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How To Give a Foot Massage

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Updated May 16, 2014

Young female receiving reflexology treatment on feet by a beauty therapist.
Mike Harrington/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images
Learning how to give a foot massage is not hard. Pounding the pavement day in and day out can take its toll on your feet. Whether you have been standing at a trade show, standing in a research lab or standing at the front of a classroom, your feet need a rest. Learn how to give a great foot massage.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 45 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Start by soaking your feet in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. You may add scented oil if desired. This will help clean and warm the feet and provide aromatherapy if scented oil was added to the water. Dry your feet with a warm towel.
  2. Lay or sit back and start to relax. The feet and legs should be supported by a surface (massage table, sofa or bed) or by the person giving the foot massage. Massage one foot at a time. Keep the other foot wrapped in a towel to keep the foot warm.
  3. You may use oil or lotion for the foot massage. Run warm water over your hands to warm them before beginning the foot massage. Rub the oil or lotion over the entire foot to above the ankle.
  4. You want to warm up the foot by doing some basic stretches. Gently stretch the foot up and down and around in circles. One hand should be cupping and supporting the heel and one hand should be moving the foot at the ankle joint.
  5. Place the foot back down onto the supporting surface. Now squeeze the foot with both hands starting at the toes and work your way up to above the ankles and back down. One hand should be grasping the inside of the foot and one hand the outside of the foot.
  6. Instead of squeezing, you are now going to use both hands and twist the foot in opposite directions starting at the toes and working up to the ankles and back down. One hand should be on the inside of the foot and one hand on the outside of the foot.
  7. The foot should be warmed up and now it is time to do strokes. Use the fingers of both hands to do strokes on the top of the foot and use your thumbs to do strokes on the bottom of the foot. Again, start at the toes and work up to the ankles and back down. Try to find the grooves between the bones and tendons of your feet and apply the strokes in those areas. Don't forget the areas around the ankle bones.
  8. Next, turn your focus toward the toes. Find the areas where the bases of your toes bend (metatarsalphalangeal joints), with your fingers on top of the foot and your thumb on the bottom, make circular motions at these areas for toes 1 through 5.
  9. Starting with toe number five (little toe), use your index and middle finger on top of the toe and your thumb on the bottom and start at the base of the toe and massage to the tip of the toe then make a circle with the toe. Follow that by gently pulling on the toe, you may hear the toe pop. Do this for all five toes, ending with the big toe.
  10. Continue with the toes by running your four fingers of one hand into the four interspaces of the toes. You can start from the top of the foot or the bottom. Do several gentle back and forth movements. Finish the toes by using your index finger on top and your thumb on the bottom and gently massaging the toe interspaces, then stroke the interspaces by pulling your index finger and thumb towards you.
  11. Now, you should focus on the bottom of the foot. Start with your thumbs and make circular motions, then do strokes both up and down and side to side. For a little more pressure, you can use your knuckles and knead the bottom of the foot.
  12. Finish the foot massage by doing light strokes with your fingers on top of the foot and your thumbs on the bottom of the foot and starting at the toes and working up above the ankles.

Tips:

  1. Put the towels in the dryer to warm them up before drying your feet.
  2. Many different techniques exist for giving a foot massage. Use the techniques that feel the best to you.
  3. Apply more pressure when you are going from the toes to above the ankles and less pressure when going from the ankles to the toes. This will help push extra fluid out of the feet.
  4. Make sure the foot and leg are supported on a surface so the body is completely relaxed. For some techniques, you can also support the foot with one of your hands.
  5. After the foot massage, wipe off excess oil or lotion to prevent slipping and apply socks to help seal in the moisture.

What You Need

  • water basin or bath tub
  • oil or lotion
  • towel

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