Foot massage can often be underrated. Though there are many of you who no doubt love a foot massage, there are also many people out there who could “take it or leave it”. I used to be one of those people! With this tutorial you can likely change the way they feel about a foot massage 😉 Give them the best foot massage they’ve ever had, from the comfort of your own home.
In the video tutorial below, I’ll take you through 2 main positions and 6 different techniques! The main rule that we follow in all massage practice is to go slowly! Use the pace of the video as a reference guide for your pace – and know that in the video I’m moving “fast”! So you can slow it down even more as home. Here are some helpful tips and hints to add more detail to the video:
With your partner lying down on their back:
Palming the Instep:
Make sure the feet are set wide enough apart to encourage external rotation of the femur. As you apply weight, make sure that their knee doesn’t bend! When you use thumbs, please use them sparingly and in a way that keeps them happy. If your thumbs start to get sore or tired, move on from thumbing to something else.
Even though this may make any dancers out there cringe, this “sickled” ankle position is actually quite natural and normal for us to be in. Go slowly and you’ll notice that the whole leg moves with you into internal rotation. This means that you’re having an influence on far more than just the foot and ankle – it’s going all the way up into the hip and lumbar region.
This one will be more familiar to dancers, and it works on different structures and actions to the ‘foot fold’. It’s important to push the heels up the mat before taking the toes towards the floor/mat.
Try and position the ball of the foot directly above the heel. The toes come into extension as a result of positioning your hands on the ball of the foot, and then when you apply a little bit of weight you’ll be stretching the plantar connective tissue. This can quickly become intense, so as always, go nice and slowly.
With your partner lying face-down:
Take the time to set the feet up correctly (as shown in the video) to ensure safety! Once they’re positioned and supported well, use the ball of your foot to apply body weight. The only place that is “out-of-bounds” for direct pressure is their heel. You’ll also want to be cautious around the first metatarsophalangeal joint (MPJ), or the knuckle joint of the big toe, especially if someone has a bunion. Apply your pressure gradually, knowing that you can generally end up with a decent amount of your body weight applied. Pause with your pressure, and with each repetition change position and angle slightly.
It can be a little tricky to get the glide here – but remember “practice reduces the imperfection” 😉 Think about adding a little more weight if you’re finding your glide is “choppy” instead of smooth. And of course, go slowly! Be aware that the forearm can be a really strong massage tool, so communicate with your partner about the intensity and adjust accordingly.
Before diving right into practicing, it’s important to make the commitment right now to communicate generously and kindly with one another before, during and after this foot massage 🙂 If you’re getting the massage, and you’d like a change in pressure, ask for what you’d like without “ouches” or “don’ts” (if possible). If you’re giving the massage, listen generously and be open to adapting to the exact pressure your partner is requesting, regardless of how detailed they’re being. Go slowly and you should avoid all sudden “ouches”. In some ways it can be helpful to emulate the way you’d communicate with a stranger or new acquaintance (for some reason we’re more attentive, better listeners and kinder communicators with the people we know less about).
Without further ado ~
Want more? Feet sore? We’ve put together a special tutorial system that takes you through a full rehabilitation program to help get you back to optimal foot-health. Check out the details here.