When most people think of a foot massage they are likely to imagine a relaxing reflexology session or a partner massaging your feet after a busy day. Under normal circumstances, most massage helps to melt away physical and mental stress and is pleasurable and calming. But have you ever thought about the disadvantages of foot massage?
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Can a Foot Massage Be Harmful?
The fact is that whether you are getting a massage from a reflexologist, masseuse or an electric foot massager there are always going to be some people for whom foot massages might not be appropriate. If you have health complications or are unsure about your reflexology treatment practitioner then it makes sense to do your research first before you allow someone to start massaging points on your feet or legs.
Reflexology therapy helps many people but it can also cause problems in the wrong hands so what should you look out for?
Disadvantages of Reflexology and Foot Massages
For many people having a foot massage has many health benefits such as improving blood circulation, improving skin tone, helping to reduce pains in the body even helping improve digestion functioning. Yet for every person who finds a benefit from the experience another may experience serious problems.
Here are some of the main disadvantages of foot massage so that you can decide whether you want your reflexology points pushed or prodded or whether you should give it a miss.
Inexperienced Foot Massage Therapist
One of the most obvious problems is that reflexology therapy and foot massage is always better when you have a qualified person working on your feet and legs.
Knowing the exact reflexology points that should be manipulated not only improves your enjoyment and relaxation but has health benefits as well. Inexperienced practitioners or friends or family members are obviously much less aware of the pressure points situated on your feet meaning it is easy for them to hit the wrong spot when applying pressure and causing you discomfort.
Speaking from experience not all foot massages are great. Stimulating reflexology pressure points isn’t always comfortable for some people as I found out when I nearly jumped out of a massage chair during one massage session.
A personal foot massage or foot massagers are not always relaxing especially if you have sensitive spots on your feet. There are so many nerve endings in your feet that it only takes a few wrong movements to stop your pleasurable foot massage from becoming agony.
You certainly might also want to think twice if you have any foot injuries before getting a massage. Bruising, muscle pain or inflammation means that any massages or reflexology technique could make things worse.
You should also be careful if you have knee pain or ankle problems as moving and manipulating your foot often creates pain elsewhere. Reflexology works under normal circumstances but it makes no sense to use it until you have recovered from any foot injuries.
Whilst we have talked about the mechanical aspects of the foot we must not ignore the fact that skin disorders can also be a problem when it comes to massages.
There are many skin problems such as psoriasis or dermatitis that can flare up if you are using certain products on your feet. Where possible try and make sure that you always check any oils, lotions or products before getting them massaged into the skin on your feet.
Try and use organic natural products where possible to minimise the risk of problems and be aware that foot massage could be a problem for you if you do have any skin disorders.
First Honey Manuka Foot Cream is a great example of a product that doesn’t use unnatural ingredients and is kind to your feet.
If you have allergies then it is also important that you take some care about the products that you are putting on your feet.
The generic products a typical masseuse or reflexologist uses may not be suitable for your body or immune system. Before agreeing to a massage take some time to get to know the products that are going to be used on our feet and if they aren’t suitable then provide some of your own.
Pressing The Wrong Pressure Points
There isn’t just one pressure point on your feet when it comes to reflexology therapy but 15 areas that correspond to different parts of the body. A skilled practitioner will know that stimulating pressure points in certain areas will have benefits to reduce nasal pain and sinus congestion or help a sleeping disorder or menstrual disorders.
Applying pressure to the wrong points, however, can have the opposite impact and impact areas in the body that you didn’t want to interfere with. This is why if you have certain health issues it makes more sense to see a fully qualified practitioner rather than an amateur.
A foot reflexology chart can help you to see the pressure points in the foot and what parts of the body they relate to.
We need to also talk about foot fungus and how that is going to impact any foot massage. Problems such as Athlete’s foot are contagious and can be easily spread from person to person. Taking care of the foot fungus is important before you agree to a foot massage.
Plus no masseuse or reflexologist is going to want to massage feet that are flaking and unsightly.
Make sure you take the time to resolve the problem with the foot fungus first with a product such as Lotrimin and only then think about getting somebody to massage your feet.
Pregnancy Foot Massages
The disadvantages of food massage are also important to consider if the person you are seeing is pregnant. Certain massage techniques or stimulating certain pressure points can induce labour.
If you want to be safe then it makes sense to avoid foot massages if you are expecting. Alternatively, if you can’t do without one make sure you are incredibly fussy about the practitioner who you are letting near your feet.
The human body is a complex thing and in the wrong hand’s certain manipulation techniques can cause problems so it makes sense to avoid them if you can.
Cancer and Foot Massage
Similarly, if the person who is having the massage has cancer then it also makes sense for only the most experienced reflexologists or practitioners to work with that person.
Reflexology benefits many people who have cancer by helping to reduce pain and nausea but it should not be used with everyone. Tumour sites or lymph nodes should never be massaged in a cancer patient for example in case there is a danger of causing cancer cells to spread elsewhere.
A very common problem with amateur masseurs is they don’t understand how to use essential oils correctly. In particular, using undiluted oils can cause the skin to burn or to react to the product.
If the person who is massaging your feet doesn’t know how to mix essential oils with carrier oils in the right quantity then stop them from going near you.
There are plenty of foot oil blends such as Ancient Greek Remedy which have already been created with the perfect balance of products so you can’t go wrong.
Avoiding Massages When You Are Injured
If you do have ankle pain from an injury or tendon or foot problems then a foot massage may do more harm than good.
Injuries need time to heal and for inflammation to reduce before you start to manipulate reflexology pressure points. If you are in any doubt talk to a podiatrist or a medical doctor about the time your body needs to heal before getting a massage. Remember doing something too soon many cause bigger problems and make your original injury worse.
Massaging With Too Much Pressure
Disadvantages of foot massage have to finally include the fact that the people giving them sometimes use too much pressure. Remember that the perception of pressure can vary from person to person. So what one person may love another may find excruciating.
It always makes sense to use gentle pressure on anyone who is having a reflexology session and slowly increase that pressure over time. Applying correct pressure can make the difference between a successful and enjoyable foot massage vs one that puts you off reflexology for life.
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