How Can Reflexology Benefit Athletes?
Reflexology is a complementary therapy renowned for its non-invasive techniques that promote relaxation and general wellbeing. Much like massage, however, reflexology can be a tactical tool for athletes to help them improve their performance and decrease recovery time after injuries. Often referred to as Sports Reflexology, it is a valuable tool for athletes to utilise. Here are just a few reasons why reflexology should be a staple part of a sports person's routine.
Reflexology Increases Blood Flow and Circulation
Good circulation, or blood flow, is imperative to athletes. This is because it transports oxygen supplies to organs, as well as promoting cell growth, transporting white blood cells and much more. Particularly when an athlete is injured, the increase of circulation and blood flow to the affected area is a high priority, as it helps to remove toxins, bring in nutrients and support the body in self-healing. In general, circulation is important because it keeps you healthy, supports all of your bodily functions and helps to remove waste from the body.
Reflexology Helps Heal Sporting Injuries Faster
Due to its ability to increase circulation, Reflexology helps the process of healing and decreases inflammation. This happens because the extra nutrients, oxygen and other materials that are transported to the injured site and in turn, promote healing and regeneration. This process can also help to prevent pain felt after athletic performance, as well as cramping, muscle aches, muscle spasms and more. Less healing time means that athletes have less downtime, keeping the time without training and strengthening to a minimum.
Improves and Promotes Lymphatic Drainage
Reflexology enhances the natural effects of the body’s lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for clearing waste matter from bodily tissue. It aids the immune system and communicates with all parts of the body. This is vital for athletes because, during strenuous performance or training, the body produces lactic acid that has to be removed, so that healing and strengthening can occur. This also means that Reflexology aids post-performance recovery.
Reflexology is Relieves Fatigue and Promotes Sleep
One of the most vital bodily functions is sleep. For athletes, sleep is imperative as it aids recovery and healing, helps to improve memory function and improves reaction times. A systematic review (link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22310867/) concluded that Reflexology is a useful tool that relieves fatigue and promotes sleep. Numerous studies have also been conducted and have shown that Reflexology techniques help to reduce fatigue in patients with many different complex health issues.
The Technique of Reflexology Promotes Deep Relaxation
Not only has it been shown to decrease nervousness and aid sleep, but Reflexology also promotes a restful state for the body. A study looking at brain waves (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28779938/) post-treatment, has concluded that deep relaxation states can be achieved through the practice of Reflexology. For athletes, having a clear mind and well-performing body are some of the most important factors. Not only does Reflexology relax and release mental tension, but it also reduces physical tension, allowing athletes to prepare for big events and competitions.
No matter the sport or athletic activity that is undertaken, Reflexology provides unique and important benefits. Whether it be ahead of a performance, or as a regular part of training and recovery, Reflexology is a practice that all athletes should try. It’s non-invasive and has scientifically proven benefits; why wouldn’t you give it a go?