"Cricket Feet" Is The Self-Soothing Habit That Can Help You Fall Asleep

You may already do this.

How "cricket feet" can help you wind down at night, according to an expert.
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Nothing helps you get comfy in bed quite like a round of “cricket feet.” The act of rubbing your toes together, just like a little cricket, is a quirky self-soothing habit that can actually help you fall asleep. And with a casual 69 billion views on TikTok, it seems to be an adorably universal experience.

There’s a legit reason behind the motion. Turns out that the feet are full of nerve endings and an array of acupressure points that, when stimulated, are known to help regulate and calm your central nervous system, says Dr. Eileen Li, PT, DPT, L.Ac, a licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, and physical therapist practicing at Anew Integrative Acupuncture. Essentially, doing cricket feet give your dogs a much-needed massage at the end of the day — and one that just so happens to hit all the right acupressure points needed for relaxation.

On TikTok, @notyouraversagethrpst is one of the many creators who has posted about cricket feet. In her comments, one person wrote, “I’m in shock seeing all these people doing this. I didn’t know it had a name. Been doing it my whole life.” Another wrote, “I’m doing it right now” and someone else said, “It’s the only way I can fall asleep.”

Here’s why it’s so soothing: “Foot rubbing, also known as foot massage, is a form of relaxation and stress relief,” Li tells Bustle. “It can help alleviate tension, improve blood circulation, and provide a sense of comfort and well-being.” Cricketing your feet is a type of self-soothing habit thanks to how repetitive it is, she says, and it’s one that helps release feel-good hormones that alleviate stress.

According to Li, there are two specific acupressure points on your feet that are related to relaxation. The first is called the LV3 or Liver 3 located on the top of your foot between your first and second toes that you just so happen to massage while cricketing your feet together. There’s also a grounding spot under the ball of the foot located in a depression between the second and third toes called the KD1 or Kidney 1 that’s often involved in the cricket motion, too.

Before bed, you can get in there with your hands and massage each point individually or together for one to two minutes as part of your wind-down routine — or you can get cozy and try the cricket feet method. Who knew the insect was such a wellness icon?

Studies referenced:

Field, T. (2005). Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413. doi: 10.1080/00207450590956459.

Jang, SH. (2009). Effects of self-foot reflexology on stress, fatigue and blood circulation in premenopausal middle-aged women. J Korean Acad Nurs. doi: 10.4040/jkan.2009.39.5.662.

Wang, WL. (2020). Effect of Foot Reflexology Intervention on Depression, Anxiety, and Sleep Quality in Adults: A Meta-Analysis and Metaregression of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020 Sep 15;2020:2654353. doi: 10.1155/2020/2654353. PMID: 33014101; PMCID: PMC7512096.

Tang, A. [Updated 2023 Aug 8]. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Foot Nerves. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537292/


Dr. Eileen Li, PT, DPT, L.Ac, licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, licensed physical therapist practicing at Anew Integrative Acupuncture