It is believed that stimulating these points on the feet can help aid relaxation, improve mood, release tension, enhance sleep and can generally help improve wellbeing; allowing us to cope better with the stresses that life can bring.(2) Which may explain why foot massage of any kind can have an effect on the whole body.
Here is a snap shot of seven hidden benefits of foot massage:
1. Promotes better sleep and helps you to relax
Many people find foot massage relaxing, it can be a way to help you unwind from a busy day at work, thus allowing you to switch off your mind and ready your body for sleep.
A study shows participants who received 12x30min foot massage were found to have improved quality sleep. (1)
2. Improves blood circulation, alleviates edema, and reduces the symptoms of restless leg syndrome.
At the end of the day do you have swollen feet and ankles? Due to sedentary lifestyles and footwear choices, the circulation to our feet might be impaired.
Being one of the furthest extremities from your heart and if you spend lots of your day standing in one spot or sitting, your feet might need a little helping hand with circulation. Massage may help to promote venous return. This may help to alleviate any fluid retention or edema (swelling) symptoms and the feeling of heavy restless legs.
3. Fights depression
Studies show participants who received 12x30min foot massage were found to have less depression disorders (1).
4. Relieves aches and pains
Been on your feet all day? Do you wear high heels? Then you will know that feeling of sore feet. Massage may help to alleviate that tightness you are feeling in your feet and promote healing of any injuries that you may have received.
5. Makes feet healthier and can reduce your risk of falling
Massage may help by reducing the tension in your feet, improving movement and flexibility. This may improve the proprioceptor behaviour of our feet, thus allowing us to be more secure of our feet and reducing the risk of falls. Shin, M-S and Sung, Y-H found that among people with exercise induced muscle damage of the feet the ones who received massage treatment had significantly greater proprioceptive acuity than that of the control group. (5)
6. Eases menopause symptoms
Many women can experience symptoms of irritability, bloating, fatigue, headaches, hot flashes, sleep disturbances and even mood changes including depression during menopause. Research has shown foot massage of any kind may have a positive effect on the symptoms of menopause, improving mood and helping to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms associated with menopause (4).
7. Lowers blood pressure
Studies have shown that foot massage may help reduce mean arterial blood pressure. A study by Azami H et al showed that when foot massage was performed on patients in the ICU it helped to reduce mean arterial blood pressure at the 1 and 5 minutes post intervention and also gave patients a sense of calmness (3). Foot massage is a simple intervention that can be performed by nurses, physicians, physical therapists, and even patients’ family member which may help to improve outcomes of patient in ICU (3).
Foot massage not only feels nice at the end of a long day, it also has lots of hidden benefits. It is an easy intervention that a trained massage therapist can perform or if you’re lucky enough you may be able to convince a friend or family member to give those feet a rub and start feeling the wide range of benefits today.
by Ben Hewitt
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