Self Care at its Best.
Who doesn't love a massage?! But unless you're holidaying in Bali, many people don't treat themselves often enough to a relaxing, self-indulgent massage (unless your boyfriend is 'Sven', in which case, I'm jelly, and don't want to hear about it).
The great news is that in this study, participants experienced the benefits of foot massage which they administered to themselves!
The Effects of Aroma Foot Massage on Blood Pressure and Anxiety in Japanese Community-Dwelling Men and Women: A Crossover Randomised Controlled Trial.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of aroma foot massage on blood pressure, anxiety, and health-related quality of life (QOL) in Japanese community-dwelling men and women using a crossover randomised controlled trial.
Participants gave themselves an aromatherapy foot massage 3 times a week using an aromatherapy oil blend of lavender, ylang ylang, marjoram, sandalwood and chamomile.
Results: those in the massage group showed lower blood pressure and anxiety after two months compared to the control group, and although not statistically significant, aroma foot massage also increased the score of mental health-related QOL.
Conclusion: the self-administered aroma foot massage intervention significantly decreased the mean blood pressure (SBP and DBP) as well as the state anxiety score, and tended to increase the mental health-related QOL scores. The results suggest that aroma foot massage may be an easy and effective way to improve mental health and blood pressure.
Study authors noted "Although it was difficult to differentiate the effects of the aromatherapy from the effects of the massage therapy, the combination may be an effective way to increase mental health and improve blood pressure.”
I think it doesn't necessarily matter which oils you use, but for me, the point of this study was to demonstrate that a little bit of weekly self-care (which means you don't necessarily need someone else to do it for you), can go a long way to reduce your anxiety and improve your mental health.
My favourite oils to use for foot massage are:
Lavender: which has calming and relaxing properties, and it great for stress, anxiety, nervous and muscular tension; headaches; and helping with sleep.
Peppermint: is great if you have tired, achy feet, especially if you're on your feet a lot throughout the day. The tingly, freshness really helps to revive sore, tired feet.
I have been a big fan of using essential oils for many years. My advice is that you buy proper, pure essential oils, rather than those which might be labelled as 'scented oil' or 'fragrance oil'. Often, the best way to tell is by its price point. Good quality, organic, pure essential oils are expensive, whilst the fake, smelly oils are cheap (and nasty).