Foot massage techniques and benefits

Foot massage tips

There is no one way to carry out a foot massage. Different people prefer different techniques. A person may want to test many techniques and learn what feels good for them or someone else.

Before getting started:

  • soak the feet in warm water, with or without a few drops of diluted essential oil
  • pat the feet dry with a towel
  • rest the feet on the towel
  • spread massage oil over the foot, up to the ankle

Here are some general foot massage tips to use as a guide:

  • Pay attention to parts that feel sore: Work on sore areas for longer, with as much or as little pressure as feels comfortable.
  • Pay attention to parts that feel good: If it is enjoyable, a person can continue.
  • Avoid injuring the thumbs: Do not use so much pressure that the thumbs start to hurt. Use the strength of body weight, not muscles in thumbs, to apply pressure.
  • Avoid using pressure that is too light, as this may tickle.
  • Focus on one foot at a time.

Risks and considerations

Before starting a foot massage, check the feet for:

  • cuts
  • bandages
  • athlete’s foot

Other preexisting foot conditions, such as diabetic neuropathy, may also affect whether or not a person should have a foot massage. Certain conditions may make parts of the foot sensitive to pressure.

Pregnant women and those at risk for blood clots should seek medical advice before having a massage of the lower legs.


Foot massage is an accessible home treatment for tense or aching feet. The practice may also help a person relax and unwind, supporting their overall sense of well-being.

The 12 techniques in this article are a basic introduction to foot massage. People can seek further instruction from professionals or see a massage therapist.

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