THE BLOG
01/20/2012 02:19 pm ET Updated Mar 21, 2012

Feet First

People often ask me, "Where should I start taking better care of myself?" I suggest you begin from the ground up. At the end of a long day, sit back and put your feet first.

Feet are full of sensitive nerves and acupressure points, so they make a great starting point for your self-care regime. When you want to pamper yourself with pure pleasure, try my easy home treats for your feet. You don't need a masseuse on hand to enjoy a relaxing foot massage, and you can get everything you need for a spa-quality foot facial with one quick trip to the health food store. Put the spring back in your step!

Do-It-Yourself Foot Massage

Here are three ways to make your feet happy -- fast. You can do any or all of these techniques in a single session

  • Work out the kinks. Start with a footsie roller with raised edges (check your local bath boutique) or an old-fashioned rolling pin. Sitting in a chair, place the roller or rolling pin on the floor beneath you, position your foot on top, and roll the entire length of your foot over the roller with moderate pressure. Continue rolling back and forth for about five minutes per foot.
  • Roll away tension. Repeat the above exercise substituting a golf ball for the roller and focusing on the ball of your foot. Continue for two minutes per foot. Both these exercises relieve fatigue and cramping.
  • Press for stress relief. Reflexology is a form of acupressure based on the premise that there are reflexes in the foot that relate to all organs and functions of the human body. Thought to balance digestion, improve circulation and relieve pain, reflexology definitely feels great. For an easy, non-technical version:

    1. Start with a few ankle rotations to loosen joints and relax the feet.
    2. Take one foot at a time and apply firm pressure with your thumbs and forefingers to any points that feel good when you press them.

To find out more, visit the Reflexology Association of America at www.reflexology-usa.org.

Cranberry Foot Facial

This natural spa-style treatment uses sugar to remove callouses, cranberry-oil extract to give skin an antioxidant lift, and grapeseed oil to soften and smooth. Here's how to do it:

  • Mix 3 drops of cranberry-oil extract into a bit of unscented body lotion. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, 6 tablespoons sugar, and 10 drops cranberry-oil extract. In another bowl, mix 4 drops cranberry-oil extract with 1 cup hot water. Immerse a washcloth in the water mixture and set it aside to soak. Draw a large basin of hot water.
  • Soak your feet in the basin of hot water for 10 minutes to soften the skin.
  • Massage the sugar mixture into your feet, ankles and calves with a loofah or sponge for several minutes. Wipe clean with the hot cranberry washcloth, then massage in the cranberry lotion while your skin is still damp.

For more by Carrie Wiatt, M.S., click here.

For more on health and beauty, click here.

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