Perhaps you’ve just come home after a late-night shift, and your feet are throbbing with pain. Or maybe you wore the wrong shoes out to dinner, and now your feet are complaining. In either case, a foot spa or foot massage can help you overcome these issues from the comforts of your room.
But which one?
People often mistake a foot spa and foot massage as one and the same. However, this isn’t so. In this article, we discuss foot spa vs foot massage, which is best. We have also listed down the pros and cons for each and answered some commonly asked questions for your benefit. Let’s begin!
What is a Foot Spa?
A foot spa is a small machine that looks sorta like a mop bucket with some controls on it. It uses water and jets to relax your feet, reduce pain points, and get rid of muscle soreness.
These machines are glorious. See our article on the best foot spas for recommendations.
Foot spa work with heated water. You will have to warm up the water yourself in cheaper models before adding it to the spa tub. But, there are several advanced models available that have built-in heating systems.
They even let you adjust the water temperatures to your liking.
Depending on the price range you opt for, your foot spa can come with quite a few functions and features. The two most commonly enjoyed ones are bubbles and water jets. The jets are designed and located to target specific pressure points on your feet.
On the other hand, the added bubbles soothe sore feet and offer you a more calming experience. Keep in mind the bubbles usually are not bubble bath soap!
Your foot spa might also come with rollers. These can be manual, where you operate them yourself using your feet, or electric so they more automatically. These rollers knead the bottom of your feet to increase blood flow and boost muscle movement. They can also get rid of any dead cell build-up and significantly reduce swelling.
Here is a common list of features found on many decent-quality foot spas:
- Magnetic or infrared massage therapy.
- A timer.
- Heat control settings.
- Pedicure attachments and brushes.
All of these are focused on warding off any signs of fatigue and tiredness caused by overuse. They help reduce redness, foot aches, ankle sores and be especially useful for people with flat feet. If you suffer from arthritis or edema, you will notice immediate comforting effects after a foot spa session.
You can further enhance your spa experience by adding relaxing salts, aromatherapy oils, or any of your favorite products into the spa tub.
Pros of a Foot Spa
Here are all the benefits of using a foot spa.
- Ideal for treating any signs of pain, fatigue, or foot soreness.
- Extremely relaxing, great to unwind before heading to bed.
- Safe to be used by most people.
- A wide range of soothing benefits.
- Many have some massage function
Cons of a Foot Spa
Below, we mentioned some of the cons of a foot spa.
- Can’t work without water.
- Don’t offer a deep tissue treatment.
- Not as effective as foot massages in reducing muscle tension.
- People with diabetes or nerve problems may want to avoid them.
- Some people are concerned about the combination of water and electricity.
What is a Foot Massage
Foot massagers use different massage therapy methods to treat aches, pains, soreness, tiredness, bunions, or swollen feet or legs. Out feet can get quite irritated and inflamed due to chronic tiredness.
It can even occur just by wearing the wrong pair of shoes!
That is where your foot massage comes into play. Foot massages improve blood circulation in your feet and legs, strengthen your immunity, and lead to reduced aches and pains.
Regular foot massages can improve cardiovascular functioning, lessen the workload on the heart, and heighten your concentration abilities.
One of the key benefits of regular foot massages is the promotion of muscle flexibility, increasing your energy levels. It can also interfere with pain signals being sent to the brain by competing with the nerve fibers instead of replacing it with a sense of pleasure.
All in all, a good foot massage doesn’t just work on your foot. Its effects are reflected in your entire body’s functioning.
Like foot spas, a foot massage comes with a variety of different features. The most popular ones are based on ancient Chinese reflexology techniques like shiatsu. They include rotating heads with a footpad that applies pressure on specific pressure points to release tension and boost circulation.
Most massagers have setting variations to you can increase or decrease the massage intensity.
Your massages may also have particular nodes for deep penetrating kneading therapy. Other special features include;
- Circulation boosters.
- Electrical muscle stimulation.
Pros of a Foot Massage
The best parts of a foot massager are:
- Easy to use.
- Multiple functions.
- Excellent for treating patients with foot fatigue, swelling problems, or neuropathy.
- Reduces pressure on the heart.
- Improves brain signaling.
Cons of a Foot Massage
Some negative parts of a foot massage are:
- Electrical systems can be dangerous for people with certain health conditions.
- More expensive than foot spas.
- Electrical systems can’t be used by pregnant women, who are often in need of a food massage the most.
Foot Spa vs Foot Massage
Now that we have established what a foot spa and foot massage are, we are sure the differences have been quite apparent. While a foot spa needs water to work, foot massages don’t require it at all.
On the other hand, foot massages are often more expensive and offer a deep-tissue experience, unlike foot spas. The spa focuses on soaking your feet for relaxation, while the massager provides a more intense experience.
Many people really enjoy the intensity of a massage, but for some, the sensations can be too uncomfortable on the feet.
Both spas and massagers provide relief for your sore feet, but the massager will be more rough and restorative, while the spa will be gentle, but perhaps less impactful overall.
What to Look for
An essential part of our foot spa vs. foot massage comparison is the difference in what to look for when buying either of these foot products.
In a Foot Spa
Be sure to consider the following before you buy a foot spa for yourself.
Make sure the device you pick will fit your foot comfortably, and there is ample room for the foot rollers to work. The size is one of the most important parts to consider when buying a foot spa, but people usually overlook it.
Although most spa machines you’ll come across nowadays have an in-built heating system, not all do. Look out for the heating features and ensure that your device allows you to choose a warmth level as per your comfort.
To get the benefits of reflexology treatments in your foot spa, opt for a machine with rollers. The spinning motion will put some pressure on the right areas of your foot, giving a massage-like effect.
You can purchase a foot spa with a ton of extra features like bubbles, water jets, and a waterfall for an even better experience. While it may cost you a little extra, the soothing effect they cause is truly worth it.
Easy to Set and Operate
Quite often, more advanced machines are needlessly complicated and require a lot of fiddling to operate. If you’re focused on getting to Option 4 of Submenu B, rather than on soothing your feet, that’s not a good experience!
In a Foot Massage
Carefully consider the following features so you can get the best possible foot massage for you and your family.
Manual or Electric
The manual model is the most basic form of foot massage that you will need to work yourself. It will require you to repeatedly roll the tube from your heel to your toes for the desired effect.
On the other hand, electric foot massages are powered by electrical connections and offer relaxation by using vibrations and heating effects.
Although we mentioned that foot massages don’t require water, there are a few meant to be used underwater. The water foot massager nourishes, hydrates, and soothes your feet using various massage techniques and movements, further enhanced by pressurized water jets.
This type of foot massage is perfect for people with high-stress levels. It uses reflexology techniques to apply pressure on the main points of your feet. It further continues a kneading motion or infrared heating to relax all your muscles and release the tension within them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Foot Massager Worth It?
People often think an automatic foot massage isn’t of much use, and it can’t perform well as human hands. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
A good quality foot massage (like the ones mentioned above) will you expert-level massages from the comforts of your home. Foot massages do more than just relieve pain in your feet. They also work to improve blood circulation in your body’s extremities and stimulate your foot muscles. The massage process relieves stress and tension built up on your feet, leading to calming effects in your entire body.
Who Should Not Use a Foot Spa?
Although a foot spa can be super relaxing for people with aching, sore feet, some people should avoid it at all costs. If you have a condition like diabetes, low blood circulation in your feet, an infection, varicose veins, or open cuts, it is best to avoid a foot spa. It can end up doing more harm than good for you.
How Long Should You Leave Your Feet in a Foot Spa?
If you’re using a standard-sized foot spa tub, soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes in it. Repeating this every 3 to 4 days should be enough to leave your feet soft and supple while also getting rid of any dry patches or darkened areas.
How Long Can You Use a Foot Massager?
A foot massage session twice or thrice a day should suffice for people with fatigued and sore feet. Make sure your sessions don’t last for more than 20-30 minutes as it can lead to over circulation.
Do You Put Anything in a Foot Spa?
You can enhance your foot spa experience by adding bath salts or Epsom salts in the machine tub. These salts help in muscle relaxation and will reduce any swelling on your feet. You can also put in a few drops of essential oils for an aromatherapeutic effect. Some people also add a small squirt of moisturizer for extra hydration.
What Can I Soak My feet in for Athlete’s Foot?
Since Athlete’s Foot often burns and itches, you can add some vinegar to your foot spa before soaking your feet in it. The antifungal properties of a vinegar soak make it extremely useful for people with any form of toenail infections or fungus. Simply soak your feet into the diluted vinegar bath for 10-15 minutes and notice its relieving effects.
If you have a severe case of Athlete’s Foot, it is best to consult a medical professional instead of trying home remedies for treatment.
At the end of this foot spa vs foot massage comparison, we believe it is fair to say that both these products are excellent for your feet. They work to improve the look and feel of your feet, especially for people who work standing for a majority of their days. They relieve tension in the foot muscles and give a wonderfully calming experience.
The foot massage is excellent for people looking for a more hands-on experience to work their foot muscles. The massage is for those who enjoy the potent sensations and feeling like your feet are really getting worked on.
On the other hand, if you wish for a more serene affair after a long day, you can soak your feet in a foot spa with warm water as you sit back and relax.