The Science of Foot Massage: What You Need to Know

What's the science behind the benefits of foot massage? We'll explain. Learn how joint and muscle pain can be remedied and relaxation can be achieved.

Does foot massage really work? Science Explains the Benefits

Our feet take us everywhere. They are constantly working, and yet are often the most neglected part of our body that needs the most care. We need to take care of them the same way they take care of us or we may suffer the consequences. But the question remains, how do you take care of your feet?

Foot massage is a simple and healthy way to take care of our tootsies. If you’re looking for a great foot massager look no further. The scientific evidence behind the benefits of foot massage are undeniable, and there are many reasons why we should fit them into our busy lives. After the science, we’ll talk about which products are best for your needs.

What Are the Benefits of Foot Massage

The benefits of foot massage are many. Some of the top benefits include releasing endorphins, lowering heart rate, lowering blood pressure, improving balance, and managing mental health problems.

To understand the benefits of foot massage, first, we must understand all of the components of it. The positive effects of foot massage result from the combination of the physical effects of massage, and the psycho-social aspect of receiving a massage.

The physical aspect of the massage deals with and aids in the following:

  • Because the muscles of the foot are physically being manipulated and massaged, experience an immediate therapeutic effect.
  • It increases blood flow. Lymphatic drainage also increases, which means fluid is being drained from the blood before being cycled back into the circulatory system.
  • Local joint pain is reduced.

The combination of the physical and psycho-social aspects of foot massage add the following benefits to the list:

  • Pain reduction
  • Maintaining low blood rate and heart rate
  • Managing anxiety and depression

It is important to note that most of these benefits are gained through any type of massage, but some benefits are unique to the feet because of the function they carry out for our bodies. They are:

  • Increased balance
  • Increased sensation and range of motion in the feet
  • Reflexology, which is a type of therapy that targets zones in the feet, hands, and ears that are believed to correspond to different organs in the body

Foot Massage Helps Increase Endorphin Levels

Endorphins are good for us. We like endorphins. Exercise and chocolate are two things that ring our endorphin bells, or release “happiness hormones,” into our bodies, eliminating pain and discomfort and keeping us smiling.

Studies have shown that some of the positive effects we feel during foot massage are due to the release of endorphins. This is because tissue massage (of the feet or anywhere) makes us feel good. When the endorphins are activated in and around our bodies and brains, our muscles relax, we feel happier, and our pain levels decrease.

One preliminary study looking at women with fibromyalgia found that regular and continued use of mechanical foot massagers could contribute to its treatment. The beneficial aspects were closely linked to the release of endorphins.

Which Foot Massager Is Right for Me?

There are two basic types of foot massagers. The first looks kind of like a scale propped at an angle and is usually low and wide on the ground. For the other type, you put your feet inside a machine for the massage to begin. Both are great options but further inspection should help you decide what is best for your needs.

Here are the basics of each type:

Open Machine Foot Massagers

  • Low and wide
  • Sturdy
  • Durable
  • Powerful
  • Can be used to get your calves and ankles

Closed Machine Foot Massagers

  • Many of these have heat options, though the open-machine types can have that feature as well
  • May contain airbags and kneading massage techniques to reach the tops of your feet
  • These are usually smaller and more portable but not always

The benefits of using a foot massager are numerous and varied, and the bottom line is that our feet need better care. We don’t always have the time (or money) to get ourselves massages. Buying a machine we can put in our home or take with us to work can make the world of difference in our lives.

Our feet deserve such a break. Think of it as a way of saying, “thank you feet for taking care of me and taking me wherever I want to go.” As we get older, the more difficult it is to move around, so we might as well get ahead with this preventative type of care. Not only will it help in the long run, but you’ll see the immediate effects as well.

Resources— JPMRSScience Direct