Reflexology holds many health benefits. Reflexology can improve athletic performance. It is a gentle, highly effective way to accelerate healing in the body and it may be useful to bring relief from performance related anxiety.
As athletes look for that "EDGE" reflexology may make the difference between tenths of a second at the finish line. Reflexology can target specific body parts. A simple application of pressure to a specific reflex point on the foot can bring immediate relief and sometimes profound healing to the area in the body related to that reflex point. For example, if you're recovering from a dislocated shoulder, applying pressure to the shoulder reflex point on your foot will bring relief and accelerate healing in the shoulder! It's a wonder more athletes haven't added this simple, relaxing treatment to their body maintenance schedule.
Reflexology works with the meridian system in the body. The meridians are vertical lines of energy that run between the feet and the brain, and the hands and the brain. Stimulating the reflex points in the hands and feet opens these energy channels which allows the body to function optimally with the greatest of ease. Reflexology also works to increase circulation in all of the body's organs, glands and tissues (including muscle and joint tissue) thereby bringing in beneficial oxygen, as well as more efficiently removing the buildup of unwanted toxins. It makes sense then, that reflexology works to reduce inflammation and speed repair of damaged tissues.
Another way that reflexology benefits the athlete is through it's innate ability to restore mental and emotional well being. When the practitioner applies pressure to the reflex points, the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is stimulated. The PNS is responsible for bringing your body's stress-response system back into balance by boosting the function of the immune system and the endocrine system. The endocrine system regulates hormone secretions-- including the hormone cortisol which gets released into the blood stream when our bodies/brains register a stressful event. Too much cortisol adversely affects glucose metabolism, blood pressure, immune function, the inflammatory response, cognitive function, bone density, muscle tissue and more. It is important to activate the PNS so that the body can metabolize excess cortisol. Competitive sports are often venues for high stress situations. Reflexology offers the win-win combination of helping the mind to stay calm and helping the body to function optimally, with the end result being improved athletic performance.
The reflexology treatment on its own is very relaxing, but now you know that the benefits last longer than the hour spent in the zero-gravity chair having your feet massaged. Consider including regular reflexology treatments as part of your wellness and fitness regime. I recommend monthly sessions for maintenance, and weekly or daily sessions to address specific areas of concern.
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