After a long day standing on our feet or running errands, we all know that a foot massage can be incredibly relaxing. We might not really understand the real, scientific benefits that a foot massage can bring to our health and well-being, but there's science behind the varied techniques.
The traditional massage relaxes parts of the foot to relieve pain and loosen tight joints and muscles. Acupressure's technique improves health and energy by accessing certain zones and pressure points. Reflexology uses the zones of the foot to impact functions of the organs within the body. Aromatherapy adds music and scents to the various massages to improve relaxation.
There are real scientific benefits that can be supported with proof and data with as little as a few massages per week for a week or two. Consider using an oil for foot massage to see better results.
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1. Depression and Anxiety are Reduced
While it seems that the process of sitting down and pampering yourself is enough to see real relaxation, it can actually have benefits for those who have serious anxiety symptoms like those who are dealing with cancer (1). Patients with cancer have seen significant reduction in their depression and anxiety symptoms that go beyond the relaxed state achieved during a massage.
When you reduce the amount of anxiety, it also improves the quality of your sleep. That's why it's beneficial to do a short foot massage before bed.
2. Improved Circulation
Unfortunately, there are many people who aren't as active as they should be on a daily basis. They are not getting the exercise they need, which leads to being overweight or out of shape. When the muscles in the feet and legs are not used as often as they should, the circulation can be limited to the extremities.
A massage of less than 20 minutes before bed can show improved circulation in no time at all. It's vital for those who have diabetes to improve their circulation (2), or they could have serious complications in their feet.
Check out our recommendations for the best foot massagers for diabetics.
3. Migraine and Headache Relief
The American Journal of Public Health (3) conducted a study that reported serious improvements for those who have migraines and received reflexology massages. The subjects of the study refrained from taking their normal medications and completed 3 months of reflexology massages.
At the end of the study, there were reduced symptoms in 65% of the study's participants. The changes in pain and the addition of reflexology was thought to bring more changes in the lifestyle of the study's participants, too.
4. Lowered Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is common for those who see high stress levels and unhealthy diets. It can be a part of the person's genetic makeup, too. High blood pressure can be a direct result of the type of job that the person has.
Healthcare staff working with elderly dementia patients were studied to see how a massage would help them. The study showed (4) that after a 10-minute massage, 3 times a week the staff showed less stress and lower blood pressure overall.
5. Alleviates PMS and Menopause Symptoms
Hormonal changes in the body can cause many women to have serious mood swings, feelings of sadness and anxiety as well as physical changes like fatigue and migraine headaches when they have PMS or menopause. These hormonal fluctuations can regularly cause insomnia and tension, too. Regular foot massages (5) have been shown to minimize the severity of many changes in the woman's body.
6. Reduces Swelling from Edema
Pregnant women often have swelling in their legs, feet, and ankles due to fluid retention. This type of fluid retention is called edema. It normally impacts the woman's body in the third trimester. Many women saw relief or reduction of their symptoms with regular foot massages (6) and diet changes.
7. Relieves Pain from Plantar Fasciitis
The tendon that runs from the toe to the heel is called the plantar fascia. This tendon can be overtaxed and overworked when it's tight. Stretching as well as foot massages can warm the tendon and keep it loose, so that there's less of a chance that the person will end up with plantar fasciitis. Those with flat feet have problems with tendons in the foot, too. Regular foot massages can help prevent a variety of foot-related issues as well cure the conditions (7).
Professional foot massages every week with a licensed and trained technician who understands reflexology is a great way to increase your entire emotional and physical well-being. Unfortunately, many people are unable to afford the costs of weekly massage visits.
There are some more affordable alternatives that you can try at home. It can take a few minutes a few times a week before you will see the incredible benefits of a foot massage.
Think about getting a foot massager machine. Alternatively, it's not as difficult as you might think to learn the art of reflexology or use reflexology sandals. You could also consider trying a Thai foot massage.
RELATED: The Best Calf and Foot Massagers
Here's an interesting infographic that lists 25 foot massage benefits. You can learn more by reading beginner massage books.
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