Foot massages feel so good, but are they really that important?
Especially if I have tension in my shoulders and neck?
Many people out there do not like their feet. Some people actually are afraid of feet. That is ok!
Feet, whether loved or hated, are still an important part of our body. I think they are one of the most important parts of our body to take care of!
Think about a building. If the base is not sound, what happens to the rest of the structure? Usually, instability…sometime the entire building is in risk of falling down. Our feet are like the base of a building. If they are not healthy and functioning properly, there will be evidence all throughout the body.
There can be compensation patters, tension, pain, etc. I actually see a correlation between neck tension and tight calves/feet (the flexor tendons for the bottom of your feet connect onto the back side of your tibia, right behind your gastroc and soleus muscles) in clients all the time.
The back line of fascia connects on the bottom of your feet and runs the entire length of the back of the body, finally connecting at the top of the head. Tightness along that line anywhere can cause tension/pain in another part of the fascia.
Some good things you can do for your feet:
- Stretch your calves and feet often (especially if you have had an active day on your feet).
- Epsom salt soak for you lower legs.
- Roll out the bottom of your feet with a tennis ball/lacrosse ball/foot roller ball (I like the one with the nubs all over it).
- Keep your ankles healthy by pointing and flexing your feet/toes before exercise or when waking in the morning.
- Make sure you are getting enough calcium and magnesium in your diet. These two nutrients are very important in muscle function. If you feel like you want a supplement, I know of a few I can recommend or I can recommend a nutritionist.
- Walk around your house barefoot. This will allow your feet to function and move naturally, so muscles that have been supported all day can stretch and be active.
- Don’t sleep with socks on. We release toxins and extra energy out of our feet when we are sleeping.
- Self-massage when you are doing stretches.
In Thai massage, traditionally the practitioner starts at the feet and works up to the head.
We do this, not only because the feet are the first thing that makes contact with the earth, but because it will move energy up through the chakras and out the head.
For people who have a hard time staying grounded, I recommend focusing on the feet to ground to the earth.