We all love fall, but winter? That can be a little less loved. As the temperatures continue to drop, we grow accustomed to wearing more socks and shoes to protect our feet from the cold. Although it may not be the “season” for manicures and pedicures, I would urge you to consider regular services. While cleaned up, painted nails is always a plus, manicures and pedicures can offer another huge benefit on top of the aesthetics. Depending on the service you’re getting, you’ll also get a hand and arm massage or a foot and calf massage. Obviously, most people know that getting a massage feels good, but beyond the sense of relief after getting one, many might not know all the benefits.
Focusing on the hands and feet, there are many ways that a massage can help improve your health and well being. If you think about it, your hands and feet are almost always working! Your feet help support you and bear your body weight whenever you’re upright, and your hands are your body’s tools. Whether it be texting, typing, cooking, or other things that we all do daily, your hands are always doing the work.
Just like most massage, hand and foot massages promote circulation of the blood and lymph. Pro tip: Good circulation means less cold hands and feet. And besides just an amazing feeling overall, regular massages have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Hand massages specifically could also help reduce hand pain as well as strengthen grip for people who suffer from arthritis or carpal tunnel. Massaging pressure points in the feet can even help alleviate small aches and pains around the whole body, such as headaches. Regular foot massages can also help reduce any swelling and relieve pain from flat feet or plantar fasciitis. Hand and foot massages can also relax you and even help you sleep better at night if you receive one before bed.
Not everyone has a significant other or a roommate at home to give them massages though, and your cat or dog probably won’t be very helpful here (it’s not easy to train your cat to knead on the specific tense parts of your body, trust me, I’ve tried). Thankfully, you can easily give yourself a simple hand or foot massage with either just your hands or with the help of a massage tool.
A Simple + Easy Self Hand Massage:
Get comfortable. It’s going to be hard to enjoy a hand massage when you’re sitting in an uncomfortable position, surrounded by distractions. Turn your phone on silent, fix your posture, and take a few deep breaths.
Start with your favorite hand lotion to reduce friction and add slip. It’s going to help your hands glide more smoothly against each other as well as add moisture that will get massaged into your skin. Aveda’s Hand Relief is always a good choice as it’s very creamy and moisturizing and the citrusy scent helps add to the relaxation.
Using your palm or the ball of your hand, massage up and down your forearm. Go over the entire forearm 2 or three times using a moderate amount of pressure. Remember to listen to your body, if the pressure you’re using hurts, take it down a notch.
Massage around your wrist in small light circles with your thumb and forefinger. Remember to keep the wrist that you’re massaging with straight to avoid strain and pain.
Moving on to the palm, massage starting from the bottom of the palm up to the base of each finger using either small circular motions or up and down motions. Use a deeper pressure where needed.
Using your thumb, press firmly into the center of your palm for a few seconds before releasing.
Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch softly in the area between each finger.
Switching over to the back of the hand, starting from the wrist, massage up the hand to the spaces between each knuckle. Use small circular motions or up and down here as well.
To massage the fingers, start at the base using your thumb and forefinger. Massage in small up and down motions, squeezing as you make your way to the tips of your fingers.
Repeat step 9 on each finger massaging the top and bottom of each finger.
Lastly, add an extra pinch at the tips of the fingers. The extra pinch helps with circulation to the nails and can help your nails grow!
A Simple + Easy Self Foot Massage:
Get comfortable. Again, to really enjoy your massage you should sit in a comfortable position, rest the foot you’re going to work on on a couch, a bed, or the opposite thigh, and get rid of distractions.
Use your favorite foot lotion. Aveda’s Foot Relief is really a godsend here. The salicylic acid in the lotion helps get rid of unwanted dead skin on the bottoms of the feet and the minty aroma adds to relaxation and gives a nice cooling effect.
Hold your foot firmly in one hand and rotate the ankle a few times in both directions to help loosen everything up and relax the foot.
Starting from the inner arch of the foot, massage with your thumbs in small circular motions upwards towards the base of the toes. Add extra pressure wherever it feels needed and focus on any areas that you feel a “crackling” feeling. Work your way up to the base of each toe and massage up and down all the way over to the outer side of the bottom of the foot.
(To avoid overworking your thumbs on these spots, switch to your knuckles if needed.)
Moving down to your heel, use your knuckles to press deep circles all around the heel. It’s easier to use your knuckles here as the skin is usually of the heel is usually thicker.
Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch the back of the ankle where the achilles tendon is, and massage upwards towards the calf.
Then massage circles into the inside and outside of the ankle using your thumbs.
Using your fingers in sliding up and down motions, massage the top of the foot from the ankle to the spaces between the knuckles, stopping to massage the spaces in between each toe as well.
Massage up each toe from the base using your thumb and forefinger in small circular motions, rolling each toe between your fingers, making sure to get the sides as well as the top and bottom.
Lastly, lightly pinch the tip of each toe to help stimulate circulation to the nails, to help build strong toenails to protect your toes.