On Valentine’s Day lavish gifts only go so far. On the road to true romance actions speak louder than words. Make your sweetheart swoon by performing the most complete, bliss-inducing, foot pampering massage ever using our 27 tips. A romantic foot massage makes the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for a man or a woman. A rejuvenating foot soak and an intimate foot massage works well as a prelude to the evening’s festivities, and is perfect for getting your honey in the mood for love after a long day at the office. You can also perform a foot massage as a soothing surprise after an evening on the town.
Before the Massage
1. Decide on the mood you are trying to achieve with the foot massage. A foot massage can be invigorating or relaxing; sensual or pain-relieving. Tailor the setting, materials, and techniques of the foot massage to achieve that end.
2. Put on music that suits the mood you are trying to achieve and the massage receiver’s preferences: e.g. earnest love ballads, classical concertos or something in-between.
3. Use creative lighting strategies to mark this particular foot massage as a special occasion. Candles are considered classically romantic, but strings of electric lights or tinted light bulbs may also produce the desired effect.
4. Select a suitable basin for soaking the feet prior to the massage. A foot soaking basin should be tall enough not to cramp the toes, wide enough to allow both feet to soak simultaneously, and deep enough to completely submerge the feet. The sides of an ideal foot basin would come up to the massage recipient’s ankles. Soaking the feet before giving a foot massage has several benefits including relaxing the foot muscles, softening the skin of the feet, and ensuring that the feet are clean and free from odor.
5. Prepare a space to soak the feet prior to beginning the massage. Use a large towel to cover the floor beneath and surrounding the foot basin so that dripping and splashing will not be a concern. Have a smaller towel on hand to dry the feet when the soaking is complete.
6. Seat the massage receiver in a comfortable position and begin to prepare the foot soak.
7. Use warm water for the foot soak along with an additive whose scent or sensation your loved one will enjoy. There are many different types of foot soaks that provide different health benefits or sensory experiences. Some common types of foot soak additives include Epsom salt, limes, tea tree oil, honey, mint leaves, rosemary sprigs, rose petals, chamomile tea bags, coffee, and aromatic essential oils (lavender is most popular).
8. Use a pumice bar to gently buff away dead skin and calluses from the bottoms of the feet. This is not only a spa style treatment to improve the appearance of feet, but it also feels good and makes the feet more sensitive to the sensation of a foot massage.
9. Dry the foot with a soft towel.
10. Position the foot in a reclined position, preferably on something soft like a pillow or a folded towel.
11. If the massage recipient is pregnant woman you might consider consulting her doctor before giving a foot massage. There’s a pressure point nestled between the ball of the foot and the heel that according to reflexologists is supposed to induce labor. Better safe than sorry. A calf massage may be a safer alternative.
During the Massage
12. Make sure the receiver isn’t locking their knees during the massage as this reduces circulation.
13. Gently rub foot cream into the foot; enough to reduce friction, but not so much that the foot becomes slippery.
14. Begin the massage by stretching the foot. Slowly push the top of the foot away from you (dorsiflexion) and pull the top toward you (plantarflexion).
15. Throughout the foot massage use a moderate amount of pressure. Too much pressure will cause discomfort, but too little pressure will trigger a tickle reflex.
16. Grasp the foot with both hands letting the sides of the foot rest in your palms.
17. Stroke the top of the foot with the thumbs moving from the toes to the ankle.
18. Switch position and stroke the bottom of the foot with the thumbs moving from the toe joints to the heel.
19. Knead the ball of the foot with your fist applying slow, firm pressure.
20. Beginning at the base of the big toe, make gently pinching motions downward with the thumbs along the tendon all the way down to the heel. Do the same to the other side of the foot starting at the little toe. This technique is called thumb walking or milking the foot.
21. Gentle grasp and tug on each toe individually, moving the toe in tiny circles.
22. Insert your finger between each toe and rub back and forth. Do this individually until all the areas between the toes have been massaged.
23. Stretch the ball of the foot and the base of the heel to release arch tension. Using to the palm of the hand press against the foot’s arch sliding from the ball of the foot to the heel and back again. Just be sure not to apply too much pressure.
24. Just for fun, consider trying foot reflexology techniques.
25. Complete the foot massage by rolling a cylindrical object up and down the feet to produce even, tension-relieving pressure. The Foot Wheel is designed for just this purpose, but you can also substitute a filled and sealed water bottle.
26. If desired, you can also augment the foot massage with a calf massage. Alternate kneading and stroking the calf muscles with both hands. For a deeper massage try using The Stick. It is particularly effectively for runners and other athlete’s experiencing lower body muscle cramps.
27. If you and your loved one will be spending the evening in, leave their feet feeling extra cozy by placing them in a pair of natural wool socks or sheepskin slippers. Footwear made from sheep’s fleece retains a small amount of lanolin (a natural moisturizer).
The Benefits of Massage
<>Improved blood circulation.
<>Relaxes muscles improving their range of motion
<>Increases endorphin levels, the hormones responsible for pain relief
<>Temporarily reduces overall body blood pressure
<>Enhances attention and alertness
<>Regular foot massages keep foot muscles limber and toned
<>Medical foot massage can decrease recovery time after a foot injury