During my studies as a massage therapist, I’ve done extensive research on all areas of the body to understand how every inch of the human frame is connected. And at the base of it all are the feet.
The feet are the foundation of the entire body. There are located at the bottom of the skeletal system, so if the bones, muscles, or tendons become injured in some way, the rest of the body must compensate and adjust for the imbalance.
So it should come to no surprise that wearing non-supportive shoes, like flip flops during the summer months, or having a labor intensive job, can put a strain on the feet, leading to overuse of the muscles and potentially trigger more serious problems like tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, or chronic pain.
So what can you do to protect your feet but still enjoy wearing those summer sandals or work your job? Give them the care and attention they need with these simple practices:
Massage therapy is not only for your upper body. It’s for your feet too. Massage therapy on your feet helps increase circulation, pushing toxins out, and allowing fresh blood to easily flow into the injured or tense areas. Kneading and stretching muscles can reduce inflammation to allow vital nutrients to flow back through the area and promote healing to the tissue.
Similar to regular massage, Reflexology is a specialized, non-invasive treatment performed on the feet or hands. This holistic therapy uses thumb and finger pressure of varying degrees, focusing on areas that correspond with all body parts. The pressure applied during Reflexology stimulates the movement of energy along the pathways. Its benefits range far and wide from emotional release to physical relief. It can ease pain, reduce stress, improve circulation, stimulate the nervous system, uplift your spirit, balance and energize you.
The MELT Method
When you wear flip flops or other shoes that don’t offer much support, your toes are forced to squeeze and grip the shoe. And without padding, your heel and arches are exposed to pressure and force from the weight of your body. The MELT Method is an exceptionally easy yet highly effective therapy to help reduce pain, inflammation, and tenderness. Using a small, soft ball (about the size of a tennis ball) you simply roll the ball under your feet and massage the tender areas. This massaging motion helps re-hydrate connective tissue and tendons promoting flexibility and proper nerve flow.
Kick Your Feet Up
Simply elevating your feet at the end of the day for short periods of time can help remove pressure and reduce swelling after a hard day’s work. Before bed, prop your feet up on a few pillows or on the side of the couch and let them rest for 15-20 minutes. This will help keep inflammation at bay and give your feet the break they need.
Have you ever heard of “earthing” or “grounding?” Earthing is the practice of putting your body in direct contact with the Earth. Because your feet are at the base of your body and in closest contact with Mother Nature, one of the easiest ways to “earth” is to simply walk barefoot on soil or sand. The Earth has a mild negative charge, sending positive energy throughout the body and soil. While scientific researching is still being done on all the benefits, people who regularly practice this often experience less pain, reduced inflammation, better sleep, increased immunity, and an overall more positive outlook on life.
Practicing these simple techniques everyday will not only do wonders for your feet but for your entire body as well. During your next massage appointment, ask your therapist to show your feet a little TLC.