Relaxing Foot Massage
You've had a long day and your feet are hot, itchy and aching.  You can try soaking them in a little salt water, but what you really need is a relaxing foot massage.

The humble feet are the hardest working, but most often overlooked areas of the body.  Spending their days trapped within stuffy socks and tight shoes, your feet rarely have the chance to be out in the open.  As a result, small pains and twinges of discomfort go unheeded.  It's no doubt that your feet deserve the royal treatment of a relaxing foot massage.

What is Foot Massage?
The theory of foot massage is plain and simple, but the practice is far more complex than some other therapeutic techniques.   Foot massage is commonly associated with the concept of reflexology.  However, this type of pressure therapy involves applying a focused pressure to particular points in the foot, thus relieving any sources or forms of discomfort.  It is important to note, however, that foot massage is not the same as foot reflexology.  In reflexology, some of the benefits happen automatically by virtue of massaging the feet.  Foot massage, on the other hand, is done with the sole intention of making tired feet feel better.

Give a Foot Massage
Foot massage techniques do not generally claim to have any documented medical benefits.  Nevertheless, when the relaxing foot massage is done properly, the receiver can usually walk away with a feeling of peace and well-being. 

To begin with, it is very important to make sure that you have the right supplies to perform a foot massage.  You will typically need two or three big towels, as well as some form of lubricant.  For many, a rich cream works better than hand lotions or oil for tackling tough calluses and the hardened skin of the feet.  Of course, if you don't have a rich cream, go ahead and use whatever oil or lotion you have available.  It will feel every bit as wonderful.  Use as much lubricant as you need; but not so much as to make the massage slippery and uncomfortable for the recipient.

Thoroughly wash the feet of the receiver, and anoint the feet with lubricating skin lotion, cream or oils.  Begin rubbing the sole of the foot with your thumbs.  This can be done by simply working your thumbs in a circular motion all the way from the heel to the base of the toes.  It's important to remember, however, that most people are sensitive and ticklish on their feet.  If this is the case, reassure the receiver that you will use firm, slow strokes rather than quick and light.  Make him or her as comfortable if possible.

Take each toe individually and place it between your forefinger and thumb.  Gently manipulate each toe, and give it a slight tug at the end.  Then, gently press your fingers into the foot, all along the sole.  To end the foot massage, provide a relaxing feeling by gently running your fingers along the top of the foot to provide a relaxing feeling.   And then, repeat the process on the other foot.

A relaxing foot massage is a rare treat.  Whether doing it yourself as a special favor to your partner, or treating yourself at a salon, few sensations are as simple yet exhilarating as a relaxing foot massage.