“Honey, will you rub my feet?? Pleeease??!!”
Anyone who has ever given or received a foot massage knows how relaxing it can feel at the end of a long, tiring day. Regular foot massages can help ease stress and alleviate pain in the feet and lower legs, but the benefits of regular foot massages go far beyond simple relaxation and pain relief. They may even help you live longer.
Here are four simple but vital ways that regular foot massages can help improve your overall health:
Ever notice that when you rub your forehead it turns red temporarily? Massaging body tissues helps to stimulate blood flow to that part of the body. That is why regular foot massages can be especially beneficial to those who suffer from diseases that limit blood flow to the extremities, such as diabetes or Raynaud’s Disease. In these cases, improved circulation to the feet can sometimes greatly increase the life of the limb and improve overall sensation.
For those who simply suffer from cold feet, a foot massage is a great way to warm up on a chilly day without having to resort to wearing three pairs of socks.
The ancient modality of reflexology tells us that various regions of the feet are intricately connected to various organs and tissues throughout the body. Thus, when we massage specific areas of the feet, we help to remove toxins and increase healthy blood flow to the rest of the body. This article from the University of Minnesota notes that reflexology is a very useful complement to other treatments for maladies such as stress, cancer, diabetes, and headaches.
The video below from PsycheTruth shows a reflexologist in action and explains some of the benefits that reflexology can have throughout the entire body:
Lower Blood Pressure
Along with improving circulation, a 2004 study conducted by doctors in South Korea found that there was a significant decrease in systolic pressure in test subjects who received repeated reflexology treatments over the life of the study. The study went on to note that triglyceride levels were also significantly lowered in subjects receiving reflexology.
Edema is defined as the buildup of excess fluid due to trauma in a specific area of the body. Edemas can occur in the feet and legs of those with various conditions such as diabetes, heart problems, issues with the kidneys or in women who are pregnant, and dangerous, unhealthy levels of swelling can occur in these areas as a result. This 2010 study from a nursing school in Turkey found that foot and lower leg edema caused by pregnancy was significantly reduced in women who received regular daily foot massages.
Still not convinced that you can benefit from regular soothing foot massages? Even the renowned Harvard Medical School has jumped in on the action, noting that foot massage, “improves circulation, stimulates muscles, reduces tension, and often eases pain.” Whether you suffer from one of the conditions noted above or you’ve just had a rough day, a soothing foot massage may be just the key to not only feeling better today but also to leading a healthier, longer life.