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Benefits, Side Effects, and What to Expect

Foot Massage

Our feet are our constant guides, consistently in motion and banging against the floor as we walk and move through our day. This ever-abiding pressure that we apply to our legs is one of the core reasons that our first instinct, once we return from a long day out, is to put our feet up and relax.

Unfortunately, sometimes the footstool or center table in our living room isn’t enough to do the trick. In some cases, our feet need us to go one step further to get them back into optimal shape, and this is where the foot massage comes in.

What is Foot Massage?

A foot massage is a common technique that involves a practitioner applying pressure to the thousands of nerves scattered across our feet to help provide healing and promote physical change.

While humans have likely been dishing out foot massages for as long as we have walked, most massages today can trace their roots back to the reflexology and shiatsu discipline. These traditions center around the idea that different areas of the feet connect to different organs. So, during a foot massage, you can expect your therapist to follow this reflexology technique religiously by kneading and rubbing against your foot to help spread healing and relaxation throughout your body.

Foot Massage only?

When glancing through a typical massage menu, you may find foot massage and believe that’s only you are getting. Although this is a case for some massage spots, others will automatically include at least a 5 minute upper back, neck and shoulder massage at the end of the foot massage session. Likewise, you’re likely to get calf massage as well during a regular foot massage. If you want the therapist to focus on your feet exclusively, make sure to let them know. 

Benefits of
foot massage

Foot massage doesn’t just feel amazing due to all the nerve ending in the feet, but it also provides proven health benefits. 

Improves Circulation

While shoes have remained one of the most critical inventions of our time, they often choke our feet. This suffocation stops blood from flowing freely into our legs and gifts us that ever-annoying tingling feeling in our toes. Once the underside of our legs begins to feel like we are stepping on a bunch of pins and needles, it is often a good sign that blood is not flowing regularly into that area.

Fortunately, reflexologies are one of the best ways to battle these feelings of discomfort in our feet. During this massage, the therapist consistently applies pressure to the bottom of the legs, helping move blood from congested areas into spaces that are struggling for blood, like our toes.

A study from 2020 also confirmed this long-term belief that foot massages could help improve circulation by studying the impacts of this technique on over 25 patients[i]. The reports from the research were overwhelmingly positive, with most patients experiencing an increase in circulation after a single foot massage treatment.

It Increases Relaxation

One of the core things to remember about the foot massage is that it centers itself around the idea that by applying pressure to the feet, you can promote relaxation throughout the body. So, when a massage therapist kneads against the base of your feet to help promote tranquility, other bits of your body will also latch onto this calming sensation.

The best way to think about this relationship between our feet and body organs is to picture the domino effect. If our feet are calm and relaxed, the rest of our body will also feel calm and relaxed. On the other hand, when our feet are uncomfortable and tired, we will also feel uncomfortable and tired. This ability to spread relaxation throughout the body by pushing against the feet is one of the key reasons foot massages have remained one of the most popular treatments in the world.

In 2002, a Brighton University study tested the idea that foot massages could affect our relaxation by studying the calmness level of two groups of patients. This research concluded that foot massages could truly help us relax and reduce our stress, as it showed that patients who received this treatment were likelier to feel calmer than those who did not[ii].

How to prepare for foot massage

Unlike several other massage forms, you do not need to follow any intensive preparation practices before having a foot massage. However, to ensure that your session is as effective as possible, we recommend that you:

  • Only wear loose-fitting clothing. This free dressing style will help you remain relaxed throughout the massage
  • Have a light meal or snack before the session to ensure you do not get too hungry
back and shoulder massage

What to expect at foot massage

One of the top benefits of a foot massage is that it is tremendously easy to set up. Once you get into the session, your practitioner will ask you to take off any socks or shoes you have on, and then they can begin your massage.

In most cases, your massage therapist will carry out this treatment using only their hands. However, it is not uncommon to head into a foot massage and meet a therapist that employs a mix of essential oils, rollers, and a warm foot bath to help boost the experience.

This variation in foot massage styles is one of the core reasons we always recommend asking your practitioner what materials they will use before tying down a date with a spa. If you are not comfortable with rollers or essential oils, be sure to speak to them beforehand so they can match your preferences.


Potential risks
and side effects of foot massage

In most cases, you should have no problems diving into a spa and booking a foot massage. However, a few people often report having mild side effects after this treatment, such as:

These side effects are a common offshoot of foot massages and are often a great sign that your body is responding positively to the treatment. However, you should not hesitate to speak to your spa or doctor if any of these side effects last more than two days.

Best Foot Massage Spots in Chiang Mai?

The mountainous Chiang Mai region is famous for its massage spots and spas. If you find yourself in this province and require a foot massage, don’t hesitate to check out one of these centers:

herbal hot compress massage

Zira Spa

The Zira Spa is a well-renowned massage center with roots that stretch as far back as the formation of Chiang Mai itself, making it one of the oldest spas in the region. Throughout the years, this spa gained popularity by combining ancient Thai styles with Western themes, giving it a blend that has attracted people from across the globe.

Today, the Zira Spa is famous for a wide range of treatments, such as the traditional Thai massage and its foot reflexologies with a herbal ball. This massage generally lasts about 90 minutes, so be sure to block out enough time on your calendar.

Peak Spa

If you prefer contemporary treatments, there are a few better places to try than the Peak Spa in Chiang Mai. This beauty salon is located in the heart of the Chiang Mai district and offers various packages and deals that should help you get the most value out of your money. Peak Spa also has a variety of services, such as pick-up and drop-off at your hotel or resort.

This center offers several massage treatments, including a fabulous foot massage that will help you relax and relieve any pain you may be feeling. The massage therapists have tremendous experience in dishing out foot massages, so don’t hesitate to contact them if you have any questions.

herbal hot compress massage

Srimantra Spa

One of the first things that draw you in about the Srimantra Spa is its unique design. The creators of this center designed it in the form of a Lanna cave, standing as a great callback to ancient times. However, this spa is everything but outdated as it makes use of advanced treatments to help deliver an unforgettable experience.

If you are in Chiang Mai and are looking for a unique experience to take home with you, don’t hesitate to try out Srimantra’s foot massage. This treatment will have you walking out of the cave feeling relaxed and ready to take on the rest of your day.


If you have been struggling with pain in your feet or body and want to try a non-intensive treatment, then there are only a handful of options better than foot massages. This technique can help improve circulation, reduce pain, and promote feelings of relaxation throughout the body. Find the best foot massage in Chiang Mai for you, directly at Massage Scanner.  

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