When was the last time you treated yourself to a foot massage? The average person stands on his or her feet 4 to 5 hours per day, but some people may stand for 8 or more hours per day. All of this pressure placed on the feet can lead to soreness, tension, and even musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). Thankfully, massage therapy can counteract these adverse effects, allowing individuals to conduct their normal daily routine without pain and discomfort in the feet.
Foot massage isn’t a new practice by any means. Cultures throughout the world have embraced it for centuries, using it to relieve stress, pain and anxiety, and to encourage faster healing of injuries. Foot reflexology is one frequently practiced form of massage in which pressure is applied to specific trigger points throughout the feet. When applied to the right areas, this pressure can make a world of difference in alleviating a person’s pain and discomfort in the feet.
The human foot contains over 7,000 nerve endings, 19 different muscles, 107 ligaments, and 26 bones. WHEW! With so many different components here, it’s not uncommon for active individuals to experience foot pain. Bunions, for instance, are a common type of foot injury in which the big toe presses against adjacent toe. This results in a painful deformity where the big toe grows inwards. Foot massage on a regular basis, however, can treat and prevent bunions by encouraging the big toe to grow in the correct manner.
Foot massage may prove particularly beneficial for pregnant women. A 2010 study published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice found that pregnant women who were given 20-minute foot massages for a minimum of 5 consecutive days experienced smaller leg circumference sizes. In turn, this led to reduced pain, inflammation, and water retention. Foot pain is an all-too-common complaint among pregnant women, but this study reaffirms the benefits of massage during pregnancy.
Another benefit of foot massage is its ability to improve circulation. Blood flow is important for a number of reasons; it carries oxygen and nutrients to tissue and vital organs; it flushes toxins and waste from the body; and it promotes a stronger immune system. Foot massage is a safe and effective way to improve circulation within the body, allowing the system to function more efficiently.
Even with all of these amazing benefits, there’s no denying the fact that foot massage is soothing and relaxing. In fact, many clients seek foot massage primarily for its stress-relieving properties. Just a short 20-30 minute session will ease your stress and anxiety, leaving you feeling fresh and rejuvenated afterwards.