The Almighty Foot Massages
When I go for a massage, I often tac on an extra 30 minutes specifically for a foot massage. I sometimes just go in for a 30 or 60 minute foot massage! A proper foot massage is AWESOME. Here is why.
Why Foot Massages Matter
You may be scratching your head and thinking, “There’s special training in working with the feet?” There certainly is, and there are lots of different types of training too. Here are some fun facts from Mental Floss about your feet:
- There are 26 bones in each foot.
- Feet contain a 1/4 of all of our bodies bones.
- We have nearly 8000 nerves in our feet (nerves are directly associated with issues of diabetes and neuropathy).
- Women have four times as many foot problems as men, due to the types of shoes we wear.
- The average person walks about 100,000 miles in a lifetime.
- Wearing shoes has weakened our feet over time because feet become fatigued faster as we get older or walk for longer distances.
Now you can start to see how complex our feet can be. We put all those miles on our feet and yet many of us don’t do anything special to maintain the health of our feet. We do it for our cars, homes, bikes. Why not our feet?
Pedicures vs. Foot Massages
Foot massages and pedicures often go hand in hand. The massage is usually built into the cost of the pedicure, and it does feel nice to have someone rub your feet and legs while making your toes look fantastic.
A pedicure foot massage, however, really cannot compare to a foot massage by a professional. With pedicures, the technicians rub, not massage, the legs and feet with a lot of oil. They aren’t paying any attention to your feet or legs. It’s just a means to kill time before they move onto the next step in your service.
With a massage focused on the feet and lower legs, the goal is to affect change. Foot massages can improve relaxation and pain reduction. They can also reduce neuropathy pains, plantar fasciitis and lymphedema, and they can reduce swelling and breakdown crystals associated with gout.
How to Choose a Foot Massage Therapist
If you want a foot massage, you want someone who knows feet and the conditions that are associated with them. All massage therapists are taught to massage feet in a full body massage, but it’s usually a very general foot massage. If you’re looking for an in depth massage focused entirely on feet, seek out a person who is skilled in myofascial release, trigger point therapy, foot reflexology, structural integration, Rolfing or any upper level bodywork modalities.
I caution you to seek out massage professionals who specialize in doing foot massage.
You can identify these professionals as they list it on their service menus. You can also assume that these individuals have been properly trained in working with the feet. If they don’t specifically say they do foot massage, send them an email or call them to ask if they do or have experience addressing specific concerns you may have related to your feet.
Chinese or Thai Foot massage places are usually great and cheap to get a one-hour foot massage.
When I travel, I seek them out and bring everyone I know with me to them. Before you book an appointment, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, not all of the employees speak English well. Second, while they are trained and skilled therapists, their protocols are much different than what you would find in a western massage facility. In many establishments, there is one pressure for all and that’s typically deep to very deep. Because they are high volume places, they stick to a routine and that’s it. There’s no questionnaire or intake form to fill out.
I recommend these places to healthy people who can tolerate deep pressure on their feet.
If you have specific concerns related to your feet or cannot tolerate deep pressure these places are NOT for you. Consider this my public service announcement.
Our feet take a lot of damage day in and day out, and it’s important that we take good care of them. When your feet feel good, your body works better. Your exercise routines feel more comfortable, and you don’t feel like you need to slow down and rest. Schedule a foot massage and keep your feet healthy.