The Many Benefits of Foot Massage
Our feet go through a lot on a day-to-day basis. Whether you have an athletic lifestyle or a job that requires being on your feet for long periods, extended use of one’s feet can lead to pain, swelling, decreased mobility, and impaired balance. This can slow your plans down or put a wrench in them entirely. That is where the many benefits of foot massage can help improve your quality of life.
Many of the common issues we experience in our feet stem from poor circulation due to pregnancy, age, obesity, preexisting health conditions, or simply having a sedentary lifestyle. Poor circulation in our feet can cause pain, tension, and swelling, not to mention cold, tingling, or throbbing sensations in our feet.
Massage helps blood to release pressure in congested areas, allowing new, oxygen-rich blood to rush in. Along with blood circulation, foot massages also help improve circulation in the lymphatic system. This system, in part, maintains fluid balance in the body and plays a key role in preventing illness by helping to flush out bacteria and create cells called lymphocytes which help fight disease.
Improves Blood Pressure
Because of the impact of a foot massage on circulation, it lends itself well to helping improve blood pressure. But an improvement of circulation isn’t the only way a foot massage helps improve blood pressure. High blood pressure is often caused by an increase in stress. Because foot massages promote overall relaxation, they can also help reduce high blood pressure.
Circulation improved by massage also plays a role in helping feet recover from sports injuries. The improvement in lymphatic circulation helps prevent waste materials from building up in injured areas, as well as infections. Along with this, keeping these muscles, especially scarred muscles, relaxed and stretched allows the muscles to heal more quickly, relieving pain in the process. This stretching and working of the muscles also has a strengthening effect that can prevent future injuries from occurring.
Relieves Foot Conditions
Bunions, or bony profusions in the big toe, are usually painful in part because of the stiffness of the muscles around the profusion. That is why simple stretches are often recommended to help bring relief to bunions other than surgery. Massage is a good way to help stiff muscles stretch out and relax, making it a good choice to help bring relief to bunion pain.
Arthritis in the feet is associated with muscle stiffness and pain, all of which are greatly improved by massage therapy. Arthritis also causes inflammation in the joints, leading to painful swelling. Because of a massage’s ability to improve blood flow, foot massage can help manage inflammation. Even those suffering from osteoarthritis, which finds its roots more in the bones than the feet, often find relief from foot massage.
Even though having flat feet isn’t generally considered a debilitation condition, over time it can lead to pain in the feet and the legs. This is often due to “over-pronation,” or when the feet tend to roll inward when walking. This can put a great deal of stress on these muscles, leading to pain. A massage helps to relieve this pain, as well as stretch out the muscles in order to prevent further injuries.
Restless Foot Syndrome
Another condition that few would connect with foot massage is restless leg syndrome. RLS, a condition especially common in older individuals, causes individuals to have an irrepressible urge to move their legs, especially at night. Although the cause of RLS is not known, research has suggested that massage can bring relief to those struggling with the condition.
Because balance involves so many muscles throughout the body, it’s hard to believe that simply massaging the feet can help improve balance. But massaging the muscles of the feet helps to stretch and strengthen them. Being able to have sure footing is one important aspect of having good balance, so massage can help the body toward that goal. It should be noted that if one’s goal is to improve their balance, massage should be done in conjunction with other exercises.
Reflexology, or zone therapy, is a massage theory that suggests that if you massage certain pressure points along the feet, it will help improve the health of other parts of the body. This includes helping with sleep conditions like insomnia. Although research is still ongoing about the effectiveness of reflexology, researchers agree that there are relaxation benefits of foot massage of any type. This release of tension and relief of pain symptoms can put an individual in a better mindset to sleep.
Some research has even suggested that foot massages can help improve symptoms and nausea. These theories have arisen because of the role of dopamine receptors in nausea symptoms. Because foot massage is directly related to dopamine receptors in the brain, it is possible that foot massages can help mitigate nausea’s effects.
Those who ascribe to the theories of reflexology also believe that foot massage can affect the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve, which travels from the brainstem to the bottom of the abdomen, is associated with several functions including the digestive tract. Because of this, it is believed that affecting this nerve can help relieve nausea symptoms.
The relaxed mindset that a foot massage gives you can make you feel better in your waking hours too. Massage in general is known to reduce stress-causing cortisol in the system and increase feel-good endorphins as well. These endorphins not only help us to feel happier, but the human touch tends to help us feel less lonely too. Foot massage is no exception. In addition, the fact that foot massage reduces pain also helps to reduce the distress that can come trying to cope with muscle pain on a regular basis.
Getting a foot massage is more than a great way to wind down at the end of the day. Foot massages can help offer relief from painful conditions that make life more difficult for countless people. Our wide variety of home massage devices offer these benefits and more.