Our unfortunate feet, we tread along many days without thinking about what we make our feet go through, forget about giving them a good massage. We are so engrossed in our daily lives that we ignore our tootsies, even forget how important they are in keeping us moving.
Needless to say, we all are aware that a good foot massage before bed once a while can be of great use, it helps you relax especially if you have had a long day with a lot of standing and walking around and the feet swell up. Surely everyone loves that much-needed massage. The question here is, does it have any benefit or is it just about feeling relaxed or relieving the pain?
There are various massage techniques, they all claim to have some health benefits or the other. The traditional therapeutic massages are supposedly for muscle relaxation while joint acupressure tends to better general health and the flow of energy, by activating certain pressure points. There are facts that state reflexology improves the functioning of internal organs by putting pressure on some specials nerves present in the foot, and we all know that relaxing music and the aromatic oils of aromatherapy can do wonders for our mood.
While some of it is a fact, certain claims seem fairly outrageous about massage and the benefits that they bring to our body as there is no factual evidence to prove it. In this article, we will discuss some actual benefits that a foot massage can give (this is supported by science). The benefits that can be immediate or some benefits that you will feel after a few weeks, with two or three sessions for the week. Let us understand the seven benefits you will have if you get a foot massage before bed.
Generally, because of our inactive lifestyle, we are used to using our muscles in a certain way, and that to it is almost every day we use it the same way. The muscles of our legs or feet do not get any other form of exercise as a result the blood circulation becomes limited. Wearing tight shoes that are uncomfortable add to the problem.
Have you tried to rub the forehead? Try it, you will see it will turn red for a while. Massaging helps to stimulate blood circulation in the body tissues, that is why it turns red, so a regular foot massage for 10 to 15 minutes before going to bed can benefit you immensely by improving the blood circulation.
People who have diseases that limit the circulation of blood to the nerve ends of the body, for example, Raynaud’s disease or even diabetes, a foot massage can help increase the blood circulation and overall sensation for the feet.
People who complain of cold feet and wear layers of socks during winters, foot massage is a great way to keep their feet warm on a cold day.
Foot massage before bed also helps in stimulating our lymphatic system. Follow these steps to help yourself with a foot massage
- Put some warm oil preferably a massage oil on your foot and rub it for a few minutes
- The massage strokes should be gentle yet firm
- Start from the foot and continue to the ankle, also massage the lower leg
- Repeat the process for the other leg
2. Lower Blood Pressure
Ancient studies tell us that a specific area of the foot is intricately connected with various organs in the body. Hence when a foot massage is done on those intricate areas, it can help in removing toxins from our body. A study conducted in 2004 by doctors from South Korea state that they had observed a drastic decrease in blood pressure (systolic pressure) on their test subjects. This type of foot massage is called “reflexology“.
People with blood pressure problems need to massage the area that is commonly known as the “solar-plexus point” of the human body. If you need to figure out where is it located, you need to squeeze your foot from either side and you will find a hollow form. This is the area that you need to massage. Read on to understand how to massage it.
- You need to press and hold this reflex point using your thumb for a couple of seconds while you take a deep breath
- Then you release your thumb and your breath out
- Do the same for other foot
- You should do this at least two times a week for eight to ten weeks
3. Promotes Sleep
A good foot massage before bed will help you unwind and relax. It will support in easing the tension and relaxing the nerves. The foot contains multiple acupuncture points that can bring in sleep. So a foot massage of the entire foot helps activate those acupuncture points, this increases the circulation of blood and helps in relaxing the nerves, and indeed that gives you a good sleep at night.
4. Fights Depression
Our emotions in general, trigger our health and overall well-being. At any point in time when we feel emotions, our nervous system gets activated, and the body’s way to respond to the stress or emotion is by increasing the blood pressure or heightened heartbeat rate.
Stress can also promote the release of a stress hormone called “corticosterone”. People who have a history of depression normally have high levels of this hormone, and it impacts their body, their social skills, and behavior with others. Depression impacts our thought process, it changes our thoughts about ourselves, normally it puts you on a low esteem self, and normally believe people look down upon us. It also impacts the nervous system triggering weird reactions to certain situations.
Reflexology which is a type of foot massage promises to do wonders for depression. The science behind this is simple, some areas of the foot are directly connected to some of our body parts, and applying pressure to such areas helps in healing those body parts. It is aimed to better the overall health of a person and release stress by massaging those particular spots of the foot that correspond to an organ.
Studies have suggested that massaging the foot helps in reducing the pain, it also helps in reducing psychological distress by stimulating the nerves thereby-
- Stopping the toxins buildup
- Improving blood circulation to the organs
- Decongesting the energy pathways
- Helps to release endorphins, which is a “feel good” hormone in the human body
- Brings in a state of relaxation
5. Alleviates Edema
If you give a foot massage regularly to a pregnant woman, it will certainly help in lowering the effects caused due to edema (during pregnancy, the feet swells up, and at times the ankles as well, this is because the body starts to retain a lot of fluid). There is nothing to worry about it as it is quite a common symptom during pregnancy, especially when nearing a delivery.
It is a no brainer that one cannot massage their own feet during pregnancy, so it is recommended that a friend or your partner does it for you. A professional will not be a bad idea if you choose to shell out a few bucks for a reflexologist.
The idea is to gently massage the foot, start with the tip of the fingers and move back towards the ankles, the back of the feet, and then the front. Retrograde massaging with a little warm oil can be very beneficial, it is done by massaging the toes and moving to the knee, this will help in moving the accumulated fluid back to the kidneys, ultimately flushing it out from the body. Though a foot massage before bed is very helpful, you also need to take additional care during pregnancy like keeping your feet elevated, taking a lot of rest, wearing comfortable shoes, and please drink a lot of water.
see our guide about using a foot massager during pregnancy if you want to use a massage machine.
6. Gives you Healthier Feet
One of the easiest ways to keep healthy feet that is free from any kind of foot-related problem is to massage your foot regularly. In the earlier centuries, kings and queens had dedicated people who would give them a foot massage before bed or massage their legs while sleeping, this was not sheer royalty there is a science behind it. If the foot is massaged regularly it will help to stimulate the foot muscles, this helps in easing the stiffness that develops through the day, and also release the pain that you feel in your ankles or heels.
The plus point about a quick massage to the foot for five minutes every day can help you have strong ankles, and it also improves flexibility hence preventing you from any injuries to the ankle or foot. Some studies suggest if you use olive oil or coconut oil and massage the feet, it can help you get relief from pain caused by inflammation of the foot tendons. This hot oil massage is also a great form of treatment to heel spurs.
If you have a burning sensation of your feet, try this massage it will do wonders to the discomfort you feel. Other than oil, you may choose to opt for a foot roller for your food massage needs. Use the roller to roll your feet back and front by the soles, you can even use your hands to give a quick rub on the top side of the feet.
7. Makes you Feel Being Cared About
There was a study that took into account the outcome of massage to the foot. Reflexology tried to understand if cancer patients showed a mood change during a session of foot massage. Most of the volunteers showed signs of feeling better. The same was the case for patients of the critical care unit, after a foot massage. You may now think, where is this conversation going, let us understand it better.
We as human beings are nothing but social animals, we are not someone who operates on medications or because of the hormones in our body. So if someone gives you their time that too to comfort you, it is natural to feel good about it. This feeling triggers the release of hormones in the brain which creates an optimistic feedback loop. This is simply because someone cared about you, took care of your need, hence you feel good. It is a psychological factor that a foot massage is related to an elevated feeling of something good is being done to us or our body.
As we observed above, a foot massage can affect the nerves or pleasure centers in the brain, these are called endorphin levels, this helps us to reduce the stress. Some researches show a significant statistical change in human biology due to a foot massage, we cannot rule out the social impact in our psychology that a foot massage brings, from these studies. So it can be easily stated that though foot massages have their secret effects on our body, the larger part is the social aspects associated with it.
The take away is simple, the need to feel someone taking care of you is social, and the major aspect of getting a foot massage. While many studies have reported a decrease in pain and stress, the social facet of a foot massage is the key part.
While we understood the seven great benefits of a foot massage before bed, we cannot rule out the most intricate and intriguing part of the entire process, scented candles coupled with some good light music, is what it takes to make a perfect passionate night. Foot massage to your partner is a selfless act of love you can show. It helps you forget all the little annoyances they had to take care of through the day, or maybe the little fight you had. It is the perfect way to spark the fire in your partner. Try massaging the toes and the back knees, and the inner thighs. You will be surprised with the magic it unfolds.