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Giving A Foot Massage

Few things are more relaxing than a good foot massage. Weary feet and the whole body instantly become refreshed. The sole of the foot contains thousands of nerve endings and by massaging these you can stimulate the entire body. Each foot has 28 separate bones and an intricate design of muscles. Leonardo da Vinci referred to the foot as “the greatest engineering device in the world.”

Kneel at the person’s feet and work first on one foot at a time.  You need very little massage oil (or hand lotion.) If the person has ticklish feet massage very firmly at first. Ticklishness seems to be linked to tension, so if you return to the feet after a hand or leg massage the feet may no longer to ticklish.


Start the massage by stroking the foot to get it used to your touch. Sandwich it between your hands and stroke firmly with both hands from the toes toward the body.

When you reach the ankles swing your hands around and return to the toes with a light stroke. This is a warming movement and is ideal for anyone who suffers from cold feet. Repeat at least four times.


Support the foot with your fingers underneath it and place your thumbs on top at the base of the toes. Stroke up the foot with your thumbs, fanning out to the sides and gliding back to the toes.

Now stroke with your thumbs working alternatively. Stroke up with one thumb as the other glides back down the side. The movement can be a little longer than before, reaching up to the ankles.


Loosen and warm the entire area by wiggling the toes. Sandwich the foot just above the toes and rotate your hands. Massage each toe individually. Gently squeeze and roll it all over, then gently pull the toe towards you.


Support the foot with both hands, with your fingers underneath and your thumbs on top. Stroke in each furrow between the tendons, one thumb following the other.  (The tendons are located on top of the foot and extend into each toe). Run your thumbs up the foot toward the ankle, doing about four strokes in each furrow. 

There are many more advanced techniques you can learn if the receiver enjoys foot massage.

As you are coming to the end of the foot massage stroke the whole foot to calm it down. Stroke with both hands up toward the ankle as you did in the beginning, then glide lightly (but don’t tickle) back down.  Finish by hold the foot for a few seconds, and then gently slide your hands off the end of the toes.

The Final Touch

When you finish the massage, lift your hands always from the feet very gently and slowly. This sequence leaves the foot feeling cared for and soothed.

Keep in mind none of these movements should ever feel painful to the person receiving the massage. Use these same techniques and pamper yourself to a foot massage without paying anyone.

See Hand Massage and learn how to give a soothing hand massage.

Written by one of our staff Dave Otis, LMT - licensed massage therapist and spouse of Amy our founder.

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