When it comes to pampering, relaxation and recovery, we pay the most attention to our face and body, but often forget our feet.
That’s hardly fair, when they work so hard to bear our weight and take us everywhere. With so many people doing 30 minutes of movement daily as part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, it’s a good time to remind everyone that recovery is as much a part of part of every fitness journey as the workout itself.
During intense workouts, the feet bear a huge burden. A simple, dedicated session can help rejuvenate feet on a rest day. But if you’ve never done it before, what about trying foot reflexology?
Besides being relaxing and rejuvenating, foot reflexology has an array of benefits for physical health. Foot reflexology isn’t just another name for a foot massage, either. It is an ancient practice based on the principle of various pressure points on the feet, which correspond to different organs and glands of the body. When pressure is applied to these points, it can be used to target direct health concerns as well as improve overall wellness. It is non-invasive and induces a healing response, which can even alleviate certain ailments. Among the benefits:
Reflexology feels incredibly soothing and relaxing, especially after a long day of standing our walking around. A foot massage before resting for the night improves the feeling of general well-being. As it soothes your feet and makes you feel incredibly relaxed, this helps you sleep better.
Certain points on the feet help in alleviating any negative emotions like stress and anxiety. Feflexology can help to stimulate and calm the nervous system. It can relieve these symptoms and put you in a better mood. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how relaxed you feel post-massage.
Reflexology is known to treat pains and aches all over the body from its pressure points. It helps in pain relief from headaches, neck pain, backaches and any other stiffness caused by working out. Moreover, repeated stress on the foot can cause tendonitis, neuroma and plantar fasciitis — and reflexology can help ease this pain too.
As reflexology primarily stimulates the muscles of your feet, it reduces stiffness and makes your feet and ankles stronger. This helps prevent ankle and foot injuries — something you are vulnerable to while following a heavy workout regime.
Although exercise is essential for holistic health, it’s easy to over-exert oneself, so a monthly reflexology foot massage from a trained therapist can help to temporarily ease post-workout pain.
Improved blood circulation
People who have a sedentary lifestyle use the muscles of their feet enough, and this can lead to poor blood circulation. Wearing high heels, tight or closed shoes over long periods also hinder blood circulation. Overuse of the feet during running without giving them adequate rest can also have negative effects. Reflexology helps in improving one’s blood circulation by promoting movement and transporting oxygen to the body’s cells.
The swelling of feet, known as edema, can happen due to high-intensity exercise too. A foot massage help reduce this swelling by increasing blood circulation.
DIY foot massage
- Begin with a warm-up by rubbing both feet and squeezing to increase circulation.
- Rotate your ankles to relax the joints and relieve stiffness.
- A nourishing oil or cream can help fingers easily glide across the skin.
- Use ‘thumb walking’ to stimulate pressure points. Apply moderate pressure to a point with your thumb, make small circular motions and move the thumb forward. Gradually ‘walk’ your thumb to stimulate both the point and its surrounding area.
- Target the meridian lines to have a deeper release on pain points and focus on the mid and sides of the foot for better relaxation.
- Soak your feet in warm water with a pinch of Epsom salt or creating a walking space with tiny stone pebbles or sand to stimulate the reflex points, which enhance and balance the overall body system.
Ebasila Kalumbe is head spa & massage trainer at Urban Company UAE