Our feet do a lot of work throughout the day, taking our bodies through an average of 5,900 steps daily. Yet, despite their hard work, they’re one of the least pampered parts of our bodies. If the simple fact that foot massages are relaxing isn’t enough to convince you that you should splurge on giving your feet a nice treat, consider these benefits of foot massage:
Promotes Better Sleep
A relaxed body at bedtime is a happy body at bedtime, and a foot massage can definitely go a long way in nighttime relaxation. A soothing foot massage benefits the mind and body by helping them unwind. A foot rub can also reduce stress, calm the nerves and prepare the body for a restful night of sleep.
Reduces Depression and Anxiety
Foot massages can help put one’s mind at ease for the duration of the massage, but studies have shown that the effects last much longer than the rub itself. Frequent foot massages have been shown to help reduce anxiety in cancer patients, and a 2010 Karolinska Institutet study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found that frequent foot massages help alleviate sadness by amping up the production of oxytocin (a feel-good hormone released by the brain). In addition, the study found that the physical touch and closeness a massage provides can help diminish feelings of empty space and loneliness people often go through after experiencing the loss of a loved one.
Promotes Blood Circulation
Despite the fact that our feet are doing a lot of heavy lifting as we walk each day, they’re actually not getting much exercise from normal strolling. This is partly due to the sedentary lifestyle many people lead in addition to the fact that most people don’t use their foot muscles properly while walking in shoes. A simple foot massage can help by increasing blood flow to both the feet and legs, which then transports oxygen to the body’s cells for overall health.
Relives Headaches, Aches and Pains in Other Areas of the Body
Not only can foot massages go a long way in helping with foot health, they can also increase the health and wellbeing of the entire body. When certain pressure points on the feet are massaged (called foot reflexology), ailments such as headaches, migraines, insomnia, chronic fatigue, neck pain, back pain and other body pain can be eliminated. For example, a 1997 Danish study done by Brendstrup and Launse for The National Board of Health showed that frequent foot reflexology massages were able to reduce headache symptoms in 65% of patients, while 16% of patients claimed foot massages completely cured them of migraine and headache pain.
Improves Sex Life
A foot massages provides relaxation, but surprisingly, it can also give an unexpected boost to your libido. A few minutes of gentle rubbing with scented oils can create a relaxed, sensual environment, and it’s been said that some points in the feet and ankles are energetically linked with the reproductive organs.
Reduces Menopausal and PMS Symptoms
PMS and menopause often create symptoms of depression, fatigue, headaches, irritability, instability, anxiety and mood swings — all of which have been shown to be reduced by foot massages. Regular foot rubs can keep PMS and menopausal blues at bay.
With all of the benefits a foot massage can provide, it’s easy to see that a spa session is worth the extra splurge. So go ahead, allow yourself to feel good and be healthier, all at the same time!