relieve menstrual cramps, the correct pressure point is the web of skin between your big second toes.
Apply some light pressing to that spot, moving gradually in the direction of the second toe. In order to get the full benefits, continue repeating this move this for at least one full minute.
Lastly, if you're looking for relief from shoulder pain, you'll need to focus on your pinky toe. The best move is to firmly run your thumb up and down the bottom of your toe.
Besides using reflexology for specific body areas, a really good DIY foot massage will give each part of your foot plenty of attention.
On top of massage, simple ankle rotations are a good exercise to undertake. This motion can help loosen joints and relax the foot overall.
The ankles are often overlooked by DIY or first time home masseuses. More importantly, this type of exercise can help with joint mobility as you get older.
It's equally important to make sure you include some toe action. Try pulling your toes gently away from your body and then squeezing them between your thumb and forefinger. This can go a long way in contributing to your relaxation.
If you can, make sure you're also practicing toe slides. To do these, slide your fingers back and forth in the spaces between your toes.
Another good move is the arch press, which is a rocking motion from the ball of your foot toward the heel and back.
Doing this will help relieve tension in both your inner and outer arches at the same time.
Also, make sure you’re giving plenty of focus to the top of your foot. This is an easy thing to forget when it feels like you're getting most of your relief from massage on the sole.
Rub the top of your foot firmly with your thumb, applying more pressure going in one direction than the other. This may provide major tension relief, extending all the way up your shin.
Finally, it's important to make sure that you're not just stopping at the ankle.
By massaging your leg all the way up to your knee, you'll find that the relief you bring to your feet is even more extensive.
Sometimes we forget that the ankles and calves have a great deal to do with how your feet function and feel.
Invest in your dogs.
If you’re interested in taking the leap, you could even buy a product or two to enhance your overall DIY foot massage experience.
These are some items and we love that have the potential to seriously improve your at-home rub down.
- Peppermint drops can go a long way towards cooling and deodorizing your feet and invigorate your DIY foot massage.
- Earth Therapeutics Reflexology Foot Massage Lotion combines lavender, wild mint, tea tree oil and vitamins A and E together for an inexpensive, highly-rated moisturizer. The lotion is available in many stores and online retail sites.
- The Foot Rubz foot hand and back massage ball stimulates some well-known acupuncture points and immediately begins to relieve tension and muscle soreness in your feet. The ball is based on Asian acupressure techniques, and its scientific basis means it has the power to work for your whole body.
- Try wooden-base acupuncture foot massage slippers, which are designed to treat your feet to constant massaging and attention as you walk around throughout the day.
- If you're hoping to cap off your at-home massage with some serious foot therapy, you can try a foot and leg massager like uPhoria Warm Leg Massager for a full leg massage.
Make the time to give your feet a much-deserved soak, allow for plenty of DIY foot massage time in which you're able to focus on key pressure points, and use great products to enhance your massage experience.
If you do all of this, you'll find your at home treatment to be just as satisfying as the kind of massage you'd empty your wallet for outside of the house.
And if you don't have the time to totally DIY? Investing in a quality foot and leg massager can go a long way towards your overall health.
Remember: if you're going to give yourself a DIY foot massage, you might as well do it all the way.
By giving attention to every area of your feet instead of just specific areas, you may be able to get some relief for your entire body through these simple DIY foot massage techniques.