Mankind's most constant complaint, next to an aching back, is that of tired feet. The Greeks had a word for it (kam≈çn tous podas); and they also had a remedy, a form of massage to ease the pain. Today this type of massage is known as friction. Friction is a circular form of kneading in which the skin around small joints is slowly rolled over the underlying tissue by either the tips of the fingers or the thumb to produce soothing relief.
Friction, like most massage, aims at repairing the results of overexertion after the damage is done. To prepare a muscle beforehand for action, there is one form of massage (often misused) called tapotement. With tapotement, you slap or hack or beat a muscle, particularly large ones like those of the thigh, calf or arm, with the fingers or fist. The purpose is to stimulate the muscle, not to soothe it. And it is important to note that if you should try pounding a stiff or sore muscle, it will only make the pain all the worse.
One more general precaution regarding all forms of massage should also be remembered. While rubbing alleviates the common run of muscular malaise, it should never be applied directly on a wart or other skin growth, over a cut or inflammation or during a fever or infection. Otherwise, massage is a muscle's best friend.
Clasping the foot with both hands, move the thumbs in tiny circles around each joint of each toe for one half minute. The skin under the thumbs should roll over the underlying tissue. Then, with the same thumb action, progress from the toes up the foot to the ankle. Always work around the joints or bony prominences, never over them. This massage is done slowly with moderate pressure for 10 minutes.
June 26, 1955
With the hands and wrists relaxed, the fingers spread about a half inch apart, rapidly hack the leg muscle with the edge of the little finger, letting the other three fingers meet the little one. The motion of the hands should come entirely from the wrists, and only about as much force is needed as if you were playing the piano. Move quickly back and forth over the muscle. Continue the massage for five to seven minutes.