Edited by: http://www.MassageNerd.com
There are two ways you can use your feet to deliver massage--in a table treatment or in a floor treatment. Today I'll focus on table work. Right up front, I'm just going to acknowledge that in some situations I understand that you are not allowed to use your feet in a massage. But for the majority of therapists who work in an environment where you primarily get to call the shots in how you deliver massage--TRY IT. Here's some really good reasons why...
Overall, people have more strength in their lower body than in their upper body, but we deliver massage with our upper body. Basically, this is like trying to walk on your hands. Delivering massage using all the power of your lower body is effortless compared to using your upper body.
The unique tools of the foot, including the toes, arch, ball of the foot, and heel, are simply more of your body's built in "power tools." Remember how sensitive feet are? You've been tickled, right? Just as an example, the big toe and ball of your foot are fantastic for getting into the hip and lumbar, while the heels feel amazing delivering pressure along the erectors.
You've probably heard me say it before, but I'll say it here again...gravity, in the case of massage at least, is your FRIEND. In both table and floor treatments, although particularly on the floor, using your feet to deliver pressure is in synch with the laws of gravity. Add that together with using your body weight and momentum, and you've got a magic combination that can add years to your practice.
So now you might be saying, "ok, but HOW do I use my feet?" Here's a couple of basic moves for the table, and you can take a look at the video to see how it's done.
1. Lower your table to the same height or lower than the chair, stool, or bench that you are using.
2. Check for stability of your chair or stool. Make sure wheels are locked (or preferably, use a device that has NO wheels), that you won't swivel, and you can also use a rope or strap for extra security if you don't have a BodySaver Massage Bench like the one in the video.
3. Start at the head of the table with your client in prone position.
4. Using the arches of your feet, compress the traps both together and with alternating pressure.
5. Use alternating heel slides along the rhomboids.
6. Arch effleurage the traps and rhomboids. Experiment with using every aspect of the foot.
Is using your feet in a massage for every therapist? No. There is no one size fits all massage technique or magic pill. Experiment with something new in the New Year, and give your feet a chance to prove themselves. After all, it's good for you, your client, and as my business manager points out-it is a great way to make pedicures tax deductible.