Nearly 200,000 years ago, people first stood up on two feet and walked. Since then, those feet have kept on walking and are largely ignored by modern man and woman. Most of us tend to notice them only when something goes wrong a callus, a corn, aches, blisters or bunions usually get attention, but not the feet themselves. They get stuffed into shoes that rub or socks that make them sweat. They have to totter on too-high heels or be squeezed, toes-first, into pointy tipped shoes. They must run and jump and kick and climb and carry us and all our baggage everywhere we want to go. Not only are feet ignored and taken for granted, but nearly everyone thinks they are ugly or smelly.
However, the truth of the matter is that feet can give more pleasure than many of the body’s more glamorous zones. Almost every nerve ending in the body – and there are about 72,000 of them – finishes up in each foot, tangled around a web of 38 muscles and 28 tiny bones. This is why feet are so strong but sensitive. If you massage them, you send waves of pleasure from toe to top and can relax the entire body. A good foot massage can get rid of aches, help keep feet flexible, healthy and happy, lighten your step and improve your mood.
How To Massage Sore Feet
If your feet constantly ache or hurt, you should buy new shoes, see a chiropodist and have them massaged at the end of every day. This foot massage is most enjoyable if it is given while you lie on your back and relax. However, life is too cruel to let us have total enjoyment, so you can easily adapt it to do as a self-massage if you must. To do it yourself, sit comfortably and rest the ankle of the foot you are working on across the knee of the other leg, then follow the eight steps in the same way. You will need lots of oil, as feet have naturally dry, thick skin. Work gently on the top of the foot because the bones are close to the surface here, but be firmer on the sole. If feet are ticklish, try making all movements slower and deeper. However, some people’s feet are so sensitive that massage is impossible.
- Do all the steps on one foot and then on the other. Start with a friction rub. Sandwich the entire foot between the palms of your hands and rub briskly so that one hand goes forward as the other moves back. Use lots of oil to warm and relax the foot. To do the heel, lift the foot up and prop it across your leg. Place your hands parallel to the calf, then rub up and down.
- Do a series of long, slow strokes pulling from the ankle to toes. Place one hand on the back of the heel and the other over the front of the ankle to sandwich the foot between your palms. Pull firmly and press in as you glide your hands back to the toes, following the contours of the foot throughout. Repeat as a smooth, flowing stroke for several minutes.
- Stretch the foot by flexing upwards. Lift the foot by holding with the left hand behind the ankle. Place the palm of your right hand flat against the sole of the foot and push in to follow the contours closely, then gently push against the toes of the foot to flex back up towards the leg. Hold for a count of ten, then relax and repeat four times.
- Stretch the foot by flexing downwards. Place the palm of your left hand around the ankle to support the foot. Then wrap the right palm over the toes, with your thumb under the sole of the foot. Gently push the toes downwards, hold for a count of ten, then relax and repeat four times. In the same position, gently push the foot from side to side five times.
- Wrap your fingers around the top of the foot and use your thumbs to make small circles all over the sole of the foot from under the toes back to the heel. Then, keeping your thumbs stiff, use them to push and stroke, with one thumb following the other, all over the sole of the foot from the heel back up to the toes.
- Wrap your fingers under the arch of the foot with your thumbs on the instep at the front. Use your thumbs to make small circles all over the top of the foot and all around the ankle bone. Then, keeping your thumbs stiff, use them lightly to stroke all over the top of the foot from the toes back up to the ankle, with one following the other.
- Next massage the toes. Hold the foot firmly around the arch with your left hand; take the foot off the ground and rest it on your bent knee or thigh. Then do three different strokes on each toe: a rub, a pull and a twist. Hold each toe between your right hand thumb and index finger, using lots of oil, and working from the foot up towards the tip of the toe.
- Place your right hand, palm up, against the back of the ankle and, wrapping your fingers to one side and your thumb to the other, squeeze into the tendon behind the ankle bone to hold the foot firmly. With the left hand, palm down across the instep, firmly stroke the top of the foot from ankle to toes in a flowing movement, getting slower and lighter till you stop.