I walk about five and a half miles a day for work, five days a week, quite a few weeks a year. Crossing roads, navigating overflowing drains and dodging the occasional dog poo come rain or shine – I’m out there, pavement under my feet. I love that I have the ability to walk to work, but after a while those miles mount up not only on my step counter but also on my poor tootsies.
I had an issue a couple of months into this new routine where my feet constantly felt bruised. My heel was aching, my arches were screaming and putting on shoes in the morning felt like a betrayal. I decided to research best foot care and what I could be doing to improve my foot health but without spending loads of money on fancy massage blocks or foot rollers.
I’ve collected the best tricks and tips that have worked for me and can be done at any time of day – in the morning in bed, after you get in from work, while you are watching tv – there’s no bad time to start looking after your feet!
I have written the below for you to conduct on yourself, but you can amend the below so you can give someone else the treat of a foot rub.
Using oils in your massage can up your relaxation game. I mix two/three drops of essential oil with sweet almond oil which you can get from Tesco – it’s cheap and a nice carrier for your essentials.
Lavender: relaxes and calms, will soothe tension in your feet and legs
Roman Chamomile: helps reduce spasms or inflammation
Rosemary: eases pain and makes you smell a bit like roast potatoes, not my favourite
Clary sage: the o.g. hippy oil; it soothes pain, eases tension and promotes relaxation
Sandalwood: reduces inflammation
To prepare your feet for the massage, you can do something called ‘warm up rolls’ which warm up the ankle and loosen muscles.
Rest your foot up on a chair or the sofa and take one hand to the inside of your foot and one to the outside. Making sure you aren’t engaging the foot, gently push one hand away from you and pull the other towards you, twisting the foot side to side. Do this a couple of times gently and slowly, if there is any pain stop immediately.
Your thumbs are wonderful things so it’s about time to put them to good use! With your foot still resting on the chair in front of you, or if it’s more comfortable to pull your foot now into your lap and sit more cross-legged, put your finger on the top of your foot and take your thumb underneath. With a reasonable amount of pressure, take your thumb to the base of your toes and push your thumb up to the top of your toe pad. Do with each toe and repeat, but get your thumb to start lower and lower on your foot until you are pushing up from the ball of your foot.
This will help with any tightness in your toes from clenching or pressure.
My arches get really tight so this is such a treat for me. With your foot either on the chair or in your lap, take both hands to your feet and press your thumbs into the arch of your foot. Start at the bottom and press in consistent, intermittent points up and down the arch of your foot.
Then, start pressing your thumbs and in rubbing up and down your arch. You can then graduate this to moving your thumbs from your arch to the length or width of your foot. Congratulations, you are now giving yourself a full foot rub!
This sounds really strange, and because it kind of is. Take your foot into your lap and begin by rubbing where your achiles and heel meets with your thumb. Bring your thumb down to your heel and take you hand around the back of your foot, your thumb pointing to the inside of your foot and your fingers to the outside of your foot. Press your thumb and fingers into the sides of your feet with quite some pressure and pull your thumbs and fingers back to meet at the heel base.
If this isn’t working for you, put your hand back into this cupping position around the back of your foot with your thumb on the inside of your foot and finger on the outside. Rub circles into these areas. Doing small circles like this will increase blood flow and help ease tension or rubbing from shoes.
When we tend to our feet and view them as part of the whole, we can actually have a wider affect on our body and overall health. Many of you may have heard of reflexology – the Oxford dictionary describes it as ‘a system of massage used to relieve tension and treat illness, based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head linked to every part of the body.’
Try the above techniques and refer to this handy diagram, seeing where (if there are any) areas of tension in your feet. When I’m anxious, particularly, my right arch to the middle of my foot gets sore which seems to correspond with the small intestine – stomach knots. A nice one i also like to try is the rise between my second and third toe on my right foot – my trapezius. It’s lovely and soothing and helps me unwind after a long day.
Why not show your feet some love tonight, angels? Give these techniques a go and let me know what you think on your socials of choice – @yourjaiyoga on insta.