How to give a good Reflexology Foot Massage
A good Reflexology Foot Massage is an incredible healing force that can help alleviate many symptoms such as headache, insomnia, chronic fatigue, dizziness, as well as help treat the underlying cause of many internal diseases such as Liver disease, Kidney disease, Heart disease, High blood pressure, plus virtually any disease known to man.
It is also one of the most enjoyable experiences that you can have, if the proper reflexology foot massage techniques are used. A proper foot massage is one of the strongest stress relieving treatments that I know of and is a great way to end a full body massage.
I will now share with you some fundamentals of giving a good therapeutic foot massage, as well as how to massage your own feet for self healing and stress management.
Some important fundamentals to remember in order to have a proper foot massage technique are:
Make sure your hands are clean and that your fingernails are properly trimmed before administering any type massage technique.
Feet are usually very ticklish and therefore great care must given in avoiding light touch or brushing lightly on the feet. Being tickled is not at all relaxing and causes the nervous system to go into the alert response. Always make sure to press or hold the feet firmly.
Feet tend to be very sore in some parts. Make sure apply pressure in a gentle manner and avoid digging right into the tender point. Pressing firmly yet in a gentle manner is the key to good foot massage technique.
Start your foot massage by massaging all of the nooks and crannies around the ankles. By loosening all of the ligaments and nerves that run through the ankle, you are preparing the rest of the foot for the direct pressure that is part of any good Shiatsu or Reflexology Foot Massage.
Basics of Foot Reflexology
Study the foot massage chart above. As you may see, the entire human body is reflected holographically onto the sole of your foot. The instep of your foot, the most medial or middle aspect, represents your spine. This is because the spine is the very middle of your body, so it is represented by the most middle aspect of your feet.
The Liver is located on the right side of your chest and abdomen. Therefore the area of your feet that treats the Liver is the lateral aspect of your right foot.
The Spleen is on the left side of your ribs, below your heart. Therefore it is treated by the outside or lateral aspect of your left foot.
The head is located in the toes along with all of the sensory organs. The lower back, sacrum, urinary bladder, genitals and lower limbs are located towards the heel.
The Kidneys are located in the very center of the sole of your foot. This coincides with the acupuncture point Kidney 1 (Yongquan - 'Bubbling Spring'). The anatomical location of Kidney 1 is in the depression between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals, just posterior to the the first phalangeal joint. Massaging this point is very beneficial for grounding someone's energy out of their head, for symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, or insomnia. This point is also the main point where Earth Yin energy enters the human body and EMF (electro-magnetic field) radiation Yang energy is discharged back in to the ground. This point is also very powerful for fertility and longevity.
Giving a Good Foot Massage
You may start your Reflexology Foot Massage by applying massage lotion to the feet. This is not mandatory but is usually recommended since most feet have some degree of callous which the lotion can help alleviate, as well as reducing the friction between your hands and the patients' feet.
Warm up the lotion in your hands by rubbing your hands together before applying in a downward motion from the ankles to the toes on the top portion of the foot. Repeat this wiping motion, downward from the ankles to the toes, spreading the lotion and promoting circulation, warming up the feet.
Next apply lotion to the soles of the feet, one foot at a time, using both hands. Hold the foot in your hands with your thumbs on the sole of the foot and your fingers holding the top of the foot. Rub your thumbs repeatedly from the heel area up through the arch of the foot to the ball of the foot, one thumb and then the other thumb, over and over, spreading the lotion and warming up the sole of the foot. Your pressure should be fairly light to begin with.
You may also twist the foot with both hands, back and forth, bringing the small toe towards the sole of the foot and then back in the other direction, twisting the small toe towards the top or dorsum of the foot.
This just loosens up all of the joints and ligaments in the foot which promotes greater circulation of Qi and Blood into the foot. Twisting of the foot should be done with care as to not hurt the patient, but at the same time, really trying to stretch all of the joints that comprise all of the metatarsal bones of each toe.
Each toe continues up towards the ankle, past the webbing, until about the highest point on the top or dorsum of the foot. All of the spaces between these bones contain very strong and usually sore acupuncture and reflexology points. By folding the toes down and in towards the bottom of the foot, you can loosen and break up many obstructions that persist in these intraosseous spaces. Also press the pads of your index or middle fingers into these spaces and wiggle your wrist a little to give a little vibrating 'One finger Technique'. You will probably elicit some degree of achiness in these points but with proper technique it will be a good hurt that relieves stress and fatigue, rather than just more pain and discomfort.
Now, starting with the big toe, pinch the toes gently one by one using the radial side of your index finger and the pad of your thumb. Twist the toe left and right, and then pull down, curling the toe down and in towards the sole of the foot. There may be some popping noises as you do this. These noises are just nitrogen gases being released from the joint of the toe. Do this starting with the big toes and then repeating with the next toe, and ending with the little toe.
Now curl all of the toes and the top of the foot down and in towards the Kidney 1 acupuncture point in the middle of the sole of the foot, using the palm of your dominant hand, while the other hand stabilizes the foot and presses into the Kidney 1 point with your thumb.
Now you can start massaging the actual sole of the foot.
As you begin massaging the sole of the foot, remember that feet are extremely ticklish. You must always apply enough pressure to avoid eliciting a tickle response and disturb the relaxing effects of the reflexology foot massage. Massage lotion is essential in providing the most comfort as you perform some of the foot massage techniques to the sole of the foot.
Begin by holding the foot that you will be working on (for women start with their right foot, for men start with their left foot) by the achilles tendon, just above the heel with your non-dominant hand, stretching the calf muscle and lifting the foot in the air. This gives you leverage with which to apply pressure.
Now apply pressure with the side of your thumb, starting near the lateral side of the heel, being the side of the small toe. Press with medium pressure to begin with as you glide your thumb towards the small toe, loosening all of the ligaments and muscles surrounding all of the joints of the foot.
Your wrist should be relaxed yet firm, just like your thumb. All of the strength that you use to press into the foot should come from your body weight, so lean into it as you press into the foot. Do not try to just use the strength of your thumb. This will likely cause you the practitioner injury to your thumb and wrist, as well as cause the person receiving the foot massage an undesirable amount of discomfort. If your thumb, wrist, hand or arms get sore, achey or weak, then you are using improper technique.
Like any other type of massage, a good reflexology foot massage should be performed a bit like a dance. Get your whole body into it. Do not be stiff and rigid. Your movements should be fluid and relaxed and your breathing should be deep and full.
You the practitioner should be relaxed and in a meditative space. Your energy is going into the feet of your patient. Try to smile golden light into your hands as you press into the feet. A trick to circulating energy between you and the patient, in order to prevent you from losing energy as well as increasing the effectiveness of your massage technique is a special type of Visualization and Qigong Breathing Technique.
Repeat this technique several times, pressing by the lateral side of the heel and gliding towards the toes, increasing your pressure a bit, but also backing off if you sense that you are causing too much pain.
One of the most common mistakes one can make while giving a reflexology foot massage is pressing too hard, too soon, and causing unbearable pain. This is meant to be relaxing and a stress relief therapy, not stress inducing.
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