If a friend or lover has ever rubbed your feet, you know how delightful the experience can be. It turns out that hand and foot massage is also an effective means of alleviating pain.
In one recent study, 18 surgical patients were given 20 minute massages the day following their operations. Five minutes was spent massaging each extremity. Following the massages, patients reported a significant decrease in both the intensity of their pain and the level of distress they felt.
If youâ€™re wondering how massaging your feet and hands could possibly help with pain elsewhere in your body, look no further than to the research of Ron Melzack and Peter Wall. In 1962 they developed the Gate Control theory of pain.
Their theory holds that when one part of the body receives pleasant signals, such as those from massage, â€œnon-painfulâ€ nerve fibers are activated. The positive signals from these nerve fibers prevent pain signals from being transmitted to the brain – thereby keeping them â€œgatedâ€. As a bonus, massage is also known to boost the output of natural opioids and endorphins – painkillers that are produced within our own bodies.
If youâ€™re in pain and no one is around, certain tools, such Foot Wakers, can make it easier to massage your own hands and feet (donâ€™t let the name fool you – I use mine on my hands all the time). Donâ€™t you just love it when a remedy is pleasant? Â