After a long day of being on your feet, walking home from work or even just squeezing your feet into a pair of uncomfortable shoes, a simple foot massage can make a world of difference. But knowing how to give yourself a good massage makes all the difference. Consider this just one of many ways to practice self-care, by giving your tootsies some much-needed TLC — or asking a partner to do it for you.
(As a quick note: Be careful when receiving a foot massage during pregnancy. Some pressure points may cause contractions.)
Here’s how to give a foot massage like a pro:
How does a foot massage sound?
Regardless of whether you’re on the receiving end of a foot massage or you’re the one giving it, you both will experience many benefits, Even if you are simply massaging your own feet, it can still be a rewarding and satisfying way to end your day.
- The giver: Giving a friend or loved one a foot massage is very soothing and calming for you, too, and can actually cause your blood pressure to decrease. It’s a very caring, nurturing, and bonding experience to share with another person (as weird as that may sound).
- The receiver: Obviously, this is really the best position to be in. Foot massage will help reduce your stress, boost circulation, and relieve blood stagnation from wearing ill-fitting shoes. In addition, it will dramatically relax your body, soothe foot muscles, and undo knots and tension in your toes, balls of your feet, arches, and ankles. It will even soften your feet if a cream or massage oil is applied!
- One-on-one: Though not as fulfilling as having your feet massaged by another, self-massage enables you to care for your feet on a regular basis, to de-stress and pamper your feet as you see fit.
Next Up: Techniques for foot massage
A version of this article was originally published in April 2008.