Health issues a foot massage can help with

Angela Davis

Sunday, January 14, 2018

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Most patients who visit me have a specific problem with their feet or health. Once diagnosed and treated, I try to end the session with a relaxing foot massage. I have a few patients that make an appointment specifically for this and they usually end up sleeping during the treatment as it is so relaxing. A foot massage is not as specific as reflexology, but it can also provide huge relief for many ailments. You can massage your own foot by resting your leg in your lap. If you find it difficult to get into this position, a family member may be able to assist you. Here are a few examples of how a simple foot massage could be the answer to your health issue.

1. Stress Relief: Research has shown that a five- minute foot massage can significantly reduce stress, even in critical care patients. I recommend you treat yourself to this just before you go to bed for five minutes on each foot.

2. Lowers High Blood Pressure: Gently massaging the solar plexus, which is located in the centre of the foot, can help to lower blood pressure. Korean study found that systolic blood pressure and blood triglyceride levels were both improved following regular massages.

3. Reducing Headaches: Again, a foot massage can be a very effective way in reducing migraines and their severity. A Danish study of 150 people found that after six months of foot massage, 81 per cent of the patients reported improvement in their condition and they were able to stop taking further pain relief.

4. Premenstrual syndrome or PMS Symptoms: Symptoms associated with PMS such as anxiety, pain, insomnia, and fatigue can also be helped by regular foot massages. Studies show that for menstrual pain, a foot massage can be just as effective as pharmaceutical pain relief.

5. Chronic Sinusitis: Inflammation and congestion of the sinuses can be reduced through regular foot massage. A study in the United States of America (USA) showed that out of 100 adults with chronic sinusitis, 70 per cent felt they had benefited greatly and 35 per cent were able to decrease their sinus medication.

6. Swollen Legs: Fluid retention in the ankles is common especially in those who are pregnant or who stand and sit for long periods of time. The International Journal of Nurses in the USA found that pregnancy related swelling was significantly reduced. It is important to note that swelling due to an underlying condition such as heart or kidney disease should be investigated by your doctor.

7. Pain Relief: Research from as far back as 2004 has shown that patients who have undergone surgery enjoy greater pain relief after a foot massage than those who don't receive it.

8. Anxiety: In today's hectic world, a lot of us suffer with anxiety. Daily five-minute foot massages can relieve the symptoms.

9. Improving Circulation: Due to our sedentary lifestyle, poor footwear and disease, poor circulation is commonplace. Regular massage will encourage lymphatic and blood flow within the body.

When you are giving yourself a foot massage or providing one for someone else, use an oil like coconut or olive so that your hands will glide effortlessly over the foot. Reflexology charts are available on the Internet and will give you the exact pressure corresponding to various parts of the body.

Angela Davis BSc (Hons) DPodM MChS is a podiatrist with offices in Montego Bay (293- 7119), Mandeville (962-2100), Ocho Rios (974-6339), Kingston (978-8392), and Savanna-la-Mar (955-3154). She is a member of the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom.

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