Have you ever had a foot and leg massage before? If you haven’t, you should know that it feels like heaven, especially after a long day full of stress, standing up, and walking around. But there’s even more to a massage’s feeling of pure bliss; there’s also a range of health benefits that you’ll enjoy. So sit back, relax, and kick your feet up as we talk about the importance of foot massages and leg massage benefits.
How Does a Leg/Foot Massage Work?
Before we get into the leg and foot massage benefits, you should know how these kinds of massages work.
In general, leg and foot massages are therapeutic for your mind and body.
The emotional benefits of a massage come from something called the relaxation response, which is the nervous system’s involuntary response to a massage touch or technique. In this state, your muscles relax, your heart rate and breathing slow, your blood pressure decreases, stress hormone production slows down, and serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) production begins. As a result, your mind feels more at ease as feelings of stress and anxiety are reduced.
The physical effects of a massage result from the relaxation of soft tissue (connective and muscle tissue, tendons, ligaments) and increased blood flow and lymph circulation. During a massage, your muscle tissues relax so painful contractions and spasms are reduced. Muscle contractions aren’t always painful, but they can be if they press surrounding nerves. When this happens, the muscles can’t get proper nutrients or operate efficiently, and nerves can’t properly transmit messages to allow for optimal organ and muscle functioning.
Muscle contractions are especially painful when you’ve been standing or sitting for extended periods of time. This is due to the fact that blood flow is impaired in the face of pressure and gravity, so your muscles have to work harder. But with the physical manipulation of muscles and other soft tissue, your body can relax and work normally. In addition, blood flow and lymph circulation will increase as chemicals and hormones are released.
A relaxing foot and leg massage can be done by a massage therapist, or you can give yourself one to save some time and money in the long run. Feel free to check out our electric massagers for the perfect self-pampering session!
What is a Foot Reflexology Massage?
In the massage world, you might come across something called a foot reflexology massage. Foot reflexology (also called footology) is a specific type of massage that applies pressure to specific points of tension on the feet. It’s believed that reflexology of the feet has the ability to influence other parts of the body and their functions through physical manipulation.
There are several beliefs as to how this works, one being that pressing tension points on the soles of the feet affects the central nervous system. People also think that energy sometimes has difficulty flowing through the body, so targeting points of the problem with foot reflexology can allow the body to return to its resting state.
7 Health Benefits of Reflexology
Is a foot massage healthy? What about a leg massage? The answer to both of these questions is yes! In fact, here are seven reflexology benefits you can enjoy at your next appointment or even at home.
1. Lower Blood Pressure & Improves Circulation
One of the most well-known benefits of foot reflexology is that it helps to lower blood pressure and improve circulation. As we mentioned before, foot massages work to stimulate and increase blood flow by relaxing the muscles. When the muscles relax, your body experiences the relaxation response and gradually calms down. This means your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and stress hormone production all decrease to enter a state of tranquility. With better circulation, more blood and oxygen can reach vital organ systems and help them function better while increasing metabolism.
2. Reduce the Effects of Anxiety & Depression
As part of the relaxation response your body experiences during a massage, stress hormone production decreases and serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) levels increase. Therefore, foot and leg massages are known to reduce anxiety and depression as a form of stress and tension relief.
3. Maintain a Healthy Condition for Your Feet
One of the best health benefits of foot massages is healthier feet. If you’ve ever had any of the foot problems listed below, then a nice foot massage is just what you need:
- Corns (thick hardened layers of skin)
- Ingrown toenails
- Cracked heels/dry skin
4. Aid in Recovery of Injuries
Regular leg and foot massages are good for joint pain and injuries. In fact, sore or strained muscles that receive frequent massage treatments heal faster and become stronger and more flexible. It’s also a good idea to pair strengthening exercises and stretches with massages to speed up recovery time and minimize the risk of future injuries.
5. Postural Alignment
One of the best leg massage benefits is postural alignment. When you have bad posture, your leg muscles can become overused and sore. However, massages can relax and loosen these muscles and allow your body to realign itself. This helps to reduce pain and improve your range of motion.
6. Boost Energy Levels
As relaxing as foot reflexology is, it can actually re-energize your mind and body. If you remember from earlier, massages help your muscles and vital organ systems to function properly by increasing blood circulation. Well, another effect from improved blood flow is increased metabolism and energy creation.
7. Encourage Sleep & Relaxation
The benefits of foot reflexology also include better sleep and relaxation. So, how does a massage encourage sleep and relaxation? Well, it’s pretty simple: if massages reduce stress and anxiety, then you’re more likely to relax and fall asleep. And if massages help relieve joint and muscle pain, then you’re also more likely to sleep better.
Do Foot Massagers Work?
If you’re thinking about getting your own electric massager, you might be curious about whether they actually work or not. Spoiler alert: they do. Just like regular massages done by hand, electric foot massagers (like our Shiatsu Foot & Leg Massager Machine) function to give you the health benefits we mentioned earlier. The only difference is you can give yourself a leg or foot massage anytime without leaving your house!
Now that you know about some of the best leg and foot massage benefits, it’s time to pamper yourself with a massage session. Whether you choose to go out and see a massage therapist or stay at home, make sure your feet get the treatment they deserve. After all, they work hard every day when you’re out and about!
Contributing Writer: Rebecca Lee