I have a confession to make - I don't like massaging my feet with my hands - I can't reach my right foot comfortably. So here we are, foot massage and stretches without having to reach your feet.
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For these stretches you need a
Start with standing, both legs shoulder width apart. Unlock your knees, lift up your chest, and find a comfortable stance. Notice how your feet touch the floor - how is the weight distributed: more on the front or back, both sides evenly; which part of your feet touches the floor, what can you feel, do you feel stable ... Make a mental note.
The first exercise involves a tennis ball and a carpet or yoga matt so that the ball does not roll away. As an assessment bend forwards as if your hands want to touch the floor, legs straight but knees unlocked. Make a note how far you can reach. Come back up. Roll a tennis ball under your feet. Spend time on each foot, roll the arches, the heel, the ball of your foot. You can stand, use it as a balance exercise or hold on, or you can sit down. You can vary the pressure, it should be comfortable and feel good. After a couple of minutes on each foot, bend forwards again and notice how far you can go down now. You might be able to reach a little further. The reason for that is that the sole of the foot is part of a chain of muscles at the back of the body. This also works the other way - stretching the back of the body will also help your feet. So will moving your ankles. You might remember the slow pumping action of your feet as thrombosis prophylaxis (prevention) when you have been immobilised. Still good to do when you are spending too much time in front of a screen.
A further stretch for the calf, and thus the sole of the foot, is to stand with your legs a couple of steps apart, lean forward and bend into your front leg while keeping the back leg straight. Experiment with the position of your back foot, you will stretch different parts of the leg depending on how far it is turned out. Do the other leg.
Put your towel on the floor with some creases in it. Grab it with your toes, and move it towards you, bit by bit. You can also lift it up.
A fantastic stretch for (the prevention of) plantar fasciitis (pain
in the heel and/or arch of foot, worse first thing in the morning)
involves the stairs, I would recommend you use the bottom step.
Stretching the front of the lower leg and ankle will also help the top of the foot.
Stand with your back towards a sofa of a chair with a pillow on
the edge of it. Have something to hold onto in front. Place the
top of one foot on the sofa/chair behind you. Don't move your
pelvis, keep it straight throughout. Now bend your supporting leg
until you feel a stretch, hold on if needed. Move in and out of
the stretch. If your balance is excellent, you can raise your
arms over your head. This is two for the time of of one, one leg
stretches, the other is strengthened, and it engages your core -
While you are standing place the top of your toes of one foot on
a soft surface on the floor. You might want to move your foot
slightly so that all toes get a stretch. To increase the stretch,
bend your standing leg.
it and keep your legs straight but unlocked. Put the ball of one foot
on the edge of the step and let the heel sink down. Hold the stretch for
at least twelve seconds and breathe. For strengthening your feet you
can lift up and go onto your toes, and then back down again. Switch over
to the other foot. You can also stretch both feet at the same time.
You can "scrape" the arch of your foot on the stairs to release to fascia on the sole of your foot. Do this very slowly and deliberately. Pause where you feel tenderness, and wait. Perhaps riggle your toes after a little while.
To finish, stand with both feet shoulder width apart, and notice how you feel now. Is there any difference?
Perhaps conclude this session
with a few belly breaths and a thank you to the earth that keeps
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- Myofascial Release (MFR) - Saving Hands massage -
- Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® - ATMAT -
- Seated Acupressure - Indian Head Massage - Pulsing - Reiki -
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