Last night I organically discovered that a simple foot massage could become a “mindfulness practice” to help my daughters deeply relax after a bath or shower. We were doing their post-shower ritual to play one of their now favorite games: “Guess the Letter/Shape on my Back.” And once we started playing the game, I started massaging my girls with lotion- on their arms, legs and feet. Almost immediately after I started rubbing their feet, I realized that their eyes started closing and they had a slight grin on their face. They looked like they had quickly entered a very relaxed, drowsy dream-like state.
I continued mindfully massaging their feet- rubbing each toe, the ball of their feet and then focused on the heels and achilles area in slow circular motions. And my 5-year old said…”Mommy this is so nice and relaxing.” I told the girls to close their eyes, and even struck our singing bowl in the midst of our massage session. My husband joked that I created a “zen spa” out of our bath-time ritual. But the girls thoroughly enjoyed every minute and opted to continue the massage instead of play for a bit longer before bed.
I was amazed at how quickly they were able to relax just from a simple foot massage, so of course today I read about foot massages and why they are such a powerful relaxation technique. And it turns out they are significantly beneficial to our mental (and physical) health. A foot massage can reduce stress hormones and reduce blood pressure. Specific areas of the foot correspond to different aspects of the body in reflexology or certain meridians/organs in Chinese Medicine, so massaging the foot sends strong signals to the brain to relax the entire body. We also carry all our weight on our feet throughout the day, and little kids especially are running around on their feet, so simply sending a bit of mindful love to our feet and staying off of them can improve circulation, helping support our blood and lymph systems to eliminate toxins.
I think we have discovered a new home practice that uses the power of “mindful touch” to help my littles deeply relax. An added benefit was that we really had some great bonding time together. There’s something very special and intimate about a massage and my girls really enjoyed having focused Mommy attention on them. I know it’s going to be an activity we do on a regular basis because they already asked this morning if we could do it again tonight.
Here’s a few posts from the Internet on the benefits of foot massages, and there are countless more.