Ask Jean: The Magic of the 3-Minute Foot Massage

Written by: Jean Godfrey-June


Updated on: September 7, 2022


Photo courtesy of Heather Hixon/The Licensing Project

Jean Godfrey-June

We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to [email protected]. Below, a q for our beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

Dear Jean, I love the way a massage makes me feel, but they are expensive—how can you incorporate a little of that energy into the every day or do it yourself?
—Ann B.

The three-minute foot massage solves many ills. A professional massage is heaven, to be sure. But given to a child, spouse, friend, lover, or even yourself, a short foot rub really can make things better.

As incredible and effective as reflexology is, you don’t have to know that ancient practice to give a foot massage. An average person with no training can, every day, at home, maybe with a nice tub of body or hand or foot cream at their disposal, make themselves and everyone around them a little happier.

Long ago, a homeopath took one look at my (at-times anxious, decidedly bookish, then-six-year-old) daughter and pronounced, “She’s always in her head. She needs grounding. Rub her feet every night.” I did, and it helped—seriously helped. But rubbing her feet even when she wasn’t in her head also helped—and it was great for her little brother, too. I always do it before bed; start the practice and your children will quickly start demanding it if you forget. The tradition of the foot rub is especially useful during the teenage years, when your kids might not feel like talking or need an icebreaker to open up.

When times get tough, get a lovely cream and massage a foot. This is especially true if you’ve been fighting or if there’s a lot of homework. But even if there’s no reason at all, a foot massage improves the outlook considerably.

I once had a pedicure with Bastien Gonzalez, a former ski champion who, after a severe injury, trained as a podiatrist in Paris and developed an intensely healing pedicure, one that doesn’t involve any polish and does involve—painlessly—a dentist’s drill. Luxury hotels and spas around the world host Gonzalez and feature his pedicures, with technicians trained specially by him. After he did the pedicure, he handed me a tube of spruce-scented cream (his products are available in the US only at the New London Pharmacy in New York, though they are not clean by goop standards) and told me, “Massage your feet at night. Say to yourself, ‘I am worth this.’ You will always have a better day the next day if you take a minute to do it.”

Here’s the thing: He’s right. Maybe it’s psychosomatic, but a foot massage at night makes a huge difference for me. I keep a few thick, nice-smelling creams right by my bed, but also in the living room out by the TV and, of course, in my kids’ rooms. Below, my favorite (amazingly scented and textured, super moisturizing) creams that are especially deluxe for a foot massage. Note that there’s a fantastic foot-specific one from Lavido, which is especially great if there’s a big chance you’ll get out of bed pre-sleep but post-massage (foot creams tend to be less slippery). But as long as you’ll be in bed for at least the next hour, you don’t have to be foot-specific.