Foot massage reflexology refers to the combination of foot massage and foot reflexology, which are different, but quite similar. As you will see later, using both of them together is the best way to get better sleep.
Lack of Sleep Will Make You Tired, Sick, and Dead
I’m not kidding. Unfortunately, potentially addictive drugs are oftentimes the primary treatment for sleeping problems. 
Ask yourself this: how many people have overdosed or committed suicide, when all they originally wanted was pain relief, so they could get a good night’s sleep?
Poor sleep causes stress.
Which in turn stimulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. That axis activation causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is known as the belly fat hormone, because it creates the storing of fat in the belly.
Additionally, the axis activation weakens the immune system and increases the chances of infections and inflammation. 
Lack of sleep can also increase blood pressure. 
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common cause of poor sleep, and is a risk indicator of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation. 
In a Japanese study, men were more likely to have a heart attack or stroke if they slept 6 hours, or less, per night. Women were not significantly at any greater risk. 
Another study found that people with insomnia are 39.8% more likely to develop depression.  Mental depression often leads to that big depression in the ground.
A small study of people over 60 years old found that they slept better when they did physical exercise.  Obviously, not everyone that age is able to do strenuous exercise. However, strenuous exercise is not required for improved health and sleep.
The study also mentioned that lack of sleep could lead to injuries from falling down, depression, and overall higher medical costs. That’s in addition to a reduced quality of life.
Heart Surgery Causes Insomnia Before and After Surgery
Anxiety and stress are probably universal when waiting for any major surgery.  After the surgery, you can add pain to the list.
A common result of stress, anxiety and pain is sleeplessness and poor-quality sleep. 
In a study of heart bypass surgery patients, massage therapy was successful in improving sleep. The presumption was that the patients’ poor sleep was the result of the heart operation.  Better sleep, and reduced anxiety and stress, is a good way to speed recovery and prevent complications.
Are Foot Massage and Foot Reflexology the Same Thing?
The simple answer is “No”.
Foot massage, or massage of any part of the body, is the physical rubbing of muscles, tendons and skin tissues to promote healing.
The massaging methods improves blood flow which speeds healing and reduces inflammation.
Massage also increases lymph movement, which removes toxins from the body. Lymph is a fluid full of infection killing white blood cells. This also speeds up the healing process.
Foot Reflexology is similar to Acupuncture, but without the needles. It is based upon the same energy system used in acupuncture. Reflexology presses on the same energy centers (reflex areas) used in acupuncture.
The reflex areas are connected by energy channels to all of the organs and parts of the body. The basic theory of acupuncture and reflexology is that there are energy blockages that are causing illnesses. So, by releasing the energy blockages, the illnesses go away.
I’m not an expert on this, but I think the approximately 7,000 nerve endings in the feet are also part of this energy system. So, when you press on those nerve endings you are signaling the related body parts.
You don’t have to understand the theory, or even believe that reflexology works, to feel better and sleep better.
Keep reading and you will see why you should consider using foot massage & reflexology for better sleep.
Sleep Research That Will Put You to Sleep
Most sleep studies are interested in six different sleep quality variables:
- Sleep quality. This is very subjective and hard to quantify.
- Sleep latency, refers to how long it takes for you to fall asleep.
- Sleep duration, is how many hours you actually sleep per night.
- Sleep efficiency, is a comparison between how many hours you spend in bed and how many hours you slept.
- Sleep disturbance, is anything that wakes you up or keeps you awake.
- Day time dysfunction, this is also very subjective, and it relates to being sleepy during the day. This is important, because sleepy people have more accidents. The quality of their work is reduced, and their quality of life is reduced.
A Foot Bath vs. Foot Reflexology for Better Sleep
In a study of 69 senior citizens it was found that a warm foot bath was just as good as a foot reflexology treatment in improving sleep. The foot bath improved sleep by 18% and the foot reflexology improved sleep by 22%. 
However, the Foot Bath did not improve Sleep Efficiency or the reduction in the use of sleep medications. It was effective in improving the other sleep variables.
Whereas, the Foot Reflexology treatment really only had significant improvement in the quality of sleep, and how fast they fell asleep (sleep latency).
The end result of the study was to recommend using both a warm foot bath and foot reflexology to get the best sleep possible.
Female Problems and Insomnia Treatments
Menopausal women were able to sleep better after 21 days of reflexology treatments. 
In a 5-day study, postpartum women were sleeping better after being treated with foot reflexology for 30 minutes per day. 
Gynecologic cancer patients reduced their fatigue, and slept better, when they soaked their feet in 106-108F degree water for 20 minutes every night. 
A study of 9 women, between 60 and 72 years old, had deeper and better-quality sleep after a full bath 1.5-2 hours before bed. 
Does A Full Bath Improve Sleep More Than A Foot Bath?
In a study comparing a full bath at 104F and a foot bath at 108F showed that both methods shortened the amount of time it took to fall asleep. 
However, the foot bath also improved the quality of sleep.
Not all studies agree with these results. A study of older people in Taiwan, did not show any improvement in sleep from using a foot bath before bedtime.  The conclusion was that more details about how long after the bath that bedtime was started needed to be investigated.
Can Music, Sedatives or Acupuncture Improve Sleep?
In a Chinese study, one group of insomniacs were given the sedative Alprazolam (Xanax). The other group was treated with foot reflexology. 
Both groups were statistically 100% effective in treating insomnia. However, you need a prescription for Alprazolam, because it can be dangerous to use it.
Another tiny study of only 10 people indicated that music was not effective in treating insomnia. The study also said that both acupuncture and reflexology improve the quality of sleep. 
Foot Massage & Reflexology: The Easy Way to Dreamy Sleep
I hope I haven’t put you to sleep yet, because we are just getting to the good stuff.
Most people can’t afford to get regular massages of any kind. But they can soak their feet. However, as I mentioned earlier, a warm foot bath with foot reflexology is more effective at creating deep, quality sleep.
So, it seems like a foot massager with a warm foot bath should do the trick. However, you don’t need a water foot bath, because it was the heating of the foot that is important (in addition to massage).
A warm water foot spa and massage machine is a great idea, if it fits your budget and personal preferences. But a dry heat foot massager is also an excellent idea.
What About A Shiatsu Massage Machine? Is It the Same as Reflexology?
Practically speaking, shiatsu is just the Japanese name for reflexology. That is a simplification, but you get the point. Shiatsu is a Japanese method that uses pressure on various parts of the body. It makes use of the same bodily energy system as reflexology and acupuncture.
So, when considering a foot massage machine purchase, the shiatsu term is commonly used instead of the reflexology term.
Resources and References
 Asltoghiri M, Ghodsi Z. The effects of Reflexology on sleep disorder in menopausal women. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2012;31(0):242–246