Ah foot massage. Those magical soothing and rather loaded gifts of touch. What is the true meaning of a foot massage? This question has been pondered by scholars and pregnant women alike through the ages. For the best answer we turn to Quentin Tarantino, and a scene from his movie "Pulp Fiction" in which he deeply and tastefully explores the nuances of good foot massaging. Ask yourself: how many people are deserving of Your foot massage skills? (You say you have no mastery of the ways of the foot massage? You want to get mastered? Keep reading for instructions.)

JULES
It was a foot massage, a foot massage is nothing, I give my mother a foot massage.

VINCENT
It's laying hands on Marsellus Wallace's new wife in a familiar way.
Is it as bad as eatin' her out -- no, but you're in the same fuckin' ballpark.

Jules stops Vincent.

JULES
Whoa...whoa...whoa...stop right there. Eatin' a bitch out, and givin'
a bitch a foot massage ain't even the same fuckin' thing.

VINCENT
Not the same thing, the same ballpark.

JULES
It ain't no ballpark either. Look maybe your method of massage differs from mine,
but touchin' his lady's feet, and stickin' your tongue in her holyiest of holyies,
ain't the same ballpark, ain't the same league, ain't even the same fuckin' sport.
Foot massages don't mean shit.

VINCENT
Have you ever given a foot massage?

JULES
Don't be tellin' me about foot massages -- I'm the fuckin' foot master.

VINCENT
Given a lot of 'em?

JULES
Shit yeah. I got my technique down man, I don't tickle or nothin'.

VINCENT
Have you ever given a guy a foot massage?

Jules looks at him a long moment -- he's been set up.

JULES
Fuck you.

He starts walking down the hall. Vincent, smiling, walks a little bit behind.

VINCENT
How many?

JULES
Fuck you.

VINCENT
Would you give me a foot massage -- I'm kinda tired.

JULES
Man, you best back off, I'm gittin' pissed -- this is the door.


Foot massages feel good. You can give them to yourself, or a friend. Chicks dig it. But wait, how do you give a foot massage? Like this:

START WITH A CLEAN FOOT
Nasty feet are, nasty. Clean feet will not only be more pleasant to the masseuse, but will be more sensitive and relaxed for the massage. A good soak in Epson Salt desolved in warm water, maybe a little scrub should do the trick. Make sure the feet are thoroughly dry before you begin the massage.

LUBE
Forget that puny massage oil. Feet are tough. You want some thick and heavy lotion type stuff. Rub it all over. Don't be shy, apply as often as needed.

RUB BOTH FEET ALL OVER
Get the whole foot, (first one then the other) rubbing from the toes to the ankles. Start out on both of them gently, then work the whole thing a little more deeply. Use long, pressured strokes.

CONCETRATE ON THE SOLES
Again, start gentle and slowly apply more and more pressure. (But not so much as to cause pain or discomfort!) Using your thumbs, make circular motions that cover the entire surface of the bottom of your foot, moving from the base of your toes toward your heel. Keep the pressure of the circles steady and even. Use a bit more firmness on your heels; the skin here is tougher.

MASSAGE THOSE TOES
All at once, one at a time, give the ten piggies a good twice over.

GENTLY RUB THE WHOLE FOOT
One more time. It feels good.

WASH OFF THE LOTION
Maybe a long hot water soak. Stick those feet into some big dry socks afterwards and stay off them for a bit, just to let the full effects sink in.

HAPPY FEET!

See: Reflexology either on this site or elsewhere for a more in depth look at the benefits of foot massage.



nodeshell rescue

Here are the instructions for a more complex foot massage. Whatever Vincent may have said in Pulp Fiction (see Awestruck Dove's writeup), a foot massage doesn't have to mean anything, and I have given plenty to friends of both sexes. They are particularly good straight after a long hike, and can be done almost anywhere, from a hillside to the bath.

As the foot massage is on a small area, it can be done without oil at a pinch - however, I would recommend using a small amount of a normal massage oil (sweet almond oil, or grapeseed oil for nut allergy suffers) - scented aromatherapy oil is particularly nice, but always check the first time you use it on someone to make sure they're not allergic to it. It is important that you are as comfortable as the person you're massaging - one easy position is to sit cross-legged with a towel in your lap, and put the foot that you're massaging on the towel (this stops oil from getting everywhere too). As with all massages, you should never give a massage if either of you are too drunk or otherwise incapacitated, or if the foot has broken skin, eczema, dermatitis or is just unpleasantly smelly. Also avoid feet which have undergone breaks or major injuries within six months (two years for really major scars). If in doubt, don't massage!

The massage itself is fairly straightforward:

  • Start with effleurage from the toes to the ankles, spreading the oil around with firm, long strokes of the hands. If the recipient is extremely ticklish, try slowing down, using a greater area of your hands, and applying more firm pressure. Keep talking to them - ask if they want more or less pressure, or if a move is particularly good or bad for them - everyone has a different set of preferences.
  • Find the bones on either side of the foot at the ankle. Use your index fingers to make sets of small circles around these - firstly a ring of small circles, then a smooth circle round the whole bone.
  • Use the thumbs to apply petrissage across the sole of the foot. Use as much pressure as is comfortable over the ball of the foot and the pads just in front of the toes, and rather less around the arches. Follow this up by using the knuckles to apply firmer pressure on the ball and pads.
  • Hold the foot in both hands, with the toes pointing towards you and your fingers interlaced around the top of the foot. Make scissoring motions with your thumbs across the whole foot, from ankle to toes, keeping the fingers steady. Follow this by holding the thumbs steady and making scissoring movements with the fingers across the top of the foot (gently).
  • Use your index finger and thumb to make small circles over the tendons going into each toe. Work from the top of the foot to the end of the toe, and then gently pull your finger and thumb off the end of the toe. This can be repeated in the gaps between the toes.
  • Apply more effleurage over the top of the foot, and then use both hands to gently stretch the skin on top of the foot towards the sides of the foot (this is rather like trying to break a bread roll in two, and done just as gently). You can also run the arch between your thumb and index finger down from the top of the ankle to the toes a few times.
  • Support the calf and ankle with one hand, and use the other to move the foot around at the ankle joint. The person you're massaging should try to relax the foot as much as possible. Try any movement that is natural to the joint - you can also move the toes around as well. Again, this should be done gently and not cause pain.
  • Finally, do more effleurage across the foot, becoming slower and firmer before finally 'sandwiching' off the toes (press together your palms on the top and bottom of the foot, and pull them off the toes slowly). Now, you just have to repeat the process on the other foot...

This is based on amateur lessons I was given by Cambridge University Massage Society, a nifty group that exists to teach students how to massage. This certainly isn't professional advice or anything...

See also: Massage Terms

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