Foot massages are widely popular around the world, and often combine massage and reflexology techniques. Depending on the type and country of origin of a Foot Massage, it’s aimed at opening up energy channels, stimulate the flow of vital or life energy, increase blood circulation, resolving specific ailments and discomforts, or it’s applied simply to relax and encourage a state of well-being.
When reflexology concepts are incorporated, a Foot Massage will typically include using acupressure on reflexology or acupressure points, with the idea that those points correspond to organs or other bodily systems. The intention is to prevent, heal or alleviate certain health issues or conditions.
Sessions typically take between thirty minutes and one hour and can be done with or without using oils or creams. When oil is used there’s more sliding and stroking, without oils there are typically more acupressure, and/or mobilization or stretches applied.
Practitioners typically use the thumbs, fingers, knuckles, fists, elbows, forearms, and certain tools (often little wooden sticks) to work on the receivers’ feet, but the practitioner’s knees and feet are sometimes used as tools also.
The receiver would usually sit on a comfortable, soft chair leaning back, and the practitioner would sit on the floor or on a little stool while massaging the receiver’s feet. Although more rare, the receiver may also be lying on a massage table.
More often than not, the treatment is extended to the calves, or even to the whole leg, and sometimes at the end of a session, a bit of arms, shoulders and neck work is applied also.
When it comes to pressure point maps or acupressure charts of the feet, a broad variety of systems are in circulation, which often seem to contradict each other. Reflexology maps can originate from China, Thailand, India, or Egypt, to name some countries, and each map may ascribe different functions to similarly located points on or under the feet, or the same function to very differently located points.
In any case, apart from being a modality that can address specific illnesses and discomforts, foot massages are thought to generally contribute to a better blood and lymph circulation, a boost to the immune system, improved mobility and range of motion, stress reduction, better sleep, better mood and concentration ability, and a feeling of well-being and calmness.