A massage can really help you relax, especially after a long day of work and stress. But did you know a massage has many benefits other than making us feel a bit more relaxed and relieving some of the pain?
There are a several different massage techniques that all promise certain health benefits. You can improve internal organ function by reflexology (massaging specific areas of the foot).
Many immediate and longterm benefits of foot massages are supported by scientific evidence. Two to three sessions per week of reflexology are often enough to experience some of the following benefits:
1. Improving circulation
Humans are becoming more and more unaccustomed to a sedentary lifestyle which results in our foot muscles getting hardly any exercise. Furthermore circulation is often negatively impacted by tight and uncomfortable shoes. A 10–20 minute massage session before going to bed can greatly improve circulation in the lower extremities, which is especially important for people with diabetes.
2. Helps prevent foot and ankle injuries
Massaging the feet can help with joint pain and recovering after an injury,especially if it is combined with foot and ankle strengthening exercises. Massages also reduce muscle soreness and a short session three to five times a week can help to minimize your risk of injury.
3. Improves Mental Health
A foot massage will put you in a relaxed state and frequent sessions have been shown to significantly reduce anxiety. The techniques can be learned fairly quickly and can serve as an effective way of dealing with depression and anxiety.
4. Reduces headaches and migraines
A study conducted in Denmark showed that people suffering from headaches and migraines had a reduction in the frequency and intensity of these after going through reflexology treatments. The test subjects stopped taking their medication, and three months after completing their treatments, 65% had reduced symptoms while a small number had been cured. Reflexology along with other positive lifestyle changes contributed to their impressive results.
5. Lowers blood pressure
A study conducted on healthcare staff working with elderly people suffering from dementia – a job that is highly stressful and both physically and mentally taxing – showed that a 10-minute foot massage session up to three times a week resulted in improved mood, less anxiety and lower blood pressure.
6. Helps with flat feet and plantar fasciitis
Ligament laxity causes the foot arch to collapse which leads to flat feet. In some people, flat feet will cause foot pain and chronic heel pain after physical activity. Regular foot exercise coupled with a deep massage that applies strong pressure on the arch, can help significantly lessen the pain and even cure these conditions.
7. Helps alleviate symptoms of PMS and menopause
PMS oftentimes causes feelings of sadness, unhappiness, irritability, anxiety, tension, insomnia, fatigue, headaches, and mood swings. Daily foot massages during a woman’s menstrual cycle have shown to alleviate most of these symptoms.
Similarly, symptoms of menopause, which are similar to those suffered during PMS with the addition of hot flashes and depression, can also be effectively minimized with regular massages.
8. Reduces effects of edema in pregnant women
Edema, which is the swelling of the feet and ankles due to fluid retention, is very common in pregnant women, especially when in the last trimester. This condition can be lessened by daily reflexology therapy on the feet combined with proper diet and rest.