For as long as I can remember, my feet have been my body’s number one source of pain.
Still, I’m far from someone who can complain about working on their feet day and night. Sure, I have had my fair share of traveling from here to there without the car, reaching cabinets by standing on my tiptoes, and doing house and yard work that requires me to be standing for a number of hours at one time, but, throughout the course of my life thus far, I’ve rarely on my feet for an unimaginable period of time. My career, in sales, doesn’t require heavy lifting, flexing, or even stair climbing – though the flight and a half to get to my office is even pushing it for me at times. Heck, getting myself up and off the couch after a long day is a feat for my feet in and of itself.
I’ll add this too, because I see it worth including – I am not overweight. Nor am I a fitness model. I am a female, mid 30s, with a normal build. I am 5’4” and weigh about 135 pounds (140, give or take a few pounds, if it’s been an indulgent week). I am in good standing with my health and physicals. I have had one normal pregnancy, and a second that culminated in a caesarian section. I have recovered fully and healthily from both. I am a normal woman – with INCREDIBLE foot pain.
My chronic foot pain started in my early teens. There wasn’t a particular accident that caused it; and instead, I think it was a combination of being slight flat-footed and running long distance track that did the long-term damage. I would experience a really intense burring on my heels and arches after jogging and, soon after, simply from just walking around. I would experience intense tingling and numbness in the ball of my foot. My toes would often swell, too – something I first associated with having too small of sneakers. The first doctor I went to thought it was caused by a cyst or tumor in my foot (which I had removed when I was 15). They referred me to a podiatrist, who then referred me to an orthopedic nerve foot specialist.
I’ve had MRIs, CT scans, Cortisone Injections, and a nerve test (if you’ve ever done this, you know it is NOT fun at all!). After several misdiagnoses, podiatrists concluded that I suffered from neuroma, which is basically a benign growth of nerve tissue… an intense ‘pinched nerve’ or nerve tumor, if you will. If you ask me, though, the pain was far from anything that I would consider benign.
Treatments in my case included:
- Investing in gel and foam shoe pads to take pressure off the balls of the feet
- Avoiding high heeled shoes whenever possible
- Making the switch to custom orthotics
- Resting and massaging my feet CONSTANTLY
My foot pain led me to have podiatric surgery by the time I was 27. The procedure, which removed the nerve tumor, was quick, painless, and, within a few weeks, some of my pain was alleviated. But it’s never truly gone away. Imagine – suffering after surgery.
I have dealt with this for the better part of my life now. I follow all of the rules, I buy the unattractive shoes with the ‘wide toe box’ for extra comfort, I have given up daily, long distance running (against my will) because I simply cannot bare the pain anymore.
Prescription meds and creams have assisted in my treatment. And bless my husband for the endless amount of foot massages he at least seemingly doesn’t mind administering. I am not cured or completely out of pain by any means, but let me tell you: the “Reflex 4” Foot & Calf Shiatsu Massager has definitely answered some of my deepest, desperate prayers to the foot gods.
However, I did my research first:
- I first started looking into home foot massagers when a relative mentioned investing in the Belmint Shiatsu foot Massager.
First of all, what is shiatsu foot massage (I asked this because, if you asked me, shiatsu sounded like an appetizer on the sushi bar menu)? Shiatsu is a soothing style of massage designed to take pressure and pain away from the feet. Whenever any part of the body is massaged, the blood circulation there increases. Toxins are carried away from that area by the blood. By stimulating the blood flow in our feet with shiatsu, the blood is rejuvenated, thus regenerating and cleansing the feet and relieving discomfort.
The neat thing about the Belmist massager is that it has several different modes to choose from depending on your individual preference. Belmist uses infrared light to create a heating function that can be toggled on and off – which is a big plus for me since my feet tend to get cold often. It also uses air pressure to squeeze your entire feet… much like a blood pressure machine: stimulating blood circulation and varying the overall intensity of the massage (there are five levels to choose from).
However, after doing some research, I found that the power settings sounded a bit too intense for my liking (I often need a softer massage). The Belmist also operates using a rather short power cord – not an ideal situation for me as all my homes plugs are a decent distance from our sitting areas.
- I next looked at the Miko Shiatsu Home Foot Massager, which comes equipped with a washable cloth cover (very necessary for stinky-footers), deep kneading and foot soothing functions (again, five different levels of massage intensity), and toggled heat options. However, after reading customer reviews, I see that the machine doesn’t seem to actually massage the entire foot.
Numerous customers complained that barely any pressure is put on the heel of the foot, even on the most intense massage setting. Instead, a “weak roller” is used to stimulate mostly the toe area. I, personally, am in need of an all-over shiatsu experience. I want to go all-or-nothing when it comes to foot care, and a machine that doesn’t encompass my entire foot didn’t seem like the best option for me.
- I did quite some research on the Zyllion ZMA-21-BK Deep-Tissue Shiatsu Massager as well. Unlike Belmist and Miko, this product works off of three massage pre-sets and three intensity levels – gentle rolling with pressure, faster rolling with more intense air pressure, and bottom-rolling-only massage options.
While I was definitely on the verge of checking out with this item in my cart, too many reviews mentioned that the machine squeezes the foot to the point of being painful. As someone with neuropathy in the feet, my life revolves around pinching nerves and tightness – I became too skeptical of purchasing a product that would ultimately do more harm than good, and remind me all too well of the agony that I have been in for far too long.
With slight skepticism, and with ever-aching feet, I stumbled (no pun intended) upon the “Reflex 4” foot and calf massager. At a reasonable listing price and glowing reviews, I thought it too good to be true from the start. But, man, my dogs are now howling with praise!
I decided to purchase the “Reflex 4” Foot & Calf Shiatsu Massager With Patented Figure-8 Technology for several reasons. I first realized that the Reflex 4 machine includes calf stimulation – something that I find is often overlooked when it comes to home foot massage machines. On top of that, Reflex 4 is equipped with CirQlation: a technology unlike anything else, that is developed by Human Touch mechanics. The result is an amazing, life-like massage that emulates the expert hands and techniques of highly trained massage therapists. As I mentioned before, my husband has given me more foot massages than I can count. The Reflex 4 really feels like a trip to the salon, as opposed to a cold, mechanical ball gyrating against the bottom of my foot. The soft yet firm pressure is both rewarding and soothing.
The Reflex 4 has four auto-massage options: Shiatsu 1, Shiatsu 2, Relax, and Refresh. I would say that the massage, overall, is moderately intense, and provides a cleansing, deep tissue experience, without causing any pain of discomfort. My feet and calves feel rejuvenated, relaxed, and comfortably loose after use. After hopping off the machine, I’m comfortable enough to brave the stairs without wincing.
Furthermore, my feet and calves have enough ROOM to comfortably be encompassed by the Reflex 4. There is full and total contact without smushing and squishing. The massage rollers extend up to 13” and reach a men’s 14 shoe size – the perfect excuse for my husband to use Reflex 4 as well.
Surgeries – orthotics – meds – endless remedies. I can honestly say that no product has given me chronic foot pain relief quite like Reflex 4 has. Since purchasing, I cannot recommend it enough and cannot USE it enough! I recommend it to anyone suffering from painfully sore feet, ankles, and heels; anyone with chronic foot pain and in need of post-surgery relief.
Look no further. The “Reflex-4” Foot & Calf Shiatsu Massager with Patented Figure-8 Technology has been the answer to my chronic foot pain prayers.