Preparation for the foot massage
The person being treated should be sat comfortably either in a massage chair, or on a sofa. Place both their feet out in front of them onto a small foot stool. There are specialist reflexology massage foot stools available, but a general foot stall is fine. If it’s part of the home furniture, just drape a towel over it to keep off the oil. Use a second foot stall to sit on yourself while carrying out the massage.
Begin by washing the person’s feet in a bowl of water. This clears away any dirt and sweat. Rub balm onto one foot and calf then wrap it in a towel This helps to soothe and loosen the muscles while the other foot is being massaged.
Starting the massage
Take a few drops of oil and for a couple of minutes give a general soft foot massage. This helps to relax the muscles and joints. During this time you should get a feel for the condition of somebody’s foot. Is it loose and floppy – a sign or loose and weak ankle ligaments? Or is it tight in places – a sign that is overworked. Gently move the ankle in all directions around the joint, side to side, front to back, and round. This stretches and strengthens the muscles in the ankle.
Most people are tight around here from walking, standing or driving. Hold the foot by the ankle, and stretch the top of the foot by pushing the toes down. Then push the foot back to stretch the calf. This will loosen things up and make the massage easier. As your doing a soft ‘foot rub’ and stretching, use your fingers to feel around the foot for areas of tension and knots. These are the areas to work on firstly with thumbs,
then with a massage stick.
The key to Thai massage is stretching and applying pressure. Sometimes that pressure will hurt. That’s normal if the muscles are sore, tender or tight. Generally, no pain is no gain, so to actually ‘fix’ the foot and remove the knots, a massage will have to cause a little discomfort. Many experienced masseuses will be able to unlock the tension, smoothly without causing too much discomfort, but this takes practice and a
general knowledge of the make up the bones in the foot.
The type of pain should be one that can be coped with. If somebody has a sharp shooting pain, it could be related to a nerve or damaged bone. In that case, it’s best to do just a very light, gentle massage and send them to a doctor. In general though, a Thai foot massage should be a little but painful to get the full rewards
The power in the pressing motion used in a Thai foot massage comes from the thumbs. More specifically, the power comes from the ball of the palm and the thumb should be used like a lever, staying relaxed with a right angle bend at the top of the thumb.
The most effective way is to press in firmly but slowly, hold and release slowly. This should take up to 5 seconds. Don’t rush it. Practice on the soft fleshy part of your own palm with your own thumb. It is neither effective or comfortable to press rapidly and quickly. Be slow, strong and
firm with your thumbs. Try practising on a foam tennis ball. Push in slowly, hold for a second and release coming back up slowly. Over and again in a rythm. Use this motion across the foot and feel for where the area is tense. Press initially with the thumb, then use the stick.
- Run the thumbs from the toes across the top of the foot up to the ankle, round the back of the ankle and to the heel. Repeat 5 times apply firm pressure Lift up the foot and run the thumbs from the heel to the toes. Start on the outside of the foot and move inwards. Repeat five times on each line going up to each toe. 25 times total. Begin at the little tow and work down in a line to the heel, pushing in, holing and
slowly releasing five times. Repeat from each toe down again to the heel and back up. Lay the leg flat and press the shin muscle from the ankle to the shin. Make sure not to go too close to the shin. If the muscle is particular tight, use the palm of even elbow to press slowly and release. This all-over foot massage will stimulate ALL of the pressure points for the organs. It touches on all of them, and if done correctly is highly effective.
- Give a gentle all over foot rub again to loosen everything up. Be soft with the hands and this will also help to take away any of the pain and be
Using the Thai massage stick
As we mentioned before, the wooden Thai foot massage reflexology stick is useful for exerting a great amount of pressure on a limited area. It’s also great for using in a ‘scraping’ motion in the same way that the thumb was in the first half of the routine. Use the Thai foot massage reflexology chart to see which points of the foot relate to which organs.
Begin the work with the stick by pushing it into the fleshy side of the big toe and holding and releasing. On the reflexology chart this part corresponds to the neck, brain and brain stem. Again, the pushing motion should last for five seconds. Now move across and push down vertically with the stick on the very tips of each toes. These pressure points are for the brain and head. Hold for five seconds. Now move to the balls of each toes. On the reflexology chart you will see that the middle of the big toe – a soft, fleshy area – is linked to the pituitary gland. Press in and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat on each toe. Use the reflexology chart to move down from the toes. press into each area relating to
the major organs – the heart, chest and lungs and hold for seconds.
As you become used to the feeling of the foot, you’ll notice where bones, muscles and tendons are. You’ll also begin to feel where they are tight or where there are knots. The knots feel a lot like small balls, bubbles and lumps. Some people in the East believe that these are also toxins that have accumulated and need to be broken, Whatever they are, they can be removed. Keep on working on areas where these blockages have happened by pressing with the stick. The stick can also be used to scrape them away. Spend at least five minutes concentrating on one part of the foot where there is a problem. The person receiving the massage may even tell you where it hurts, or is
tight, and ask for that area to be worked on.
Just like before, finish with a soft, relaxing massage across the whole of the foot, and lower calf and shin just to loosen up muscles and tensions. Now unwrap the other foot from the towel and place on the stool. The foot that has just bee massaged, wrap in another towel and place on the floor or on the stool.
Make sure that both feet have been unwrapped from the towel and that the person receiving the massage is comfortable. Always offer a glass of water, and herbal Thai tea, as this helps to flush out any toxins from the body.