Who doesn’t enjoy a good foot massage? There has been a marked focus on improving upon our health & wellness practices in recent years as more and more people look to ways that increase their quality of life using alternatives to traditional medicine. We have an older generation living longer raised on these methods that may not work for them anymore due to any variety of reasons, and a younger generation open to change and being proactive regarding healthcare rather than reactive.
Reasons behind the interest in alternative practices aside, while most methods are not scientifically proven practitioners and participants alike praise these approaches for their wellbeing. We should never undervalue the positive effects to taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally.
Reflexology is one such alternative method; a popular practice where certain techniques apply pressure to the feet that will in turn correspond to different areas of the body, creating health benefits.
Regular foot massages can benefit a person in many ways such as lowering stress, improving blood circulation (especially important if you have a sedentary lifestyle), decrease feelings of depression and anxiety, and pain relief (migraines, headaches, general foot pain, or specific ailments like plantar fasciitis, or spurs in the ankles and heels). Foot massage can also be an incredibly relaxing experience. While self-massage can work very well, getting yourself the best foot massager for your needs can be a great investment.
If unsure whether foot massage is safe for you, please check with your health care professional; it has been known to induce labor.
What Types of Foot Massage Are There?
- Shiatsu: Shiatsu means pressure in the form of thumbs, hands, elbows, knees or feet applied to pressure points on the body. It is a more intense form of massage.
- Ayurvedic: Ayurvedic massage incorporates aromatherapy, typically warm oils and / or herbs into the massage. Ayurvedic is not an intensive therapy and used for relaxation.
- Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy is used in a foot spa, such as you see in a nail salon when getting a pedicure. Hydrotherapy massage combines bubbles, jets, vibrations, and heat.
- Infrared: Infrared is the use of electromagnetic radiation to increase blood flow and relax the muscles in your feet.
Heat, kneading, compressions, and vibrations are all components that can also be incorporated into a foot massage.
Considerations When Deciding On The Best In Home Foot Massager
- Comfortability: Being comfortable is a huge part of a massage, otherwise it will be counterproductive. Some massagers may have contoured or cushioned surfaces as an added benefit.
- Customization: Do you want your massager to be adjustable and have lots of settings to choose from? Speed, pressure, and massage cycles are all features to look for. Do you want the soles of your feet massaged or the ability to massage the entire foot (ankles, calves, arches, and heels)?
- Size: Will this massager be kept at home, or would you like to take it with you to the office or when traveling? Is it lightweight enough that it can it be lifted and transported easily or are you looking at a heavier model with more bells and whistles? If storage is a concern, then size of the massage also needs to be taken into consideration.
- Achieve: Is your purchase of a foot massager meant for pleasure or relief? Some models specialize in a deeper, intense massage meant to ease aches and pains, others are more gentle and meant to mimic a spa experience.
Foot Massager Styles
There are three main styles of foot massagers:
- Electric: electric massagers require a power outlet in order to operate. They are the most common style of massager, and can perform with heat, kneading, air compressions, and vibrations. However, given all these benefits this style of massager is typically bigger and heavier than others available on the market, especially full-sized massage chairs.
- Manual: manual massagers are made from wood or plastic, and you need to move your feet yourself on whatever parts it has.
- Spas: These are hydrotherapy massagers and can require an outlet to work. If you are looking to indulge in regular “spa nights” at home, this is the type of massager you want to purchase.
Tips for a Good Foot Massage
No matter if you receive foot or a back massage, you should always get comfortable! There is no use in being in an uncomfortable position or seat when you are ready to have a foot massage. The practice is meant to reduce pain and stress, so you want to be in the most relaxing environment possible. Whether this means dimming the lights or turning them off completely, silence or quiet music, lighting a scented candle or diffusing essential oils. Whatever will make you the most at ease to reap the full benefits of the massage.
Belmint Shiatsu Foot Massager
For those who spend a lot of time on their feet constantly, bending over, lifting, carrying heavy objects, and consequently hurt all the time, the Belmint Shiatsu Foot Massager offers a solution. The Belmint can relieve the tension, ease muscle pain and Plantar Fasciitis, and improve blood circulation. The massager will not only relieve soreness after a long days’ work but also improve hip pain and body misalignment caused from the stress and wear and tear of being on your feet constantly. Suffering from such discomfort can hinder even the smallest activities such as putting on socks, or simply just standing. It will not reach your heels however, rather the Belmint focuses on the tops, arches, and balls of the feet. It has been noted that the Belmint may not accommodate larger feet, and those people either have a difficult time fitting the entire foot inside, or experience more pressure on their toes due to the tight fit.
The Belmint is also portable; using a combination of heat, air compression and kneading functions to offer a spa-grade experience. Its functions are powerful enough that you may not even need to utilize its highest settings to alleviate pain, the heat setting is not overpoweringly hot, and reasonably comforting. It is good for everyday use and can also be used multiple times day to provide relief as needed. The Belmint is also easy to keep clean with washable, removable inserts. It is compatible with wearing socks while using the massager as well. There is no remote control and instead equipped with a one tap toe on button, with the functions operating the same way, ensuring you don’t need to get up from your comfortable seated position when adjustments are needed. The Belmint will also automatically shut off after a 15-minute massage cycle is complete, though you do not need to use it only for 15 minutes’ total.
The Belmint Shiatsu massage is compact enough that it can be taken anywhere, even used underneath an office desk, and the company offers a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. With a reasonable price point that is neither overinflated or worryingly cut rate, the Belmint offers a comprehensive, custom massage that is sure to satisfy.
- Can be turned on and adjusted with the one-tap toe control
- Comes with adjustable kneading and intensity settings
- Massager will automatically shut off after completing a cycle
- No remote control
- The massager only works the foot, not the heels
- Cycle running times are short
- May not fit larger sized feet
Dr. Scholl’s Invigorating Pedicure Foot Spa
Dr. Scholl’s has been a leader in foot care for over 100 years. The Invigorating Pedicure Foot Spa is perfect for those shoppers on a budget looking for an inexpensive, less intrusive massage more in line with a spa / pedicure experience. The Foot Spa will soothe and invigorate tired feet with its massaging roller, pumice stone, gentle bubble jet streams and vibrations, and SMART Heat system.
The spa also comes with a 5-piece pedicure set, and can be can be used in conjunction with Epsom salts or diluted essential oils (please use any essential oils safely. Some are not meant for direct use onto the skin). The pedicure set is noteworthy due to the fact it is a nice extra that comes with the spa, not that the pieces themselves are extraordinary. If one should happen to break or get lost, they can be easily replaced by any convenience store supply.
The SMART system does not heat the water itself, but rather keeps the already warm water you put in at a comfortable temperature, for about 20 -30 minutes. Other foot spas come with a feature that will heat water, but they are typically a higher price point. To save some money, use hot water from your faucet or heat it up prior to using in the spa. The water must be kept below the fill line otherwise the pleasant bubble and jet feature will make the spa overflow. A towel can be placed underneath if getting the floor wet is a concern. The spa’s jet streams are soothing enough to provide a relaxing experience, not powerful Jacuzzi -grade. The bubbles/ jets can also be a little noisier than expected, which can be “fixed” by turning up the volume on TV or music.
The spa is also safe and gentle enough for minors to use with adult supervision.
The Dr. Scholl’s Foot Spa is a relatively inexpensive system, especially considering the money consumers will save by performing their own spa at home instead of visiting a professional grade salon once or more times a month. If you are looking to pamper yourself at home, this foot spa will get the job done.
- Cost effective
- Automatic bubble feature that can be turned on and off
- Removable pumice stone
- Heating feature may not be strong enough
- Not a deep massage machine
- Can be overfilled and noisy
Homedics FMS-270H Deep Kneading Shiatsu Foot Massager
Coming from Homedics, a leading innovator in massage technology, is the Deep Kneading Shiatsu Foot Massager. You will enjoy 6 rotational heads that massage from toe to heel, 18 massage nodes, a soothing heat feature and easy to use toe-touch control all to rejuvenate and melt away the tension on your sore and tired feet, even aiding in restless leg syndrome.
With this Homedics unit, your feet are placed on top of it, rather than inside the massager like so many others are designed. For those suffering from ailments such as arthritis or plantar fasciitis, this is beneficial in that they do not need to lift and / or move their feet as it may be too painful to do so, and since the foot is not encased there is nothing that squeezes it.
The Homedics massager hits all parts of the foot – including heels which many other massagers do not do. The amount of pressure you feel from the massager is controlled by the pressure your feet put on the machine, and is adjusted the same way. It is completely self-directed to hit the spots your need to. The angling of the machine could be a little awkward, depending on how you are most comfortable it may need to be propped up to get the pressure just right, or you will have to sit with your feet flat on top it.
The massager is also equipped with a large platform to accommodate larger feet, a feature that some massagers do not have due to the fact feet are placed inside the machines instead. Those who are easily ticklish or extra sensitive may have an issue using this. The Homedics massager is gentle enough for daily use, and can be used after workouts as well. It is recommended to wear socks during treatment as the massager can become too hot to handle if you are more sensitive – however the heating function is completely optional to use.
Due to heat function, diabetics should not use this massager due to touch sensitivity.
Considering all of the features, the Homedics massager is a very affordable good buy and definitely one of the best foot massagers available for this price.
- Multiple rotational heads
- Massages entire foot including heels
- Accommodates larger feet
- Toe control functions
- Great price
- The body of the massager is non- adjustable; it may need to be propped up to get a better angle
- Not recommended for diabetics
- Heat feature can be too hot for some
MARNUR Foot Massager Shiatsu Massager
The Marnur Shiatsu massager comes equipped with three levels of deep kneading and rolling intensity, a heat function, air compressions, and miniature Ergonomic massage heads aimed to hit all your acupuncture points. The massage programs are fully customizable for air pressure and intensity to receive full foot coverage including the hard to reach heels; something not all massagers include. The Marnur nodes will relieve all your aches, pains, knots and muscle tensions, leaving your feet feeling revitalized and fresh. The Marnur massager also has automatic turn off and overheat protections in place. It’s easy to keep clean with a removable insert that can be washed.
While it does have three adjustable pressure settings, the Marnur massager will become more intense the longer it is used in a sitting. The pressure applied may be too much for some, especially on the ankles. However, for others the Shiatsu method is firm enough and exactly what they need in order to relieve pain and improve circulation; much like visiting a reflexologist. With regular use, the style of Shiatsu will become familiar and even relaxing. Experimenting with the settings and wearing socks is recommended to those with more sensitive feet. Although the Marnur massager covers the entire foot, larger, wider feet may have a difficult time getting all their tension spots hit.
The Marnur massage is unobtrusive and quiet when operating, which means that it can be used in the office and when in meetings. The heat function is on by default and cannot be shut off, although the massage sessions themselves last for 15 minutes at a time to prevent overheating.
The manufacturer suggests that women who are pregnant or menstruating should not use the shiatsu foot massager, and people who suffer from such ailments such as osteoporosis or should consult their doctor before use. The levels of intensity are powerful so those people should proceed with caution when purchasing this massager. The levels of Shiatsu deep tissue massage, coupled with heating and customizable settings have placed the Marnur in an affordable class of massager.
- Automatically shuts off to prevent overheating
- Fully customizable programs
- Covers the whole foot
- Easy to clean
- Massage intervals only last 15 minutes
- Cannot be used by pregnant or menstruating women
- Those with official foot diagnosed pain should not experience this level of massage until they consult with their doctor.
Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager – Deep-Kneading, Multi-Level Settings, Switchable Heat
The lightweight Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager has 5 different settings. Deep kneading, vibrating, rolling, and heating functions are aimed to target specific pressure points to improve circulation and give relief to those suffering from intense foot pain. Two separate chambers function together to massage both the bottom and sides of the feet, while air pressure covers the whole foot.
The heat setting can be mild, and coupled with the Shiatsu style of massage does not make for the relaxing, rejuvenating massage experience some people are looking for. They may enjoy a warmer massager with less pressure on their feet that may not trigger sensitivities.
The Miko comes with various intensity and pressure levels to customize to your specific comfort level. The heat is optional, and the length of the massage can also be timed in 5 minute increments up to 15. It can be used more than once in a sitting numerous times a day. The Miko accommodates larger feet, and will massage the entire surface including your toes. While it does massage the heels, it may not be enough coverage or intensity for some even on the highest setting.
The Miko massager is noted to have helped people suffering from Neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, and arthritis along with chronic foot pain, soreness, and stiffness. It is good for those who are on their feet all day long at work as well – and because the Miko operates at such a quiet level can be utilized in the office.
The Miko can be controlled via wireless remote, and transported to the office or used while traveling due to its compact design. The Miko has removable, washable sleeves for easy cleaning. The manufacturer provides a one-year warranty on the massager, and it can be refunded or exchanged if unsatisfied.
- Multiple settings available
- Comes with wireless remote control
- Massager is portable
- Chambers deliver full coverage massaging
- Not hot enough
- Too much pressure for those not used to intense Shiatsu massage
MedMassager Foot Rub Massager
The MedMassager touts itself as the most powerful electric vibrating massager available to the public with eleven different speed options. Designed for therapeutic and clinical use at home and FDA approved, the massager comes with an oscillating foot pad, arch bar, and a surface specifically designed to target pressure points.
The MedMassagers’ incredibly intense massaging makes it quite noisy, as it is designed to be powerful enough to alleviate severe foot issues. Putting a non-slip pad underneath can help abate the sound. This is not a typical relaxing day at the spa massager, and in some cases is used as an alternative therapy to patients who have exhausted their other options and medications. All the usual things one thinks of for massage – rubbing, air pressure, kneading – are not features of the MedMassager. It performs via the vibrating foot pad. The raised surface nodules can take some getting used to, though socks and shoes can be worn with the MedMassager in the meantime.
This massager can be used by people suffering from arthritis, diabetes, and neuropathy to help poor blood circulation and pain relief in the feet and legs. Some consumers have used it to allay hip and knee pain as well. It has been noted that the MedMassager can trigger peripheral neuropathy or made it worse. With a machine this powerful, please check with your personal doctor before using if you have a diagnosed medical condition.
There is no comforting heat option, though the intense settings do improve blood circulation so much that the manufactured heat is not needed in some instances. While the massager is set at an angle, this position can be uncomfortable, but can also be utilized to your advantage in massaging calves and the lower leg. There is no on/off button or remote, simply a dial used to operate it.
This is not a low cost machine by any stretch, especially for something that is for at home practice. It is a high quality machine though, and very sturdy. The MedMassager is professional grade device, so it is not intended for casual use.
The manufacturer provides a lifetime guarantee on the MedMassager.
- Can be used by diabetics and those with medical conditions
- FDA approved
- Lifetime guarantee by manufacturer
- No heat option
- Noisy and can move from original position
- No one touch button or remote
- Can trigger peripheral neuropathy
Going to a licensed and experienced masseuse is beneficial, however it sometimes is not possible. There are a number of home foot massagers on the market today that cater to any number of needs; from powerful medical grade machines to spa-level comforting. With so many options and features available you can be sure to find the best foot massager for your home and one that is the right fit for you.