Aaahhh, the wonders of a good foot massage. Nothing has a leg up on its ability to make your entire body feel soothed, relaxed and perfectly pleasured (well, nothing PG rated, anyway). Couple that with the fact that foot massages promote better sleep, improve your sex life and make you healthier overall, it’s a no brainer that feet damn well deserve those awe-inspiring strokes. But no two massages are created alike, so master the following foot massage techniques to make sure the foot rub you give is the most pain relieving, stress reducing, toe-curling, pleasurable massage ever.
Step One: Warm Up With a Foot Soak
Start with a simple, warm footbath with ingredients of your choice. We suggest adding in calming, aromatic essential oils for additional “mood control,” as well as using orange, lemon or lime slices to rub on your partner’s feet. The fruit’s acid will help soften the skin, release toxins and improve overall foot health.
Step Two: Increase Blood Flow
Place a pillow on your lap and cover it with a soft towel. After drying your partner’s feet, place one foot at a time on the pillow (you’ll enact all of the steps below on one foot first, and then switch and move to the other foot). Use one hand to hold his/her foot by the heel, and use your other hand to gently rotate the foot in a clockwise circle motion three times and in a counterclockwise circle motion three times. Rotate each toe in the same manner. This helps to warm up the feet and get the blood circulating through the toes and ankles. (And as the website SheKnows points out, it’s a great exercise for anyone suffering from arthritis.)
Step Three: Melt Tension With Arch Pressure
Place some foot cream, massage oil or coconut oil into your thumbs and then place each on the center of his/her foot arch, directly below the ball of the foot. With light pressure, rub your thumbs in small circles, one going clockwise, the other going counterclockwise. Do this stress-melting arch technique for about 30 seconds to a minute to help melt away the stresses of the day. Follow up by applying more lotion or oil to your hands and then walking your thumbs up and down the entire length of the foot, using firm pressure. Then slide your thumbs up and down the length of the foot (this feels best when each thumb starts at opposite ends of the foot and slowly move toward one another, one going up and the other going down). Do this for several minutes, or for as much time as you can handle without getting tired.
Step Four: Try Some Tender Toe Techniques
Give each and every toe on the foot a light squeeze with your thumb and index finger, and then use your thumbs to make small clockwise or counterclockwise circles just beneath each toe. Give each toe about 15 seconds of this relaxing treatment to help reduce pressure in the feet and toes.
Step Five: Soothe the Sole
Starting at the ball of the foot, use your thumbs to make small circles (one thumb going clockwise, the other going counterclockwise) all the way up and down the length of the sole, adding extra pressure as you near the heel. Do this for several minutes, or as long as you can last without getting too tired.
Step Six: Feel Good Finish
Either use your thumb and forefinger to gently squeeze the hollow area below the ankle for several seconds, or use your fingers to gently rub the Achilles tendon (the springy band of tissue that runs from the heel and ankle up through the calf muscles of the leg). Your partner may give you extra thanks if you choose to do both. After all, this is supposed to be the world’s most pain-relieving, stress-reducing, toe-curling, pleasurable foot massage ever. It’s up to you to make it that way!
If your partner is still feeling pain or stress, you may want to try massaging and applying pressure to specific reflexology points along the foot. These types of massages can help alleviate additional discomfort in the body and make your partner exhale a few more “oohs” and “ahhs.” For more information on how to get started with foot reflexology and where to locate specific reflexology points, check out our article Reflexology 101.