Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Feet and Legs Massage

Few things in life are more relaxing, than a good foot massage. Tired feet suddenly feel light again, and as the sole of the foot contains thousands of nerve endings, a foot massage can stimulate the whole body. Whether you lead an active or a more sedentary life, a leg massage can benefit anyone. And, as backache can be caused or aggravated by problems in the legs, a leg massage may actually help your back!

First the feet

I usually start a leg massage on the feet, since most people love to have them massaged, and it's a great way of relaxing the whole body. However, if your partner has slightly swollen ankles, I would recommend starting on the thighs with the aim of clearing the ankle swelling, by stimulating the circulation. Then the order of massage would be thighs, knees, calves, and feet.

Preparing the foot

Kneel at your partner's feet and work first on one foot then on the other. You don't need to use much oil; if you have too much, your fingers will slide around, which can be ticklish. If your partner has ticklish feet, use very firm strokes for the massage; alternatively, if you massage the legs first, by the time you reach the feet they may be less sensitive. Ticklishness seems to be linked to tension, so if you can release some of the tension through massage, your partner may be more relaxed and better able to enjoy the foot massage. Work through the whole sequence of massage moves on one foot, and then go back to the beginning and start on the other foot.

The Foot

Leonardo da Vinci referred to the foot as "the greatest engineering device in the world." The feet contain almost a quarter of all the bones in the body, each having 28 bones. The bones are arranged in arches that help the foot support the weight of the body and provide leverage when walking. An intricate web of muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounds and supports these bones.


Start the massage by stroking one of your partner's feet to get it used to your touch.

Sandwich the foot between your hands and stroke firmly with both hands from the toes toward the body.

When you reach the ankles, swing your hands round and return them to the toes with a light stroke. This a warming movement, and is ideal for anyone who suffers from cold feet. Repeat at least four times.

Thumb stroking

In this move, you will apply more localized pressure with your thumbs.

Support the foot with your fingers underneath it, and place your thumbs on top of the foot at the base of the toes. Stroke up the foot with your thumbs, fanning out to the sides and gliding back to the toes, ready to start again. Repeat three or four times.

Now stroke with your thumbs working alternately. Stroke, up with on, thumb as the other glides back down the side. The movement can go a little higher than before, reaching up to the ankle. Again, repeat several times.

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