Foot massage may help ease sleep disturbances and other menopausal symptoms Foot massage may improve sleep and reduce anxiety and fatigue in postmenopausal women, according to a new study. Good news for postmenopausal women who suffer from poor quality sleep and increased anxiety: A new study published in Menopause shows that foot massages can help alleviate these troubling symptoms.
The transition to menopause brings physical challenges
As women approach and go through menopause, reduced estrogen can lead to a number of problems: hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats and other sleep disturbances, sexual dysfunction and vaginal dryness. The flow of hormones affects mood, and sleep problems contribute to fatigue. At the same time, mood swings can occur, putting middle-aged women at risk for problems such as anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Brain fog and fatigue can also become symptoms due to sleep problems and night sweats.
Foot massages promote relaxation and improve sleep
A 2020 study published in JAN (Journal of Advanced Nursing) found that “foot reflexology produced significant improvements in sleep disorders.” For some time, studies have suggested that massage helps relieve chronic pain, such as arthritis pain. This new study, conducted in 2022, focused specifically on postmenopausal women to assess the effect of foot massage on sleep, anxiety and fatigue.
The study was conducted among 70 postmenopausal women in a village in northern Turkey. The group was divided into two parts, with participants randomly assigned to an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group received a 20-minute foot massage (10 minutes on each leg) once a day for a whole week by the same researcher. The control group received no intervention. The result: The experimental group experienced a reduction in fatigue and anxiety and reported sleeping an hour more per night than members of the control group.
Include massages and reflexology in women’s care
The researchers recommend using foot massage as “an alternative treatment method in addition to pharmacological methods in the treatment of problems such as anxiety, fatigue and sleep disturbances that are common in menopause.” In addition, it is recommended that nurses and midwives caring for postmenopausal women incorporate foot massage into the care they provide through appropriate training programs involving foot massage. »
The sample size was small, but the results are significant
The sample for this study was a relatively small group. But if you get a group of people who feel like they sleep more than another group, that’s pretty significant. Since this data was collected by self-report, it may not be more sleep, but deeper experience, which is very significant.
All types of massage can help
Any type of massage before bed is likely to be helpful. For middle-aged women, a foot, shoulder or head massage before bed is likely to be very relaxing.
Learn to massage yourself
The masseuse in the study used thumb pressure, stroking, tapping, rubbing and squeezing. More studies need to be done on the difference in results between self-massage and using a masseuse. Some of the beneficial effects may come from being cared for. However, if you want to try massage yourself or let your partner learn it more effectively, you can find instructions on the Internet for at least five massage methods:
Ankle Circumference: Turn your foot at the ankle.
Foot rub: Massage the feet from one toe to the other with firm movements.
Toe Stretch: Extend your toes back and gently tap your foot with your other hand with an open hand or a closed fist.
T-Shaped Fan: Slide your thumbs into the bottom of your heel, push up, then fan out toward your toes.
Thumb Circle: Knead your feet in circular motions with your thumb.
An easy, hormone-free procedure worth trying
Sleep disturbances, fatigue, and anxiety symptoms are common during menopause. This small study in Turkish women shows how a simple, inexpensive intervention such as a foot massage can improve these uncomfortable symptoms in postmenopausal women. Although further studies are needed to confirm these findings in other populations of postmenopausal women, there are several drawbacks that would recommend foot massage as a non-hormonal option to help alleviate symptoms.
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