Friday, August 30, 2013

Knead to Relax? Give Yourself a Foot Massage

Knead to Relax? Give Yourself a Foot Massage
Parts Adapted By Jennifer Gruenemay, ACE-Certified
I have the worst painful feet in the world, and having type 2 diabetes I have even more pain with foot ulcers and neuropathy has set in from being frost bitten years ago in a winter storm so I cherish Foot care and massage therapy but unfortunately I don't always have someone who will do it for me and going to a spa is out of the question. So I do it myself and I am sharing with you what methods I do and tools.

Relaxing Foot Bath

At the end of your work day, soak your feet and ankles in warm water with Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, and/or rosemary. Enjoy this refreshing soak for at least 10 minutes and allow the warmth, salts and oils relax your muscles.

Self-Massage for Your Feet

Use a massage ball or even a golf ball to massage your soles of your feet. While you’re sitting, step on the ball, and roll it under your feet. Adjust the pressure as needed by slightly lifting your leg. Notice if there are any tender or tight spots. Roll the ball slowly to massage your feet.

Trouble Spot: Your feet
The Solution: A tennis ball and frozen water bottle
Whether you have a job that requires you to be on your feet all day or you're a devoted runner, lots of factors can play into foot pain. The key to keeping it at bay is to massage and ice those feet after a hard day (or a long run).

Massage your feet with the tennis ball: Place it under one heel, and then stand and sink your body weight onto the ball. Slowly roll the ball from the heel to the base of the toes, spreading your toes wide when the ball passes near. Repeat on the opposite foot. A soup can or a golf ball can also stand in if you don't have a tennis ball handy. Use the water bottle to ice your feet down afterward, rolling it back and forth under each foot.
You may consider massage a luxury – something reserved for the rich and pampered. But money has no bearings when you can get a great massage for free, courtesy of your own two hands. A good foot massage in particular is convenient, easy to give yourself and can help you de-stress any time of the day. Follow these tips on how to be your own foot masseuse and rediscover why touch is so powerful…

The benefits of massage go beyond putting a relaxed grin on your face and a spring in your step.

Many studies, including those performed by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, have found numerous benefits of massage:

Smoking Cessation
Adult smokers who gave themselves a hand or ear massage during cravings reported lower anxiety, better mood and fewer symptoms of withdrawal when they quit smoking.
Immune System Boost
Women suffering from breast cancer who received massages three times a week for five weeks experienced improved immune function. This helped speed recovery from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. (See related article: 7 Foods That Fight Back: Immune System Boosters)

Pain Management
Patients with fibromyalgia who were massaged for 30 minutes, twice a week for five weeks experienced less stiffness, pain and fatigue, and also slept better.

Improved Infant Health
Premature infants who were massaged gained more weight – a marker of improved health – and were active for longer periods of time than babies who did not receive tactile (touch) stimulation.

What if you’re not a smoker, a breast cancer or fibromyalgia patient, or a pre-term infant? You don’t have to suffer from a physical condition to benefit from massage. Simple massage techniques can help you de-stress at the office, relax at home or boost your mood any time of the day.
Consider these additional health benefits of massage:
Improves circulation
Reduces stress and anxiety
Lessens symptoms of depression
Reduces injury swelling and promotes recovery
Improves flexibility and range of motion
You don’t need an expensive full-body Swedish massage to reap these benefits.

A quick foot massage can boost your energy levels and make you more productive at work – it’s the best 5-minute break you’ll take all day.

So before that midday slump hits, peel off your shoes and give your tired, achy feet some TLC.

With this easy how-to guide, you can be your own massage therapist – anytime, anywhere.
Lend Your Foot a Hand
You really only need your hands to give yourself a great foot massage. But if you have the luxury of a warm water foot bath to soak your feet, you can take your massage from great to spectacular.

Before your massage begins, remember these key tips:

- Use a firm touch, but don’t press too hard.

- If you are pushing so hard that it hurts, lighten up your touch. (See related article: Stand Up to Common Foot Problems)

- If it tickles (feet can be very sensitive) press harder, but again, not so hard that it hurts.

- Any time your hands feel overworked, take a moment to shake the tension loose, then continue with your massage.

The 10-Step Massage
Now that you’ve got the basics down, you’re ready for a great foot massage.
Step #1: Soak feet in a warm bath for a few minutes and then dry completely to clean and soften the skin. If a bath is not accessible to you, skip this step.

Step #2: Sit in a comfortable chair and prop your left foot up on your right knee in a position that’s comfortable for you.

Step #3: Use just a dab of lotion or a few drops of massage oil and rub it all over your foot using firm finger strokes.

Step #4: Wrap your hands around your foot with thumbs on the soles and fingers on the top. Holding your foot firmly, start making circular motions with your thumbs. Cover the entire area of the bottom of your foot, working your way from the heel, through the sole, up to the ball of your foot, and finally to your toes.

Step #5: Use your thumbs to make long, deep strokes on the soles of your feet, moving upward from the heel to the ball. If you feel some soreness in one area, spend a few extra seconds there to soften it up.
Step #6: Don’t forget your toes! Spend a good 30 seconds or more on each toe. One at a time, rub and massage each toe all the way from the base to the tip. Use small circular motions and then long strokes from base to tip, and don’t forget the area in between your toes. Once all of your toes have been massaged, give each one a gentle upward tug to loosen up the joint.

There are also foot tools you can find to rub your feet on if massaging is hard for you, check out amazon or ebay and search for foot massage tools.

I have a foot massager with heat from sharper image
they are nice too when your hands are just too tired to do the work ;)
They are really nice to have

Step #7: Now that your toes are happy, it’s time to focus on your foot as a whole again. Wrap both hands around your foot, placing your thumbs on the soles again. Trace your thumbs from the center of the foot out to the sides, starting at the heel and working your way up to the toes. At the same time, your fingers should be gently massaging the top of your foot. Repeat this massage technique over the whole area of the foot as many times as you like. This one feels great!

Step #8: Do the twist. Holding your foot firmly, gently rotate it at the ankle – first to the right and then to the left. Then twist your foot gently from side to side to loosen up the ankle even more.
Step #9: Massage the entire foot again, like you did in Step #1.

Step #10: Don’t forget your other foot. Repeat each step and voila! Your massage is done.

After this massage your feet will feel like a million bucks! Put on a pair of comfy cotton socks or slippers, prop your feet up and enjoy the sensation.

How to Use a Footbath with Herbs

By Rudy Silva
Recently I read a book by William L. Fischer called “Hidden Secrets of Super Perfect Health at Any Age”, Book II, 1986. In chapter 10, The F-M Circulizer System, he discusses the use of an herbal footbath. After reading this chapter, I understood the importance of using herbs in a footbath to improve your health. It’s a simple concept yet this is the first time I have read about this idea.This book was written in 1986 and Fischer claims this herbal footbath has been in use overseas since 1946!

When you use a footbath and heat the water, the veins in your feet start to dilate. Over a period of 20-30 minute, the warm water affects your entire vascular system and you get an improved circulation of blood throughout your body.

By adding herbs to hot water, the minerals from the herbs enter the soles of your feet and move into you blood stream. What this means is that you can introduce into your blood stream a variety of herbal chemicals into your body using the footbath. During the your footbath, these herbal chemical will be quickly circulated throughout your body and get used where there is a deficiency.

The herbal footbath can result in improved health provided you pick the herbs that are beneficial to your health. You can start by adding herbs that are high in minerals. Most people are deficient in alkaline minerals and have an acid body. Adding minerals into your body is a definite plus.

Here’s how to prepare and use an herbal footbath.

* Buy these four herbs that are high in minerals – alfalfa herb, parsley, horsetail herb, kelp herb. Buy 1-2 oz of each. This might cost you $10.00 or less

* Mix all 4 herbs

* Prepare an herbal infusion by boiling 2 - 3 cups of water. After boiling pull the water off the hot plate. Add 2 tablespoons of the mixed herbs. Let this mixture sit for 20 minutes. The longer you let this mixture sit the stronger the infusion will be.

* After 20 minutes, start your footbath and press the heat button

* Strain the herbal infusion using a strainer and a cloth so that no herbal particles are included in the tea infusion

* Add the infusion into the footbath

* Place you feet into the footbath for 20 – 30 minutes.

Use the footbath every other day for 30 days before going to bed. Then take a 7-day rest before you use another herbal mixture. If you want to treat a specific ailment, find the herbal mixture and use it in your footbath. Use it every other day for 30 days.

I have been using the footbath with herbs rich in minerals for 3 weeks and here’s what I noticed.

* Improved sleep

* Less pain in my shoulder joint

* More energy

*Eyes see clearer longer though out the day

* Warmer hands and feet

The footbath spa that I’m using is the Homedics model JetSpaUltra. I like this unit because it has a jet stream action and bubbling. It has a button for heat and a rotator to do manicuring. I don’t use the manicuring but you might. My daughter of 8 years likes play with these rotating items. And, it is easy to fill and clean. 


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