Prepare your surroundings. Get a pillow or a folded towel to cushion the foot while you work. If your partner is sitting in a chair, make sure you are positioned lower than their hip and their knees are bent and supported (Use a pillow for the knees if you like). Get yourself a low seat, like a stool or floor cushion. That way you won't get tired or injure yourself by bending down or squatting too long! Do what you wish to make the room relaxing: Light a candle, play some soft music, and have some great massage oil or lotion at hand. We love Skinny Skinny's Organic Rosemary and Bergamot Body Oil which smells amazing!
Talk to your partner. Ask them where they have pain. Because the foot and ankle are sometimes very sensitive areas, it's good to ask your partner what places to avoid as well. Be sure to ask about the pressure you're using!
Use Gliding Strokes, then Kneading Strokes: Place your thumbs in the bottom of your partner's foot and apply slight pressure. Your other fingers should be on the top of the foot. See that group of mounds right before the end of the foot? Glide your thumbs right under them towards the toes. Once the foot is more relaxed, go on and knead. You want to see the foot move around a little.
Small Circles: Using small, slow circles, work your way around the heel. Heels take a lot of our pressure, so don't leave them out!
Use Squeezing and Wringing Strokes: Place both of your hands next to each other, gently squeezing the instep of the foot. Then slowly begin to move each hand in the opposite direction, like you're wringing out a wet washcloth. Work using this wringing stroke from the heel up to the toes.
Use Gentle Stretches: Hold the heel with your left hand and cross your right hand to grab the instep. Give the foot a gentle stretch. Switch hands—right hand on heel and left hand on the outside of the foot—and repeat. Deep pressure isn't needed, and instead of tiring out your hands try to get most of your strength from rocking back and forth. You're on your way to giving a great massage!
Watch your speed and pressure. Remember: Slow and steady wins the race. A massage that's too vigorous is oftentimes the least relaxing.
Advanced Tip: Try using cooling aromatherapy oils like mint or rosemary on the soles of the feet for clarity and energy!