Reflexology can help reduce pain and speed up the overall recovery period for most sports injuries. The combination of increased blood circulation, increased nerve activity and a better functioning metabolism improves tissue regeneration and means that the body can repair itself and heal wounds faster. Whether you are a professional athlete, amateur sports person or regularly keep active to maintain fitness, incorporating reflexology into your regime can be extremely beneficial.
I have experience of working with golfers, runners, tennis players and enthusiastic hill and dog walkers! Many sports people use reflexology as a preventative treatment to maintain their physical health.
As our bodies age, our nerve endings become less sensitive in parts of our body, particularly in our extremities. Reflexology for pain relief and injury recovery has been connected with stimulating more than 7,000 different nervous endings in a single session. Stimulating nerves increases their function and reactivity, which in turn could interrupt or alter the way that you feel pain.
I use advanced spinal reflexology and mobilisation techniques combined with VRT (vertical reflex therapy), hot and cold stones, nerve reflexology work, skeletal systems points, essential oils and cranial sacral work to help clients obtain pain relief from injuries and to promote speedier tissue healing. I also use Elizabeth Jones Natural Skincare’s hand-crafted Comfrey Balm, which is nicknamed ‘knit bone’ for its superior wound, tissue and bone healing properties.
I have undertaken advanced training with Lynne Booth, who teaches sports and mobility reflexology and is Bristol City Football Club’s reflexologist.
Reflexology for sports recovery and healing
According to traditional Chinese medicine, when energy becomes blocked or stagnant in the body, injury and disease can occur. The aim of reflexology is to bring the body back into a perfect state of balance by allowing the energy to flow smoothly.
The relaxing effects of reflexology are vital at times of injury, where stress levels may be elevated and the player or athlete is not able to compete. The emotional and psychological impact of the injury should never be underestimated.
Reflexology supports the central nervous system and targets specific stress reflexes on the feet to bring about a deep state of relaxation and inner calm. The adrenal glands play an important role in any inflammatory conditions by producing glucocorticoids, the most abundant being cortisol (hydrocortisone). By using specific reflexology techniques on the adrenal gland reflex, a completely natural, but potent anti-inflammatory response is triggered.
Reflexology experiences of sportsmen
International athlete Steve Watson was left crippled after a horrific sports injury, his 2016 Olympic dream in tatters. He damaged several spinal discs and suffered severe muscle damage to his lower back, leaving him unable to bend, with severe mobility problems.
In October 2014, Steve undertook a course of reflexology upon the recommendation of Parnham Donyai, a successful sporting business entrepreneur. After eighteen months of little progress with conventional therapies, his recovery and mobility was dramatically improved once the regular reflexology treatments began. Within two weeks his pain was considerably better and within a month it was gone. Steve said: ‘Like many, prior to the reflexology treatment I was a real sceptic, and now I’m kicking myself for not trying it much earlier following my injury. I would strongly recommend alternative treatments to anyone who has been let down by conventional treatment. It totally worked for me and if it worked on me, it can work on anyone’.
Some very prominent PGA Tour Pros also use the ancient eastern healing therapy of reflexology. The list is extensive; with names such as, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, John Daly, Fred Funk, David Duval, Fred Couples and more. Fred Funk stated in a testimonial that reflexology has helped him deal with ‘over use injuries’ he has from playing golf.
Reflexology research into pain
Dr Carol Samuel, who trained as a reflexologist, undertook a series of studies and experiments into the treatment of acute pain as part of her PhD studies at the University of Portsmouth.
She established that people felt 40% less pain and were able to stand pain for 45% longer when reflexology was used as a method of pain relief. The study concluded that reflexology could be used successfully as an adjunct to traditional pain relief and as a therapy it has much to offer performing athletes and sports people.