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> Back to Self-Care Excerpts List

Self-Care Excerpt from Don't Weight

Foot Massage (A Physical Representation of Self-Care)

The next type of massage may require some creativity for some people to implement. Let's explore the foot massage. First, I will comment on massage for those who can reach their feet. I recommend that you sit in bed with support for your back. Sometimes it is best with a pillow tucked under your butt so that you can lean forward more comfortably. Many people find it easier to move one foot within reach while the other foot hangs off the side of the bed. Some people are comfortable with both feet within reach. One position is NOT better than the other. The best position is the one that works for you and is comfortable (especially on your back.) So, there you are, sitting, back supported, and comfortable. Now you can enjoy your foot massage. You will find that you can press and squeeze harder on the foot than on the hand. You may want to use your knuckles to get the right pressure on your foot while still being gentle on your fingers. Since your feet are used to carrying your weight, it may feel good to actually pound gently on your heels. Your toes however are more delicate. You may like to pull gently and press on the pads, just like on the fingers.

What if you cannot reach your feet? What if your hands are quite far from them indeed? Here is where another clever client has helped us all out. (There probably are fancy tools in specialty health catalogues for this purpose, but I find this client's idea works great.) Get a wooden spoon. You can choose a short or long handled spoon, depending on how far you need it to reach. The weight, smooth texture, and shape of a simple wooden spoon makes the perfect tool for tapping, pressing, and massaging your feet if you cannot reach. You can use the rounded tip of the spoon to press with specific pressure in one spot. You can softly tap your arch with the flattened round bottom of the spoon. When firmer pounding would feel good on your heel, you can use the edge of the spoon. Once you have gently relaxed and stimulated your feet with tapping, pressing, and gentle pounding, you can use the same spoon to apply cream to your feet. Put a dab of cream on the back of the spoon and apply with gentle circles. The side of the spoon will slip, sometimes with a giggle, between your toes. Enjoy. You and your feet deserve it.

Oh, but there is more. While you are giving yourself a nice foot massage in whatever fashion works for you and your body, you are also doing something else very important. You are stretching your low back, upper back, hamstrings, and inner thighs. Since you are massaging both feet, you are getting an even symmetrical stretch on both sides of your body. Feel it. Breathe into the stretch as you reach for your foot. Easy, easy, only stretch as much as is comfortable.

What is happening to your upper back, shoulders, arms, and hands while you are giving yourself a foot massage? They are all working and using the muscles of your upper body. Make sure that you alternate hands and use your right and left hands when you work on your feet. This will help you to work the muscles on both sides of your upper body. You can increase the strength and stamina of your shoulders, arms, and hands just by enjoying more frequent foot massages. It is kind of nice how everything is connected.

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