Reflexology for Runners
Do you want to:
Run longer without muscle fatigue or cramping?
Reduce muscle stiffness?
Prevent or help your body to recover from soft tissue sprains, strains and tears by relaxing your muscles?
Then try Reflexology!
Some studies have shown that lactic acid can be eliminated from the legs faster by way of reflexology than by way of standard sports massage. This greatly benefits marathon runners especially, when they start to get into those last five miles.
Benefits of reflexology for runners include:
- Improved blood circulation, promoting oxygen supply
- Pain-reducing effects
- Removal of lactic acid
- Calming effects
- Blood pressure reduction
- Promotion of better sleep
- Increase in carbon dioxide exhaled from the nose which helps to lower the pulse rate
- Helps with cholesterol reduction
- Improves focus & concentration
- Can be beneficial for post-operative recovery and pain reduction
Running affects the body as a whole. It's not only an intensive cardiovascular workout, but also involves other systems in the body: circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, muscular, integumentary and lymphatic.
Reflexology can help to balance and relax these body’s systems. By applying thumb and finger pressure to reflex points on the hands and feet one can access internal parts of the body. The pressure applied to the reflex points produces referral sensations that balance a particular system or part of the body. I learnt that the foot contains about 7,800 nerves. Each one of these nerves corresponds to different parts of the body. By stimulating these nerves one can stimulate each part of the body.
As my reflexologist explained, the idea behind Reflexology is that by working on the entire foot the Reflexologist is encouraging the body’s natural healing abilities to address the imbalances throughout the entire body, not just the area in pain at that moment. In this way it can help on a larger scale. This is especially helpful to runners, as it affects the body as a whole.
Recovery, Maintenance and Balance
Anyone who has tried running for some period of time understands how important recovery is, and how much effort one needs to make in order to keep the muscles and the body in good condition. Unfortunately most runners, if not all, face the challenges of injuries and recovering from them at some time or another. This is an area where reflexology can be very interesting, because it can help to manage pain and to accelerate recovery for after an event, after injury or after surgery.
Reflexology massage helps the body maintain health, balance and equilibrium. How? The body is divided into ten longitudinal zones running the entire length of the body. The feet and hands have zones divided in the same way and energy (or 'CHI' as it is known in Chinese medicine) is constantly flowing through these zones. Both the hands and the feet have reflex points which correspond to each structure in the body. When the energy flow becomes blocked the imbalance will manifest on a physical level as a pain and later as disease.¨
Reflexology treatment enhances the flow of energy, encouraging the body to heal itself and for the body systems to work again in unison.
Injuries do occur when participating in any sport, but the use of reflexology as well as conventional medicine, physiotherapy and massage may enhance healing and reduce healing time. The relaxing effects of Reflexology may help to combat the negative impact of stress which we face before and during the race or a game.
Help the feet!
Even though the whole body is constantly moving during running, the focus of the impact is on the feet.
We ask a lot of our feet when running, so it makes sense to give them some care, particularly with reflexology. It can also help with these painful foot conditions: Achilles tendonitis, Bunions, Heel Spurs, Neuromas, Plantar Fasciitis, arch pain and flat feet.
It helped me personally to improve a couple of conditions mentioned above. I learnt from my Reflexologist that practitioners are not treating a specific condition, instead they are helping the body to heal itself by enhancing the energy flow and helping the body systems to work again. Aparently, this is why it is such an excellent complementary therapy which can support and won’t interfere with other treatments taken at the same time.
When should I have the treatment?
Reflexology treatments are recommended to last 45 minutes and should be taken initially 2 days before a race. Treatments should be taken 1 day before the race once the "healing crisis" has been overcome. It is recommended to take these regularly under the instruction of a qualified therapist.
When going for a reflexology treatment it is also important to bring details of any medications or painkillers and it's best to wear clothes that allow access to the feet and lower leg.
Enjoy the treatment and don’t worry, this one won’t hurt too much!
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