When feet are tired or aching from too much standing, walking, or just from being cooped up in dress shoes, a good foot massage can reduce foot aches, relieve stress and improve the mood. A foot massage from a boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse is nurturing, comforting and even intimate.
How do you massage a friend or family member’s feet? Following the steps below will make you the go-to person for happy feet.
Soaking the feet before you start massaging them isn’t required, but it feels good and starts the relaxation. Put a handful of Epsom salts into a basin with a few drops of peppermint essential oil if available (substitute lavender or orange essential oil during pregnancy), then add three or four inches of warm water. Soak the feet about five minutes.
Gently pat each foot dry with a towel. Cover your knee with a dry towel and place a foot on your knee.
Using one hand to support the foot just above the ankle, grasp the foot in the other hand and rotate it gently.
You can proceed without using any lubricant on the foot’s surface, but I prefer the glide and aroma of peppermint foot balm. Peppermint foot balm, which comes in a small tube and is about the consistency of toothpaste, kills foot odor and provides a refreshing tingle. Place a small dab of peppermint foot balm on the palm of your hand, then rub your palms lightly together to warm the balm. Now wipe the palms of your hands several times firmly down the sole of the foot.
No peppermint foot balm handy? Substitute foot lotion, body lotion, or body butter in a pleasing scent. You’ll use a blob of lotion only the size of a dime on each foot. Or continue without using any lubricant.
Many people have ticklish feet. Broad strokes and firm pressure throughout the massage will prevent tickling. If your pressure is so firm that it’s uncomfortable, your massage recipient will flinch or speak up. If he or she is melting into mush, the pressure is perfect.
The following steps don’t have to be done in any particular order or for any specified length of time:
·Holding the heel of the foot in one hand, fist the other hand and run the knuckles from heel to toes several times.
·Grasp the foot in both hands and use your thumbs to draw circles up and down the soles.
·Squeeze the foot between your hands.
·Hold the heel with one hand while you gently grasp and tug each toe with the other.
·Roll a firm, bumpy ball, which you can buy in the pet department, across the foot.
Repeat each stroke as many times as you want. If your hands get tired or you get bored with the repetition, change to another massage stroke.
Rubbing the foot briskly with the towel is a good way to conclude the massage. This feels invigorating and rejuvenating as it removes any excess lotion or foot balm.
Now repeat the sequence on the other foot.
You can spend two minutes or 20 minutes with this foot massage; either will give your friend or family member happy feet.
If you want happy feet for yourself and don’t have someone handy to massage them for you, use a tennis ball or the firm bumpy pet ball described above. Place the ball on the floor and roll it with your foot, applying as much pressure as you like.