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How can I give myself a foot massage?

Christopher Chiodo, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Here's how to do a foot massage:
  • Sit in a comfortable chair. Bend your left leg and rest your left foot gently on your right thigh.
  • Pour some skin lotion or oil into your hand. Rub it gently into your foot and massage your whole foot -- toes, arch, and heel.
  • Do a deeper massage. Press the knuckles of your right hand into your left foot. Knead your foot as you would bread. Or work the skin and muscles by holding a foot with both hands and pressing your thumbs into the skin.
  • Using your hands, gently pull the toes back and forth or apart. This stretches the muscles underneath.
  • Repeat on the other foot.
To enhance your massage, you can buy massage devices in local drugstores or health stores. Look for foot rollers; these can provide fast foot massages at home or at work -- take off your shoes and roll your feet over the massagers for a quick pick-me-up.

A foot massage should feel good.  If you have pain with this, stop and contact a doctor.
The next time a bad day (or week, or month) has you on the verge of a mini meltdown, undo the anxious knots by getting to know your feet.

Yep, giving yourself a quick foot massage can have almost the same stress-lowering benefit as a full-body rubdown, according to Roberta Lee, MD, author of The SuperStress Solution. Here's her easy 10-step tootsie rub that will make your feet feel great and may help in stress reduction.

Lee's do-it-yourself foot massage is based on the principles of ayurvedic reflexology.
  1. Wash your feet with warm soap and water, then wipe them dry.
  2. Apply a small amount of sesame seed or almond massage oil mixed with lavender essential oils. 
  3. Start rubbing at the base of your little toe.
  4. Move over to the base of the next toe and continue rubbing.
  5. Apply slight pressure on the flesh between your little toe and the next toe over.
  6. Now move to your middle toe.
  7. Massage, stretch, and pull your middle toe in a circular motion, then do the same with your other toes.
  8. With your fingertips or the palms of your hands, gently apply pressure to both sides of your heel just below the ankle, and then rub around your ankle clockwise to boost energy and circulation.
  9. Finally, knead and squeeze your calf muscle to release tension.
  10. Repeat on the second foot.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.