Oct 14, 2010

Making the Most of Massage

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved and lived off of foot massages. Back then, I had an excuse. I was on my feet all the time because of ballet, which wreaked havoc on my toes and ankles. But now, I am up on my feet much much less as a result of POTS, however my feet and legs need massage now more than ever.

Massage is a form of passive exercise that stimulates circulation and nerve endings. It is also relaxing and can be therapeutic after an injury. I tried massage therapy on my upper body after my car accident. I had a few decent experiences and a few awful ones that left me in agonizing pain days after the massage. My body did not like deep tissue massage at the time. Everything was too sensitive after the accident. For me, it was all about finding the right massage therapist. I have tried five different massage therapists over the last couple years and have finally found the right one. She focuses on my feet and legs but will work on my neck, shoulders, arms and back if they are sore. At first she focused too much on my upper body while I was laying there with uncomfortably icy feet. Then it occurred to me: this is my massage, I am in control. So I spoke up for myself and explained that I had poor circulation in my feet so could she please spend more time concentrating on my legs and feet. And she was happy to comply. Amazingly, my feet usually stay warm the rest of the day following a massage. I only wish the noticeably warmer feet lasted longer than one day. Or better yet, I wish I could have a professional foot massage everyday!

The best thing about massage is, you don't necessarily have to have a trained and licensed massage therapist at your feet to reap the positive benefits of massage, which may include:
  • pain relief
  • improved sleep
  • reduced heart rate
  • improved circulation
  • reduced anxiety
In fact, most people can easily massage their own feet to improve circulation and reduce anxiety. I am making self-foot massage a mandatory part of my daily routine, just like brushing my teeth or hair. I encourage whoever is reading this to try it too!

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