Foot massage is many people’s favorite selfcare routine, but there are several different types of foot massage, and each has its unique focuses and benefits. Here, we will cover four of the most popular types of foot massage and dive into their representative techniques and benefits to help you find the most appropriate massage for your needs.
Benefits of a Foot Massage
Foot massages have many physical and emotional benefits. Some of the biggest perks a good foot massage session brings include:
- Promotes healthy circulation
- Speeds up injury recovery
- Relieves pain and muscle soreness
- Improves healthy circulations
- Reduces stress and improves overall mood and energy
- Improves sleep and rest
- Promotes overall health
Because your feet have many pressure points and sensitive nerves that affect other organs and body parts, foot massages are an important part of your wellness routine.
Read more: How Often Should I Get a Foot Massage
Swedish Massage uses long-gliding movements and kneading techniques. For some, Swedish massage may feel more intrusive than other types of foot massage.
Pros and Cons
Swedish massage is extremely effective in improving blood flow and stimulating circulation. The petrissage technique Swedish massage uses also stimulates your lymph nodes and, therefore, improves your immunity. Since Swedish massage focuses on elongating muscles and tissues, it also helps increase flexibility and motion of range.
However, you may feel sore the day after having a Swedish massage session. You also can’t have Swedish massage if you’ve been recently injured or have an open wound. If you are sensitive to pressure, you may even find bruises on yourself after a Swedish massage. While there is nothing to be concerned about, the side effects can still be uncomfortable.
Shiatsu Foot Massage
Shiatsu foot massage is popular, especially for those with plantar fasciitis or neuropathy. By pressing pressure points on the feet, shiatsu foot massage promotes healthy circulation throughout the body.
Unlike other types of foot massage, Shiatsu foot massage has many full-body benefits, including:
- Headache relief
- Allergy and nasal congestion relief
- Promotes healthy digest
- Improves sleep quality
- General pain relief
- Antidepression and stress relief
And as mentioned earlier, shiatsu foot massages are extraordinarily effective against foot disease and neuropathy pain.
Read more: Foot Massage for Constipation
Do Shiatsu Foot Massagers Work?
Plenty are doubtful about shiatsu foot massagers and whether they can fully replace in-person massage therapies, and the answer is yes. Shiatsu foot massagers are among the most affordable alternatives to visiting a massage therapist.
Shiatsu foot massagers work because they mimic real shiatsu foot massage techniques. Many also have other presets, including petrissage and deep tissue massage. In that sense, buying a good foot massager is actually more effective than going into a massage parlor.
Shiatsu foot massagers are perfectly safe to use, even among pregnant women and elders. If you are new to foot massages, start on a lower setting and gradually warm yourself up to it.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage uses slow strokes, friction movements, and direct pressure across muscle grains to target chronic tension in muscles far below your body surface. Deep tissue massage increases oxygen levels and blood flow in the targeted areas with these techniques to relieve muscle knots, soreness, and pain.
Deep Tissue Massage Benefits
Deep tissue massages can effectively target a specific area and come with many instant benefits, including:
- Temporary pain relief
- Faster injury recovery
- Injury prevention
- Muscle relaxation
The best time to get a deep tissue massage is
- After a minor sports injury like a muscle sprain
- You have trouble sleeping due to muscle pain
- You experience pain caused by bad postures
- During a chronic muscle pain episode
Who Should Not Get a Deep Tissue Massage?
Anyone with severe injuries should avoid deep tissue massages because the process can cause more damage than benefits. If you have open wounds and broken bones or suffer from conditions that make you more prone to bone fractures, damage, and blood clots, you should avoid deep tissue massages.
Read more: 5 Common Foot and Ankle Injuries
Hot Stone Foot Massage
Hot stone massage uses heated basalt River rock on different points throughout your body. The heat, minerals in the rock, and the pressure together create the healing effect that makes hot stone massage a new favorite among many suffering chronic muscle issues.
Hot stone foot massage is a great way to relieve muscle pain and tension. Heat therapy is great for aching feet. Combined with massage techniques, hot stones can get deeper into the muscle and help relieve pain and tension in your feet and lower legs. It is also one of the least intrusive massage methods compared to other options.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What kind of foot massagers should I buy?
We recommend always purchasing a foot massager with heat and vibration, as those are the minimum functions you always want. A shiatsu foot massager is usually good for neuropathy and plantar fasciitis. Meanwhile, you can also find petrissage foot massagers if you’re looking for something that leans closer to Swedish massage.
2. Is deep tissue massage the same as Swedish massage?
Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage are not the same. A deep tissue massage targets the deeper muscles in your injured area to relieve pain, tension, and soreness. Swedish massage focuses on improving muscle oxygen content and blood flow.
Swedish massage techniques focus on lighter, gliding strokes compared to deep tissue. Meanwhile, deep tissue massages benefit those suffering from chronic muscle pain more.
3. Which one is better, shiatsu massage or deep tissue massage?
If you want to target a specific pain area or muscle group, deep tissue massage is preferable to a shiatsu massage. However, a shiatsu foot massage will serve you better if you are looking for routine maintenance, circulation stimulation, or general relaxation. Shiatsu foot massages also work better for those with neuropathic pain or plantar fasciitis.
4. Is it safe to get a foot massage if I’m pregnant?
Getting a foot massage is perfectly safe if you are pregnant. In fact, doctors recommend a foot massage for pregnant women as it can significantly subside some of the discomfort brought by pregnancy, including back, leg, and foot pain, insomnia, and stress. It is also safe to use an electric foot massager during pregnancy in lieu of visiting a massage therapist.