There’s no way around it: Giving yourself a foot massage doesn’t compare with having a professional – or generous partner or family member – lord over your tired tootsies.
Not only do they have a better angle, but you also won’t feel the massage as intensely when your brain is being bombarded with information from your supersensitive fingertips, said Anne Williams, director of education for Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals in Golden, Colo.
But when you’re all you’ve got, your thumbs – or a golf or tennis ball – can provide much-needed soothing. Williams offered tips on how to give yourself a foot massage.
What you need: Wash basin, warm water, Epsom salts, body lotion, golf or tennis ball.
First, soak your feet in a bin of warm (not hot) water for 10 minutes. Add half a cup of Epsom salts to the water for extra relief. Then choose any (or all) of Williams’ suggestions:
• Put a golf or tennis ball on the floor; roll the bottom of your foot all over it.
• With a foot in your lap, lather it with lotion (not oil, which does not glide as well over feet). Squeeze your foot all over with both hands.
• Stabilize your foot with one hand, and with the other take all your toes and rotate them one way, then the other. Then take each toe one by one and gently pull up and twist.
• Use your thumbs to massage in a circular motion up the sole of your foot from the heel to the toes. Then crisscross your thumbs back down the sole to the heel.
• Put one hand on the top of your foot and the other hand in a fist against the ball of your foot. Slide both simultaneously down toward your ankle.
• Grab the back of your calf and massage up and down while pointing and flexing your foot. This can be especially helpful for high-heel wearers.
Note: Stop if anything feels painful. And check with your doctor first if your ankles are very swollen, if you have a kidney disorder or heart disease, or if you have advanced or poorly managed diabetes, where your extremities are impaired or the skin or tissue is broken.
For more information, go to massagetherapy.com.