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Why Foreplay Starts With the Feet

A foot rub is a wonderful foreplay strategy that has health benefits way beyond being a sexual stimulus. Learn why — and how — from Drs. Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz, the bestselling authors of YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner’s Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty.

Ask anyone to define foreplay, and you’ll likely get different answers from men and women. Women may say foreplay includes things like kind words, romantic gestures, and an offer to wash the dishes. Men? Use your imagination. A wonderful foreplay strategy that shouldn’t be used solely as a preamble to sex and that has health benefits way beyond being a sexual stimulus is a foot rub.

A good foot rub works for body and mind because:

  • It elevates levels of oxytocin, which are the hormones that make you feel warm and fuzzy (it’s the same hormone that a mother’s brain secretes when she’s breast-feeding).
  • It causes arousal, as the foot contains its own set of sexual nerves.
  • It stimulates lymphatic drainage. Massage helps drain waste material out of your system.

How to do it:

1. Clean up. To make your partner comfortable, clean his or her feet with a warm washcloth or in a shallow basin of warm water.

2. Use the right lotion — one scented with lavender, which is perceived as an aphrodisiac by both men and women.

3. Do the whole foot. In reflexology (which shares some philosophical roots with acupuncture), the foot is seen as a metaphor for the body. The big toe is seen as the top of the head, and the sensitive area at the base of the toes represents the neck. The inner sole of the foot is the belly, while the outer sole is the spine. If an area is bothering your partner, spend some time there to get the good vibes flowing.*

4. Work your way up. We store a lot of tension in our ankles, so move the foot around passively to help relax the joint. Start with the heel and push up toward the leg; pull it down and work it side to side. On the bottoms of the feet, use firm pressure with your thumbs (too light and it’ll be ticklish). Use slow, deep pressure, and work the whole foot and in between toes. Pull each toe for ten seconds. Rub the calves from ankle toward knee. Since the calves and feet are farthest from the heart and fighting gravity, it is challenging for them to move lymphatic waste along. You want to be moving in that direction anyway, and now you have an excuse. Even if your sexual advances have the opposite effect, you can be proud: Professional massage therapists consider sleep or drooling a sign of a job well done.

* While you’re down there, look in between your partner’s toes; that’s where some of the deadliest melanomas appear.

Michael F. Roizen, M.D., is a New York Times bestselling author and cofounder and originator of the very popular website. He is professor and chair of the Division of Anesthesia, Critical Care Medicine, and Pain Management, and chief wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic. Mehment C. Oz, M.D., is also a New York Times bestselling author and the health expert of The Oprah Winfrey Show. He is professor and vice-chairman of surgery at New York Presbyterian Columbia University and the medical director of the Integrated Medicine Center and the director of the Heart Institute. They are the coauthors of YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner’s Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty (Copyright © 2006 by Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and Oz Works LLC, f/s/o Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.).





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