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The Benefits Of Providing Your Own Feet With Regular Massages And How To Perform A Self-Massage Easily And Quickly

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For some people, their feet can be the source of pain and frustration; in other persons, feet problems can result in debilitation or lead to an undesired sedentary lifestyle.  If you are experiencing feet pain, or even if you are one of the fortunate individuals who don't have problems, then a foot massage is one of the best things you can do for your feet. Below are some of the benefits of foot massage as well as a guide to giving your own feet a complete, systematic massage:

The benefits of foot massage

While most body parts containing muscle respond to massage, the intricacies of the human foot make a massage that much more beneficial. Several parts, including the 26 bones and more than 30 joints that make up the human foot, benefit from being physically manipulated and stimulated. In modern society, the tendency to confine feet inside rigid shoes that do not permit them to flex and function naturally contributes to the dysfunction experienced by many individuals. While disposing of shoes entirely may not be a practical solution to this dilemma, massage is a way to help compensate for the damage done.

Specifically, massage of the feet can help in the following ways:

  • Break apart tight, constricted muscle fibers – after an injury or even after prolonged inactivity, muscle fibers can bind up and become knotted masses of tissue. These tough fibers are difficult to work free with ordinary movement, but deep massage is effective at breaking them into separate, looser strands.
  • Improve circulatory system functioning – the capillaries and other blood vessels within the feet respond to physical manipulation, and this makes circulation more vigorous and less-confined.
  • Force bones, muscles and connective tissues to move in different ways – with the negative effects caused by the excessive wearing of shoes and lack of foot exercise, massage can be beneficial by manipulating feet out of their conforming, confining patterns.

How to perform a self foot massage

Performing your own foot massage may seem strange at first, but you will quickly appreciate the benefits it offers. Below is what you need to do:

1. Find a quiet, relaxing location - one of the major side benefits of a foot massage is the added degree of relaxation it can provide your whole body. To help increase this benefit, find a comfortable, secluded location where you can sit down. You will find the best position is sitting with your feet at the same level as your waist.

2. Begin by stretching your toes - before you sit down, remove your socks and shoes. Stand on a firm surface, such as a hardwood floor, and slowly elevate your heels; be sure to hold on to a stationary object if you feel you may lose your balance. Repeat this several times, but be careful not to strain your feet or ankles. This exercise is meant to loosen your feet's soft tissues and joints, not to build muscle mass.

3. Perform deep massage with your thumb - after the initial time of foot stretching, sit down and cross your right foot over your left so it is resting on your knee. Stiffen your thumb of either hand, and push it slowly and firmly into the center of the bottom of your foot. Don't push so hard that it becomes painful, but be sure to provide adequate force for an effective massage. Slowly move your thumb across your foot from heel to toes and back down again; repeat this motion several times. Next, move your thumb across your foot from the instep to the opposite side of your arch; again, repeat this several times. If at any point you begin to feel pain, you need to stop the massage immediately and try again another time. Once you finish with your right foot, switch to the left foot and repeat these motions.

4. Perform toe stretches with your sock - after finishing deep massage, place one of your socks between the big toe and middle toe of your right foot. Next, grab hold of each end of the sock and slowly move the sock right and left so your toes are spread apart. Continue these stretches for about 1 minute at each location between your toes, then move to the left foot and repeat your sock stretches for that foot.

5. Keep your shoes off for as long as possible - while not strictly part of the massage, it's helpful to walk around your home barefooted for as much of the day as you can. For an individual with healthy feet, going without socks and shoes is of maximum benefit. It allows your tissues and joints to naturally flex and extend, and it also prevents other potential health problems such as athlete's foot. You will find your feet feeling much better at the end of a long day if you keep them out of the confined spaces of shoes.

Foot massages can help your feet. But, if you have unexplained foot pain that won't go away, you should contact a foot specialist in your area to get it treated.