Foot massage is more than just a luxury or means of relaxation. In fact, the list of foot massage benefits is quite extensive. There’s a reason people have been practicing this alternative therapy for over 5,000 years!
Then, the Europeans invented reflexology in the late 1800s. Foot reflexology is the method of applying pressure to a person’s feet to affect a physical change to the body. Placement of pressure is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that correspond to other parts of the body.
While there is still much to be proven about foot reflexology specifically, there are many studies proving the overall benefits of foot massage. Read on to find out what they are!
Foot Massage Benefits for Specific Symptoms and Issues
From pain reduction to cancer relief, a good foot rub can go a long way!
Mental Health and Wellness
Regular foot massages can help you maintain psychological well-being. A 1999 study published in the Intensive and Critical Care Nursing Journal found that a five-minute foot massage helped relax critical care patients. The study found that the regular foot massages reduced the patients’ stress levels and measurably reduced blood pressure and heart rate.
Since then, there has been further research demonstrating that massage of the soft tissues of the feet helps bring emotional comfort and reduce stress and anxiety.
Natural Pain Relief
Good foot massages can relieve pain in the feet as well as other areas of the body. A 2004 study published in the Pain Management Nursing journal found that post-operative patients reported a greater reduction in their pain symptoms following a massage of the feet or hands than those who used only pain medication.
According to another study from the 2010 Applied Nursing Research journal, women who received foot massages following C-section births reported reduced post-op pain when compared to the placebo group.
Relief from Cancer Symptom and Chemotherapy Side Effects
Cancer patients suffering with severe pain and nausea found relief from both after receiving foot massages, according to a 2000 study published in the Cancer Nursing journal.
In 2012, yet another study looked at the effects of foot massage on a sample of breast cancer patients. The women reported a dramatic decrease in physical symptoms associated with with their cancer and treatment, such as less shortness of breath and increased energy levels.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Relief
Reflexology-based foot massage has also been shown to help those with multiple sclerosis (MS) find relief. In 2015, a team of Iranian researchers published a study in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. The study found that reflexology was able to provide relief from the severe fatigue that often plagues those with MS.
Reduces High Blood Pressure
Those living with high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, could also benefit from regular foot massages. Researchers from Korea’s Pusan National University found that systolic blood pressure and blood triglyceride levels decreased after massage of the feet.
Eases PMS Symptoms
That’s right ladies, treating yourself to a foot massage during that time of the month is more than indulging. A 1993 study published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology journal found that women who underwent reflexology—including foot massage—reported reduced PMS symptoms (i.e., bloating, mood changes, and cramping) when compared to the placebo group.
Reduces Swelling and Increases Circulation
Edema, the retention of fluids in the body, is normal to experience after a long day of standing or sitting, or during pregnancy. Constant leg and ankle swelling (also known as peripheral edema), however, can also signify an underlying issue. Kidney disease, heart failure, liver disease, and certain medications can result in swelling.
A 2010 Turkish study published in the International Journal of Nursing Practice found that pregnancy-related edema was significantly affected by regular foot massage. In fact, women in the massage groups experienced measurably smaller leg circumference than their counterparts in the placebo groups.
Diabetes restricts blood flow to the feet, which can cause problems including numbness, tingling, calluses, and foot ulcers. These painful symptoms can be difficult to relieve, but reflexology can help by improving circulation and reducing the risk of neuropathy. Some patients are so relaxed during a session that their blood sugar drops, plus a proper foot massage helps keep vital organs in good condition.
Massage Chair Foot Reflexology
If you suffer from any of these ailments, there’s no doubt you’d benefit from regular foot massages. Many high-quality massage chairs include foot reflexology mechanisms, and would be a good investment for someone suffering with one or more of these issues. Enjoy daily foot (and full-body) massages from the comfort of your own home. Call us at 800-700-1022 today to find the perfect chair for your needs!