Happy Feet

Father’s Day gift dilemma? Pamper Dad with a foot massage.

dad napping foot massage med

Dad probably has enough neckties and barbecue grill equipment, so this year why not treat him to a foot massage in the comfort of his own home? No fancy equipment is necessary. All you need is a towel, a large bowl or basin, perhaps a salt scrub and some lotion.

“It is a great kindness to rub someone’s feet.” – Robin Wessels, White Lotus Spa, Medford

JoAnn Lewis, a licensed massage therapist at Family Education Center in Ashland, says that good touch cleanses and feeds our bodies. “There are benefits to both the giver and the receiver when giving a massage,” she says. “The giver gets a small exercise workout and the receiver feels relaxed, pampered and cared for.”

What more could Dad ask for on his special day?

Step 1: Soak

After making sure Dad is comfortable, prepare a bowl of warm water with Epsom salts and lavender essential oil and soak the feet for 10-15 minutes, says Lewis.

Step 2: Scrub

Robin Wessels, a nail technician at White Lotus Spa in Medford, starts with a salt scrub on the entire foot, ankle and calf. “There are many salt scrub products on the market, or you can make your own with sea salt and warm oil,” she says. “Any oil will do. You can use cooking oil, baby oil, coconut oil, whatever you have on hand. This is usually the favorite part of the massage for a man. Make sure you are gentle with the salt scrub. If the pressure is too harsh, it can cause a rash.”

Wessels says to start with slow circular movements around the foot, ankle and up the calf. “The salt scrub works to remove dead skin cells and increase circulation.”

Step 3: Massage and lotion

Wipe off the salt scrub with a warm, wet cloth and switch to a good lotion. “Distribute the lotion evenly in both hands,” Wessels says. “With firm pressure, continue with circular movements up the knee toward the heart. I like to repeat each  set of movements three times.”

Lewis starts the massage with a few light squeezes all over the foot. “Go slowly, but with enough pressure to avoid tickling,” she says. “Massage each foot for up to 30 minutes each. The way to do that without getting tired is to use your body weight instead of muscle. Lean into it instead of pushing.”

Getting the right pressure is important, says Lewis. “Follow your instincts and watch his face. If you aren’t sure, just ask him if the pressure is OK. Keep checking in. He should make you aware of any injured areas to avoid. This is all about what he wants and needs and can enjoy.”

Wessels warns to be cautious around varicose veins as extreme pressure can cause a rupture.

“Rub the heel and bottom of the foot with firm pressure,” says Wessels. “Use both thumbs to work the ball of the foot. Massage each toe separately. With the flat of your hand, stroke the top of the foot from the toes to the ankle. Take the time to find the sore spots and gently work them out. It is a great kindness to rub someone’s feet.”

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More to Explore

Reflexology and feet

reflexology feet sm

If you are looking for a therapeutic massage versus a relaxation massage, reflexology addresses many health concerns.

Reflexology in traditional Chinese medicine addresses the qi or vital energy in each person. According to www.verywellhealth.com, when a person feels stressed, the qi is blocked, which causes imbalances. While a foot massage may feel the same, a reflexologist will work on areas to promote a healing response to corresponding organs. For instance, the tips of the toes reflect the head. The heart and chest are around the ball of the foot. Low back and intestines are toward the heel.

“We have six times the nerve endings in our hands and feet than anywhere else in our body. All nerve endings go back to all parts of the body,” says Lewis. “Reflexology relaxes the entire body by relaxing the nervous system. Our reflexology classes will resume when possible and will include our regular monthly ‘Happy Hands and Feet’ class.”

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