Are your feet in desperate need of some pampering? A foot massage could help to relieve the aches and pains you feel at the end of a long day. Interestingly, massage offers more health benefits than just stress relief and relaxation.
Studies have shown that foot massage activates your nervous system, flooding your body with feel-good endorphins. It boosts your circulation to heal and nourish your tissues, and it gives you an opportunity to check your feet for any issues like corns, sores and abnormal growths. This is especially important if you have poor circulation, suffer from diabetes, or neuropathy.
The best essential oils for your feet
There are many essential oils you can include in a DIY foot massage oil. However, there are a few that stand out from the rest thanks to their superior health and skin enhancing properties.
Top foot massage oil options include:
- Tea tree oil. This essential oil has incredible antiseptic properties. In a 1992 study, they found the extract of tea tree significantly reduces the symptoms of athlete’s foot just as effectively as a standard antifungal cream. Tea tree oil is also cooling and refreshing, and can help to treat issues such as foot odor, toenail infections and blisters.
- Peppermint oil. Peppermint oil is fantastic for soothing bruises, itchy skin, inflammation and muscle aches. Its strong smell can help combat foot odor, and it creates a pleasant tingling sensation on the skin.
- Eucalyptus oil. This essential oil boasts antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. A University of California study found that products containing eucalyptus acted as effective painkillers, which will be great news to anyone suffering from sore feet!
- Lavender oil. Floral-smelling lavender oil was found to possess anti-fungal properties by a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology. It can treat athlete’s foot and nail infections, and promotes relaxation and stress relief.
- Thyme oil. Thyme offers powerful properties that make it a great addition to a massage oil. Oil made from this herb is strongly antimicrobial, reduces inflammation, and could help address muscle cramps and arthritis. It is useful for fungal skin infections and makes a great deodorizer too.
DIY foot massage oil recipes
Most massage oils require just three basic ingredients: a carrier oil, your preferred essential oils and a bottle to store the formula in. A dark amber or blue glass bottle is optimal to keep the herbal constituents active.
You should remember the ratio of carrier oil to essential oils that you use. A good rule of thumb is to add 18 drops of essential oil to every 30 ml of carrier oil.
Here are some basic recipes to inspire you. Don’t forget, you can add your own essential oils and extra ingredients too!
1. Eucalyptus, Thyme & Tea Tree Healing Massage Oil
Add all the ingredients in a suitable bottle and shake to combine. Swap out the sweet almond oil for richer fractionated coconut oil in winter, or if you battle with a dry skin condition.
2. Tea Tree & Peppermint Tingling Massage Oil
The grape-seed oil gives this massage oil a sleek, non-greasy feel, while the peppermint and tea tree oils cool and refresh your feet.
3. Thyme, Peppermint & Rosemary Herbal Massage Oil
Nourishing olive oil will probably be readily available in your kitchen, and the herbal essential oils in this recipe will relax and revive your tired soles. This oil is excellent for those with very dry skin.
How to give yourself a foot massage
Professional massages can be expensive, but there’s nothing to stop you from giving yourself a foot massage at home. Moderate pressure is well suited to most people, even those with fibromyalgia and arthritis. If you’ve had podiatric surgery, check with your doctor or podiatrist to ensure that foot massage is safe for you.
Step 1: Wash your feet thoroughly using a refreshing soap such as Glonaturals’ Essentials Collection Peppermint Castile Soap and exfoliate with an Earth Therapeutics Wooden Foot File. Dry them using a fluffy towel.
Step 2: Grab your DIY massage oil and sit on a bed or in a chair. Place one of your feet on your opposite thigh and apply a teaspoon of oil by smoothing it over your skin with your palms.
Step 3: Grasping the front of your ankle with one hand, pinch the back of that ankle with the thumb and index finger of your other hand, pressing down towards your heel. This will release stress from your Achilles tendon.
Step 4: Make small circles from the bottom of your heel to the base of each one of your toes, using your thumb and firm pressure. Massage your soles by pressing your knuckles into them, or by holding each foot with both hands and pressing your thumbs directly into the bottom of your feet. Start from the heel and work toward the area beneath your toes.
Step 5: Finish your massage by gently rotating each of your toes. Once complete, do the same process for your other foot. If there’s any pain, be sure to lighten your pressure or stop immediately if it’s too uncomfortable. You could also try using an electric foot spa or a foot roller for your DIY massage.
Step 6: Remember to care for your feet between massages. If you don’t have the time for a full massage, rubbing a nourishing foot cream like Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Creme into your feet will help to relieve tension and pain. You can dust a natural foot powder like WiseWays Herbals’ Tea Tree Foot Power over your soles and between your toes to keep odor and potential infections at bay too.
Whether your feet hurt from running, standing for long periods of time, or are feeling the brunt of other lifestyle factors, regular foot massages do the world of good. They help you to put your best foot forward, in every way.