Massage therapy has long been lauded as an effective treatment for relieving muscle tension, pain, and stress, but research suggests that the scope of its health benefits go much further. While there are different schools of massage therapy, from Swedish massage to shiatsu, all schools involve applying various levels and techniques of pressure to the muscles in order to promote relaxation. When performed by a trained professional, massage therapy can help resolve muscle damage and even prevent injury.
Foot massage is especially important, as the feet are among the most overused and under-cared for parts of the body. Foot massage techniques are deeply rooted in the study and traditions of reflexology, an alternative medicine discipline that focuses on stimulating pressure points in the feet which correspond to specific systems in the body.
The proven stress reduction stemming from reflexology techniques is then extended to alleviating the symptoms of various ailments and conditions. While a foot massage in itself may not be a cure-all, its stress-relieving and muscle-soothing benefits have far-reaching positive effects on your health, from improved circulation to better sleep.
Here is a look at a few reasons why you should schedule a foot massage regimen:
The strength of massage therapy as a treatment lies in the healing power of the human touch.Massage reduces the levels of cortisol in the body, the hormone responsible for the negative impact of stress. Moreover, massage has also been shown to improve the levels of serotonin and dopamine which are central to depression. Studies have also found massage to be correlated with increased levels of oxytocin, the hormone intrinsic to emotional bonding.
Thus massage not only relieves the physical tension associated with stress, but the sensation of repeated human touch given in a safe environment produces positive emotions proven to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. But don’t feel restricted to a professional massage therapist: the emotional benefits associated with massage are just as – if not more – accessible when performed by a loved one.
The benefits of this stress release are expansive: massage can be used as an effective treatment for conditions in which depression and anxiety are the primary symptoms, for example the hormonal changes experienced during PMS and menopause. For this reason, massage has also proven useful in treating migraines and headaches caused by chronic stress. While massage isn’t intended to replace medication for a condition in which depression is a symptom, it is an extremely effective therapy to supplement medical treatment.
A 10-20 minute foot massage before bed can work wonders in improving your blood circulation. The kneading pressure applied during a massage helps to improve blood flow through congested areas, allowing fresh blood to flow in. The motions of squeezing and pulling work to clear the muscles of lactic acid, while improving lymph circulation to clear your system of metabolic waste. Better circulation improves blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and enhances overall body function. This is especially helpful for diabetic patients, who struggle with poor circulation in their lower extremities.
Relieves Pain While Reducing Injury
Just 10 minutes of massage following a workout can help reduce inflammation, allowing your body to recover more effectively. Combining strengthening exercises, stretching, and regular foot massages not only facilitates the recovery of existing foot injuries, but helps prevent new injuries from occurring.
Moreover, regular foot massage with deep pressure applied to the arch can alleviate the pain associated with any deformity or weaknesses in the foot, such as with flat feet and plantar fasciitis.
Due to its expansive stress relieving benefits, foot massage has also been shown to enable relaxation and improve sleep in patients who find it difficult to rest otherwise. This includes individuals who are under chronic stress or struggle with insomnia. Massage therapy has even been shown to improve the rest of patients undergoing chemotherapy. New parents will also be pleased to find that basic massage techniques can even work on newborns, coaxing finicky infants to sleep.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie
Don’t wait until your foot health is compromised to take advantage of the benefits foot massage has to offer. Schedule a consultation with trusted podiatrists Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie at the Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center to learn more today.