There are few things like a foot massage to really help you de-stress and instantly add a little relaxation to your life. There are few better cures for sore feet, too, especially if you spend most of your day standing or walking. However, a foot massage might have benefits well beyond simply help you feel good.
Here, we’re going to look at seven benefits about foot massages that you might not have known about. By the time you’re done reading, your feet will be itching for the care and comfort of a nice massage.
Treating Emotional Health Issues (like depression and stress)
Many people may not think of stress as a serious mental health issue, but more of a mood. However, when experienced often and severely enough, stress can have several unwelcome impacts on our lifestyle including:
- Sleep deprivation
- Joint pain
- Greater risk of muscle injury
- Difficulty in controlling weight
Foot massages don’t just put us in a better mood. They combat stress directly. Studies show that massages reduce the production of cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) by up to 30%. Foot massages can also help manage depression and anxiety, too. They have been shown to increase the production of serotonin by up to 28%. Not only does serotonin have pain-relieving qualities, but it also gives a natural mood boost that can last all day.
Preventing and Treating Injuries
We can all sustain a foot or ankle injury easier than we might imagine. Sometimes, walking in the wrong footwear is enough to cause an injury or muscle soreness. Those who play sports or exercise regularly are more prone to injuries and soreness, as well. Just as stretching can help ensure that your muscles and joints recover effectively from a workout, a foot massage can do the same thing.
Foot massages are regularly used to treat existing injuries and soreness, too. Besides preventing immediate pain relief, the stimulation helps speed up the healing process. This is even more effective when massages are combined with strengthening exercises and stretching. A foot massage three times a week can make a drastic difference to recovery times.
Effective circulation of the blood is essential. If we spend a lot of time sitting or standing still, it can hinder the circulation in our extremities, our legs in particular. Poor circulation comes with a series of risks, including:
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle cramping
- Joint pain
- Even nerve damage and tissue damage
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why good circulation is something to care about. A foot massage stimulates the extremities, helping improve circulation. For people who already have health conditions that can affect their circulation, like diabetes, it can be an important part of managing your symptoms.
Lowering your Blood Pressure
Just as circulation is essential, blood pressure is critical to your health. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of preventable chronic disease. Left untreated, it can lead to a wide range of severe health complications, including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Metabolic syndrome
- Kidney failure
- Blurred vision or loss of vision
If you have high blood pressure, you shouldn’t rely on foot massages alone to treat it. However, studies have shown that a ten-minute session up to three times a week can make a measurable difference.
Treating Headaches and Migraines
The most common tool for treating headaches is to use medication. However, for some people, the effect might not be as fast as you desire, or you might find that it simply doesn’t work as well for you. Foot massages can be an effective replacement or addition to medication. As mentioned, they can immediately increase the production of serotonin in the body, which acts as a natural painkiller.
Not only do foot massages provide immediate pain relief for headaches, but they have shown to manage more serious cases such as migraines. Studies have shown that 65% of people suffering from chronic headaches and migraines that stopped using medication experienced a decrease in their symptoms, with a few finding that their symptoms were completely gone. A wide range of health factors and lifestyle choices can play into such symptoms, but foot massages can definitely make a difference.
Reducing the Risk and Effect of Edema
Some people are more at risk of edema than others. This is most frequently defined as the swelling of feet and ankles due to increased fluid retention. Here are a few risk factors that can contribute to edema:
- Sitting or standing in one place for too long
- Too much salt in the diet
- Taking certain medications, such as NSAIDs, high blood pressure medication, and estrogens
Edema is most commonly suffered by pregnant women, especially those in the last trimester. Alongside rest and healthy changes to the diet, regular foot massages can alleviate the symptoms, reducing the swelling. The improvement to circulation and blood pressure caused by foot massages can also reduce the risk of edema and the frequency of it, as well.
Alleviating PMS and Menopause
Many of the symptoms resulting from PMS can be directly targeted with a good foot massage. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Joint pain
- Sleep deprivation
The reduction in cortisol (the stress hormone) and the increase in the happiness-inducing, pain-relieving serotonin can do a lot to help combat much of these symptoms. Relieving your stress and tension also relieves physical tension, which can reduce joint pain suffered as a result of PMS as well.
Women experiencing menopause will experience many of the symptoms of PMS, as well, with the addition of hot flushes and depression added on top. Regular foot massages can help alleviate these symptoms, too.
Foot massages can have much deeper physical and mental benefits than many might imagine. There are different types of massages that provide a wide variety of benefits, too. If you’re looking for a specific treatment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Coastal Day Spa; we can provide precisely the relief you need.