A foot massage can be a great adjunct to many salon treatments. Here is how to perfect the art in eight easy steps.


Close-up of young woman's foot massage
Eight easy steps on how to give a good foot massage.



Step #1. Wash the feet

You might want to make a ceremony of this and put the feet in a bath of warm scented water before your clients get onto the treatment bed, or you may just want to wash feet with a clean, warm towel. Both help relax your client and get them into the right frame of mind for a treatment.

Step #2. Choose your oil

A carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, can be scented with feel-good essential oils. Or you may want to choose a body lotion to deeply hydrate the feet. Another option is the new breed of massage oils, which are gel in form but turn to a highly-manageable oil as you work with them.

Step #3. Start at the top, then reverse

Holding the bottom of the foot with both hands, begin by rubbing the top of the foot before slowly working your way down to the sole. Apply more pressure as you get closer to the sole, where there is usually a lot of tension. Reverse direction and rub the foot moving slowly towards the top, reducing pressure as you go. This will get your clients relaxed and prepared for your touch.

Step #4. Concentrate on the heel

Using your thumbs, make small circles using medium to heavy pressure at the base of the heel, working inwards towards the arch. Work your way around the entire heel before repeating this kneading action on the ball of the foot.

Step #5 Enlist cross-fiber friction

To really relax the heels, use a technique called cross-fiber friction, which involves your thumbs applying opposing pressure. It sounds complicated but what it essentially means is, while one thumb is pushing upwards, the other should be pushing downwards.


Foot massage close up
Release strain and tension by concentrating on different areas of the foot.


Step #6 Concentrate on the anklebone

The ankle takes a lot of strain so it’s great to give this area some love. Use your fingers to rub in a circular motion on either side of the bone. Use gentler finger pressure over the top of the bone, which can be a sensitive area.

Step #7 Now the arch

The arch holds a lot of strain and tension so a firm but kneading action is required. With your hand closed in a fist, use the tops of your clenched fingers to massage the arch in a rolling, back-and-forth action.

Step #8 Work the toes

There is a surprising amount of tension in the toes so make sure you pay a little attention to each one by kneading and pulling very gently. Next, slide your index finger between the each toe then move it back and forth to rub the base of each toe. For a truly relaxing sensation, gently slide all five fingers between each of the toes at the same time.

(Step 9. Total bliss…)

You may need to wake your client up at this point because total bliss will be theirs!




Join the Conversation


  1. Sounds so relaxing… This can only be topped by using the JOYA Crystal Massage Pen or Mini for the treatment. Just divine.

  2. Great article. I have to say I’m nearly always disappointed by the lacklustre foot massage I receive during a pedi. I thought perhaps a formal foot massage was not being taught in the training schools any longer. A good foot massage is more than just ‘feeling nice’ and can be very beneficial to the client’s well-being.

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