Getting a foot massage is great. Finding someone to give you a foot massage is a little trickier. Should you just buy a machine? That is a good idea, but you should ask a few questions before you make such a major purchase. Whether a massage is done by hand or machine, the purpose is to improve blood circulation.
A foot massage lasting as little as ten minutes can greatly improve the flow of blood in this area. Improved blood flow means the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood and that can improve health throughout the body. It also relieves stress and tension which can further improve overall health.
Loosening the muscles reduces pain and improve flexibility so that pain can be prevented to start with. Overall, this can boost a person’s mood, make them feel relaxed but not exhausted. This will give you the energy you need to work when you have to and still be able to unwind and have a peaceful night’s sleep.
Table of Contents
- Watch Out for Woo
- Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Foot Massager
- Different Kinds of Foot Massagers
- Can Pregnant Women Use Foot Massagers?
- What About Other Female Problems?
- Can People With High Blood Pressure Use Foot Massagers?
- Can Diabetics Use Foot Massagers?
- Can People With Plantar Fasciitis Use Foot Massagers?
- Can Foot Massage Help With Headaches and Migraines?
- What is Shiatsu?
- Safety Precautions
Watch Out for Woo
While massage does indeed have benefits, be on guard against those who claim massage benefits that are based too much on “woo” rather than actual science. Anything that mentions toxins, auras, chakras, chi or quantum is selling snake oil. Some of the hawkers are so deep into the pseudoscience they believe it themselves.
Massage will not rid your body of toxins. That is the job of the liver, intestines, and kidneys. Lactic acid does not build up in muscles and does not need to be “flushed out”. Reflexology is a little better than superstition.
Getting a foot massage will reduce stress and improve your circulation, yes. But if you want your lungs to be healthier you are better off throwing away your cigarettes and taking up aerobics than rubbing the ball of your foot.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Foot Massager
First, ask yourself what you want out of a foot massager. Do you want physical therapy for your plantar fasciitis or do you just want to relax at the end of the day? You must also consider what type of machine you are willing to accommodate. And what kind of machine can accommodate you? There are six main things you should consider.
- Kneading Foot massagers do their kneading with rollers, air compression or oscillation. Some may use a combination thereof. You want a kneading that is neither too hot nor too soft.
- Heat Some massagers have a heating mechanism. If you often have cold feet, this could prove to be very helpful. Some people find the artificial heat uncomfortable. What works for you?
- Foot Size Just as when buying socks and shoes you must think about the size of your feet. If you have unusually large feet you may have a little trouble finding a foot massager you can fit into.
- Power Cord If the cord is too short, that can limit where you have your massage. Of course, if the massager is battery operated you can take it anywhere. A massager that’s part of a chair generally stays in one place.
- Bells and Whistles Can you figure out complicated features or would you prefer something simpler and more user-friendly? Do you want to switch up the intensity? Do you want a soak or heat?
- Price Yes, unfortunately, the filthy lucre must rear its ugly head. Keep your budget in mind but remember that you get what you pay for.
Different Kinds of Foot Massagers
There is a large range of foot massagers available on the market. Different types of foot massagers will provide different benefits.
- Electric If you just want to sit down and unwind, electric may be the way to go. This is good for people who like their massage quick and dirty. The massage is speedy, strong and powerful, though some are adjustable.
- Manual If you need deep tissue stimulation, manual is the way to go. The user has more control over the pressure and strength of these massagers.
- Hand-Held Yes, apparently, some people actually do use these for therapeutic massage. They’re good for focusing on one area and they’re small enough for travel.
- Slippers Can you just not find ten minutes to sit down and get a massage? If sitting down is simply not an option then you may want to look into slippers that massage your feet. Only wear them indoors.
- Pad If you have a problem with circulation in your feet or legs this could be the solution. It covers a wide surface but targets certain points. There are usually different settings to choose from.
- Chair If you have tightness or discomfort in other areas, a massage chair can help. Most of these chairs are very expensive, but some malls will rent out time in one.
What kind you get will depend on your personal needs and how much you’re willing to spend.
Can Pregnant Women Use Foot Massagers?
What every pregnant woman wants after a day of carrying twenty extra pounds while everything else is gradually swelling up from fluid retention is to get her feet rubbed. If hubby isn’t able to do this, can she rely on a machine? According to reflexology, rubbing certain parts of the feet hard enough can induce labor.
As stated before, reflexology is largely quackery with no basis in scientific fact. Still, many overdue women will visit the foot salon hoping to induce labor and many said salons refuse to treat pregnant women due to fears of liability charges.
The truth is, there is no reason a pregnant woman can’t use a foot massager provided she follows all the safety instructions she would follow even if she were not pregnant. (Though she may need to keep in mind that bending may be difficult.) It will give her the needed relief she needs from chronic pain.
What About Other Female Problems?
Women who suffer from PMS (referred to as ”Premenstrual syndrome”) may find a foot massage helps them relax. On the other extreme, women going through menopause may find a foot massage helps them deal with hot flashes and irritability.
Can People With High Blood Pressure Use Foot Massagers?
Massage is often recommended for people suffering from hypertension, particularly if they have a high-stress lifestyle. There are many contributors to high blood pressure.
Massage in combination with medication and a healthy lifestyle can reduce blood pressure. You can use one while working to keep stress free. To keep that blood pressure manageable, maybe look for the most user-friendly model you can find.
Can Diabetics Use Foot Massagers?
Here is where caution should be exercised. If you have neuropathy, you are better off getting your foot massage by hand. If the device says anywhere in the instructions or packaging “Not recommended for use by diabetics” take their word for it.
This will often be found on devices with heating elements. Massage can improve circulation and lymph flow, but you should consult your doctor before using a massage machine. Compression machines are not recommended for people with diabetes.
Can People With Plantar Fasciitis Use Foot Massagers?
It is recommended. Utilizing a manual roller on the soles of your foot aids in stretching and kneading the fascia to deliver much-needed relief. Some find cold helps. The rhythmic and soothing motions can improve blood flow, reducing pain and stress.
If your plantar fasciitis is caused by overpronation from fallen arches massage can help with that too. If the pain is centered mostly on your heels, some massagers can zero in on that. Combining the massage with strengthening exercises can aid in the prevention of injuries and lessen the pain.
Can Foot Massage Help With Headaches and Migraines?
While some studies have shown that reflexology has aided people who suffer headaches and migraines, could some of this possibly be from a placebo effect? Doing anything relaxing such as getting a foot massage can make a person feel calmer and less nervous, which can lessen the frequency of headaches. Foot massage reduces headaches and migraines in the way that it soothes the stress that causes the headaches.
What is Shiatsu?
You may find this Japanese loan word for “finger pressure” on a lot of massage devices. It typically consists of varied, rhythmic pressure on acupressure points. Acupressure straddles a fine line between medicine and pseudoscience.
It does cause the body to produce endorphins which can make a person feel better. The scientific research, however, has so far proven inconclusive. As it is a largely harmless practice, do it if it works for you.
A machine that gives shiatsu massage will stimulate the deep tissues. The rotating nodes will simulate what a masseuse would do, but nothing can fully duplicate a living massage therapist.
There are some safety precautions you should follow; some you would follow with any electrical device. Remember to read all warnings and instructions before use and follow them. Tempting as it is, you should not go to sleep while getting your massage. Be careful not to get anything entangled in the machinery.
Be particularly careful with machines with heating elements as they can cause a fire. If you are at risk for blood clots or have phlebitis or thrombosis you should consult your doctor before using a massage machine. The same goes for epileptics. do not use a foot massager if your feet have broken skin or artificial implants.
As long as you use a little common sense a foot massager could very well be the best investment you ever made. Do your research to find out what kind of foot massager would best suit your needs. There are several health benefits that a foot massaging machine can provide which will depend on your state of health and what sort of machine you got.
Do not be taken in by woo. If a massage feels good, it feels good but don’t be duped by some mystical mumbo-jumbo about aligning your chi or energizing your chakras or whatever. At the end of the day, a foot massager is an ideal way to reduce stress, relax muscles and encourage blood circulation.