There are many studies reporting the benefits of foot massage, reflexology, and acupressure. However, the quality of these studies varies widely, and until we have high-quality studies in large populations, it is difficult to say definitively what, if any, health benefits of foot manipulation.
Overall, it is generally accepted that these therapies offer some benefits and have few side effects. Researchers aren’t sure how these treatments work. Learn more about some of the conditions that can benefit from foot massage, reflexology and shiatsu.
The 6 Best Foot Massagers of 2022
Trying to heal a diabetic foot ulcer is often difficult and takes a lot of time. One study found that compressed air massage reduced the time it took to heal a diabetic foot ulcer.
The authors suggest that it may work by improving local circulation and that it has the potential to complement standard surgical and medical treatment of diabetic foot ulcers.
Massage, reflexology and acupressure have been used to complement traditional medical treatments for cancer patients.
Numerous studies have shown benefits such as reducing anxiety, pain intensity, nausea, vomiting and fatigue in patients with cancer.
It is not uncommon for patients to experience pain after surgery. In another study, foot and hand massage was performed on postoperative patients. The study found a decrease in pain scores, heart rate and breathing rate. It should be noted that during the study period, the massage was performed one to four hours after the participants took pain medication, so this may have affected the results.
Peripheral arterial disease is the hardening and narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to reduced blood flow. Acupressure has been shown to increase blood flow. A study of patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease (decreased blood flow to the lower legs) showed that acupressure increased blood flow to the lower legs.
If you have vascular disease, stress can cause damage to your blood vessels, so it may not be a safe treatment for some people.
Try a Natural Approach to Peripheral Arterial Disease
Sometimes reaching middle age can lead to a decline in some aspects of health. A study involving middle-aged women showed that self-reflexology reduced depression, perceived stress, and systolic blood pressure, and helped boost their immune systems.
Many physical and psychological changes occur during menopause. In a study that compared reflexology with foot massage, there was no difference in the benefits of the two in helping to relieve menopausal symptoms. Both reflexology and foot massage can help reduce anxiety, depression, hot flashes, and night sweats in menopausal women.
One study looked at the benefits of reflexology on blood pressure, cholesterol, and life satisfaction. They found that reflexology helped lower systolic blood pressure, but not diastolic blood pressure. Life satisfaction also improved significantly. Overall, blood cholesterol levels did not improve.
Why both systolic and diastolic blood pressure are important
People with leg amputations often suffer from phantom limb pain. A study looks at reflexology and its possible benefits for amputees. Research has found that foot and hand reflexology can help reduce the intensity and duration of phantom limb pain. This was a pilot study, so it was small, with only 10 participants.
Foot massage, reflexology and acupressure use different methods to apply pressure in a systematic manner to achieve therapeutic effects. There is no strong evidence that these techniques improve health, but many people are satisfied with the results. If you want to try it, get your doctor’s approval ahead of time and make sure you see a licensed professional. After treatment, you can decide if it makes you feel better and if you want to go back for additional treatment. Keep in mind that your health insurance may not cover the cost of these interventions and you may be out of pocket. However, check your policy – some health plans cover the cost of complementary treatments such as foot massage, reflexology and acupressure in some cases.
Reflexology for Osteoarthritis