Foot Massage and Benefits Therapeutic massage has a long history in Thailand, with the techniques having passed unchanged down the centuries. Its roots can be traced back to ancient India where Jivaka Komarabhacca, a physician, who was a friend and contemporary of Lord Buddha, established the techniques, that are still used to this day, some 2,500 years ago. Knowledge of massage in Thailand has been handed down by word of mouth across the generations, from father to son, from mother to daughter and from teacher to pupil.
With the advent of a written alphabet, in the reign of King Ramkamhaeng the Great, Thai scholars began to prepare records of all aspects of Thai life and society, and the founding knowledge of what has become Thai massage was inscribed for future generations. Sadly, most of these ancient records were destroyed in 1776 when Thailand's illustrious capital of Ayuthaya was sacked by the Burmese invaders. What little that was left was literally graven in stone when King Rama III, wishing to preserve the ancient traditions, had the remaining texts inscribed on the walls of one of the best known of Bangkok's temples, called Wat Poh.(Wat Chetupon Wimolmangklaram Rajwora Mahawiharn).
Nowadays there are many different kinds of massage practised in Thailand, and of the most interesting of these is foot massage. The theory is simple but the practice is far more complex because the force applied by the fingers must be very carefully and precisely directed to a specific nerve on the foot. Each part of the foot is reputedly linked to another, often distant, part of the body, with influence extending not just to the muscles but also to the vital organs as well.
Learning the basic steps can help you to cure yourself should you have any injury or pain, either externally or within.
- Wash the feet thoroughly and adopt a comfortable position that allows you to reach all parts of your foot.
- Anoint the feet with a skin lotion for lubrication when carrying out the massage.
- Start to push firmly at the base of the 4th toe. The nerve in this location links directly to the heart. Pain when you push in this spot means that there is a problem with the heart and lengthy yet gentle massage will ease the pain and improve the health of the heart.
- Pressing at the base of the second toe will stimulate the nerve controlling the lungs and the entire bronchial system that are necessary for breathing.
- In between the first and second toes are the nerves that influence the head. If you have a headache, pressure between these toes will soon make the ache pass or may prevent headaches altogether.
- Relief of stress in the eyes will be gained by massaging between the third and fourth toes. This may not only relieve tired eye muscles but also improve clarity of vision.
- Stretching and pulling the big toe, on either side of the nail will relieve pain in the temples such as may be experienced with sinusitis.
- Rotary pressure in the ball of the foot will greatly ease the symptoms of stomachache, and also promotes healing of the kidneys, the bladder and other parts of the excretory system.
- Similar pressure applied to the front of the heel is therapeutic in problems of the genital glands of both men and women. It also has similar effects to 8 above
- Stretching the skin backwards beneath both sides of the ankle bone is beneficial to the reproductive tracts of both sexes.
- Pulling a knuckle backwards along the instep greatly eases pain in the spine, and may help to achieve better posture.
- Grasping the foot with both hands, so that the thumbs are between the tops of the first and second, and the fourth and fifth toes, and massaging with the thumb-tips from side to side will alleviate pain in the inner ear and in the chest.
- Take a firm hold of the foot, from the outside, with one hand, so that the knuckles of that hand are on top of the inner edge of the foot. Use massage by these and the knuckles of the other hand placed on the inner edge of the foot to stimulate the diaphragm.
- Place the thumbs of both hands beneath the heel, and the knuckles of the first finger just beneath the ankle bone. Rhythmically push with the knuckles for relief from sciatic pain and to stimulate the lymphatic system, responsible for clearing the body of bacteria and toxins.
- Taking a firm hold of the foot, raising it, and massaging the back of the calf with the free hand is effective in relieving muscle stress in that leg.
- With one hand holding the heel and the other enfolding the toes, rotate the foot, without causing pain, to gain an overall sense of relaxation, ease and well-being.