Do Foot Massagers Help Circulation? Raynauds | Arthritis | Chilblains

Foot massagers and spa massagers are super popular but do foot massagers help circulation or just good for relaxation?

Short answer: Yes they are very effective to enhance circulation stimulate muscles, reduce tension and ease pain.

Long answer: read on for more in-depth information and advice…

Some of my other articles about foot massagers:

If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, here is a recent article on the Best Foot Massagers for Plantar Fasciitis 2020 and an in-depth review of the Miko Shiatsu Foot Massager

poor circulation feet massage

What causes poor circulation in your feet?

Poor circulation isn’t a condition in itself and has a number of possible causes.

It results from other health issues, so it is important to know, understand and treat the underlying causes, rather than just the symptoms.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) causes poor circulation in the legs due to a narrowing in the arteries and blood vessels. The medical term Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries. This is a common cause of poor circulation.

Diabetes and Raynaud’s Disease are often also a major causes of poor circulation in the feet.

Other causes of poor circulation, are diabetes, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise.

What does poor circulation in feet look like?

Poor circulation by definition means the blood supply to specific areas is compromised. This can be due to a number of factors.

Due to the lack of blood supply to the feet and toes they may feel cold or numb. They may also be very pale, dry skin and nails may become brittle.

What are the symptoms of poor circulation in legs and feet?

Foot Massagers Help Circulation

The reduction in circulation in the feet due to restriction of blood vessels can lead to the following symptoms –

  • Cold feet
  • pins and needles
  • Tingling
  • Pain or aching
  • Swelling
  • Blue or purple colored feet
  • varicose veins
  • Discolored skin
  • Skin breakage and weeping
  • Scaly or itchy rash
  • lack of hair growth on ankles and feet
  • Numbness
  • Englarged veins
  • higher blood pressure
  • Tiredness

Can poor circulation reversed?

This depends on the overall health of the person. If the underlying reason for poor circulation is a reduction in movement and exercise then it is relatively easy to remedy this by doing some walking.

Medication cannot reverse poor circulation but it can treat symptoms. More invasive options may be necessary such as surgery to improve the blood flow to the feet.

What does massaging your feet do and does it help circulation?

Massaging your feet is beneficial in many ways. Everyone loves a foot massage because it is relaxing, helps tired and aching feet after a long day. It’s great when you’re pregnant and may have swelling or edema.

Ten minutes of foot massage daily will improve your health and well-being. You can have someone do it for you or use a foot massager or foot spa with massage.

How can I improve circulation in my feet with a foot massager?

A foot massager will improve circulation because of the mechanical action of the rollers and added heat. There are different types of foot massager, including non-electrical, shiatsu foot massager, full boot massager and a water foot spa massager.

Ther rollers and heat mimic a manual massage but is more convenient as you don’t have to have someone else there to do it for you. Foot massagers are great for elderly people as they usually have a remote control so no need to keep bending to adjust the intensity and settings on the massage machine.

Are electric foot massagers good for you?

Yes they are but you do have to be careful if you suffer from neuropathy due to diabetes. The poor circulation associated with diabetes can make it difficult to feel if the intensity of the massage is too fierce. Though these massage machines are very safe. It is important to be aware that injury, even small injury can cause a lot of problems for a person with diabetes.

That being said, there is no reson not to use a foot massager if you have diabetes as long as you are aware of what type of massage you choose.

Many of these machines have an automatic shut off so if you drift off to sleep, which is common, the machine will shut down so you won’t end up with an hour long massage or longer whilst you have a nap!

Foot Massagers Help Circulation

Do foot massagers help circulation for diabetics?

Diabetes may cause nerve damage over time. This is usually called diabetic neuropathy (“disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness.”).

Neuropathy can cause pain, pins and needles and tingling which can make you lose the feeling in your feet. Due to numbness you may not be aware if you injure or cut your foot. If not treated this can lead to infection which may take longer to heal due to the problems with circulation in the foot.

So, yes a vibrating foot massager is great for people with diabetes. It increases blood flow, which is vital for diabetes and is obviously relaxing and pleasant to use.

Plus exercising the feet is great to try to keep circulation as healthy as possible given the underlying health issues associated with diabetes.

Do foot massagers help circulation for arthritis?

Arthritis is not specifically a circulatory issue. It is joint inflammation. However, research has indicated increasing blood flow around joints can be beneficial.

Therefore, yes foot massagers are very effective at increasing circulation for people suffering from arthritis in their feet. A gentle massage is great for pain relief and a daily ten minute foot massage will be beneficial.

Do foot massagers help circulation for Raynaud’s in your feet?

Raynaud’s disease is caused by the blood vessels in the hands or feet overreacting to cold. This can cause pain and a numb feeling in the toes and foot.

It isn’t usually a serious disorder but itcan be painful especially when the toes warm up as this can cause a throbbing sensation which is unpleasant.

Using a foot massager daily can help with circulation and therefore reduce pain and discomfort.

Are foot massagers good for Chilblains on your feet?

Chilblains are caused by poor blood circulation on exposure to cold. The skin may become itchy, red and swollen with a burning sensation. The toes especially, can be very tender to touch.

You have to be careful as with any areas of poor circulation if any injury occurs. Poor circulation means the blood flow to that area is compromised. Therefore, if you have an injury or infection it can take longer to heal which could become chronic if not managed effectively.

Can you use a foot massager too much?

Most experts advise a ten to fifteen minute massage daily. A foot massager usually has settings for specific types and duration of massage so they are very easy to use.

If you do suffer from diabetes or Raynauds you should be aware of any injury you already have on your feet. The accompanying numbness can cause you to massage or exercise longer than is beneficial for your feet.


  • Effect of Hand and Foot Massage Therapy on Psychological Factors and EEG Activity in Elderly People Requiring Long-Term Care: A Randomized Cross-Over Study (source)
  • Foot Reflexotherapy Induces Analgesia in Elderly Individuals with Low Back Pain: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Pilot Study (source)
  • Revisiting reflexology: Concept, evidence, current practice, and practitioner training. (source)
  • Joint blood flow is more sensitive to inflammatory arthritis than oxyhemoglobin, deoxyhemoglobin, and oxygen saturation (source)