Follow our simple steps for the ultimate stress-busting foot massage, with some expert reflexology tips thrown in, to soothe your soles and your soul.
Step 1: Wind down
‘Use some of your usual sleep cues to create the right environment: wear pyjamas, dim the lights, light a candle, play chilled music, scatter crystals and have blankets, duvets and pillows around you,” suggests reflexologist, Jenny Sumner. The sweet but grounding Indian rose and almond oil in The Ritual of Ayurveda Scented Candle makes a great self-care scent.
Step 2: Foot bathing
It’s not essential to massage freshly washed feet but by bathing them in a bowl of warm water first you kickstart the relaxation process. “It can also help relax the muscles and make reflex points easier to find,” says Jenny.
Step 3: Massage away
To get started, there are no rules when it comes to what type of massage strokes you use. Jenny recommends just rubbing each foot however feels best for a few minutes. And what type of product you use is also down to personal preference. If you have sweaty feet then a powder - such as cornflour - works well. Otherwise a balm that creates a bit of slip but isn't greasy, such as The Ritual of Jing Foot Balm, is perfect.
Step 4: The calming reflex
Once your feet are feeling relaxed and supple, you can start to target specific reflexology points. After each one, return to massaging your feet all over for a minute or so. A good place to start is the solar plexus. “This is the energetic reflex,” explains Jenny “so by spending time on this it helps to ground and calm things down. To find it, draw a line down from your third toe to the middle of the foot - it’s just under the metatarsal muscles. You might notice the colour of the skin is slightly darker. Take a deep breath and circle this point with your finger for five seconds, repeating four times.”
Step 5: The sleepy reflex
“There are multiple points on your big toe that help with sleep as they link to glands that produce melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle,” says Jenny. “Be really thorough and go over every part of it several times.” Then give your entire foot a rub, to create a feeling of harmony.
Step 6: The relaxation reflex
“The spine reflex runs from the top of the big toe to the heal on the inner side of the foot,” says Jenny. “Trace just under the bone, all the way along, with a light pressure. This activation will engage the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls our ability to relax so you need to show it some love!”
Step 7: Sleep time
Spend around 10 minutes on your massage, ensuring both feet get equal attention. Then climb into bed feeling fully relaxed and ready for a great night’s sleep.