The feet are very unique body parts to massage because they are very tough yet very sensitive. They hold the weight of the body throughout the day, using small muscles repeatedly to help you walk, run, jump, kick, and balance. They also have a lot of nerves that can trigger physical effects throughout the body. Based on Eastern forms of therapy and Reflexology techniques, the different parts of the feet represent major parts throughout the body including the head, major organs, and other parts that help your body function. Massaging the feet can often help relieve tension or pain in the other parts of the body. If done correctly, you could technically “kill multiple birds with one stone” just by massaging the feet.
In Reflexology and Acupuncture, there are graphs that show the bottom of the feet and have the various parts of the feet (for example toes, heels, and arch) that are believed to be connected to major parts of the body. When these areas are given physical attention by gently rubbing and applying pressure, often the areas they connect to will benefit. Many times sore parts of the feet are not directly caused by over exertion but rather are signals telling you that there is something wrong with say, your spleen, kidneys, or intestines.
When massaging your own feet or the feet of someone else it is best to use lotion or oils because the skin of feet is often callused or cracked and the friction will cause pain instead of relief. Also, it can help to work from the top down, starting at the ankles and working your way down to the toes so that you do not miss any part.
Rolling or rotating motions work well with the feet because it is a good way to loosen up the ankle and toes. You want to be careful you do not rotate any part of the foot too quickly because it could easily injure the area, and you want to be sure that you rotate in both directions. When rotating the toes, you want to hold the toe at the base (the closest part to the foot) and gently turn it both directions. You also want to make sure you do each toe individually rather than grabbing them by the handful and squishing them together.
Another important technique is rubbing with idea of spreading the muscles apart. by starting at the heal and gently applying pressure along the soul of the arch towards the ball of the foot you can increase energy flow and circulation in the feet. This automatically allows for healing in the pressure points connected to the rest of the body. Also, you can spread the toes apart while gently rubbing in between the toes to allow for space in those small crevices.
When massaging the foot, it is also extremely important to apply the right amount of pressure. You definitely do not want to barely touch the skin because feet are ticklish. No one wants to be tickled during a massage because tickling does not induce relaxation. However, you do not want to press too firmly because it could cause pain not only in the foot but perhaps in other part of the body if a pressure point is over worked.