We researched how Reflexology can help Runners and are pleased to present some very positive findings.
Research provided by Monash University, Australia, shows that reflexology can actually remove lactic acid from the legs four times faster than a regular massage. This greatly benefits runners, especially marathon runners when they start to get into those last five miles. With that increase in circulation the body receives greater delivery of oxygen and nutrients. Reflexology can also reduce muscle stiffness, allow you to run longer without experiencing muscle fatigue or cramps, and help your body recover from soft tissue sprains, strains and tears by relaxing your muscles.
Running is hard on the body, it works all systems in the body not just cardiovascular, but also circulatory, respiratory endocrine, muscular, integumentary and lymphatic. Reflexology can help to stimulate and balance all these systems in your body. There are about 7,800 nerves in each foot, and each one of these nerves corresponds to a gland, organ and muscle in the body so by stimulating and massaging these nerve points will have a corresponding effect on the body.
(The Reflexology Foot Map shows where the foot reflexes map to your body).
Looking after your muscles and preventing and recovering from injury is a priority. Reflexology is used to speed up recovery time after a run, or after an injury.
Other benefits of reflexology for runners:
- Increases blood flow which can reduce recovery time
- Boosts the immune system
- Maintain/increase circulation of blood, lymph and energy, encouraging all systems to return to a state of balance and harmony
- Increases removal of toxins, such as uric acid & lactic acid from the body, producing better endurance, stamina
- Decreases cortisol levels (the stress hormone)
- Decreases blood pressure
- Decreases anxiety and nervousness which we face before and during the race or a game
- Helps with pain reduction
- Helps to increase the quality of sleep by increasing serotonin levels
- Increases carbon dioxide exhaled from the nose by 9% which helps to lower your pulse rate
- Improves focus & concentration
- Beneficial for post-operative recovery & pain reduction as well as lessening the use of post-operative analgesics
- Reduces inflammation
- and of course…it pampers the feet!
Even though the whole body is constantly moving during running, the focus of the impact is on the feet. In fact, the force exerted on the feet during running is the equivalent of 10x our body weight. That means exposing our feet, which are a relatively small part of our body, to hundreds of pounds. Although the rest of the body, absorbs some of the impact – especially the knees – our feet deserve at least some attention and help. This is another reason to try reflexology.
Throughout the years of wear and tear your feet start to build tension, lactic acid, stiffness, and joint pain which can lead to plantar fasciitis, neuroma, or tendonitis, heel spurs, bunions. These conditions may require surgery and other medical procedures, but what we are starting to see today is an increase in people using complimentary therapies alongside or instead of conventional medicine such as Reflexology, with some excellent results.
Timing of Reflexology Treatments
Reflexology treatments last 45 minutes to an hour 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.
When looking at post-race recovery the best days for having a treatment are on a rest day and in the first four days after the race. Stress impairs healing in the first 96 hours after damage and so reducing stress will allow for maximum repair.
Look for a qualified and reputably trained reflexology through your country’s Reflexology Association, e.g. through the AOR (Association of Reflexology in the UK), or the IIR (International Institute of Reflexology). Regular reflexology treatments are recommended to maintain good health and optimum balance.