Reflexology for Runners
I’ve recently decided to set myself a challenge. Over the next few weeks you might see me around the local lanes, as I start the ‘Couch to 5K’ challenge.
If you’ve not heard of it, Couch to 5k is a running plan for beginners, motivating you from a gentle jog three times a week to a full 5k run in around 9 weeks. Running is a popular exercise, not least because it improves your physical and mental wellbeing, and of course is fairly inexpensive. You may want to splash out on a decent pair of running shoes though – taking care of your feet from start to finish.
Exercise is known to be great for your mental health due to the simple benefits of fresh air and a healthier body. You’ll feel better about yourself – which lifts your mood and destresses your mind, with the added benefit of helping you sleep better – all part of a happier, healthier mindset.
Physically, running affects many parts of the body. The muscular and cardiovascular systems are the obvious winners – but so are the endocrine and lymphatic systems. Your whole body gets a workout, but the biggest impact is, of course, on your feet.
Runners feet – and reflexology
Of course, there are downsides to running as a sport. It puts an incredible amount of pressure on your feet and legs – and has an effect throughout your whole body. As a qualified reflexologist, I am naturally interested in any exercise that involves so much impact on our feet. I regularly treat runners – and can see the benefits that sessions can have on their recovery time.
How? Well, reflexology uses massage to reduce tension in the body and increase blood flow. Running, or any exercise, creates a build up of lactic acid in the muscles, which makes them feel sore. With your blood flow increased and lymphatic system optimised, your body can remove toxins faster, including the lactic acid.
Reflexology encourages your body to heal itself faster and reduce the soreness in muscles. Treatments will help release the stiffness and joint pain in feet and legs, reducing the likelihood of other running related issues such as tendonitis. The faster we can remove it, the better your recovery – and your enthusiasm for your next run.
While it’s great that your body is working hard to clear out the toxins, it’s not something you may be as aware of. What you will notice is that the soothing, gentle pressure on your feet promotes a deep feeling of relaxation. Runners have reported it feeling as relaxing as a deep tissue massage – and definitely as enjoyable.
Reflexology for your health
Reflexology improves the performance of our circulation and lymphatic systems – which in turn keeps our immune system functioning well. All of which means that we can fight off colds and other illnesses, whilst out running along the country lanes in the unpredictable British weather.
Studies have shown that those undergoing regular treatments can stand for longer and feel less pain. Reflexology doesn’t cure illnesses, but it has been shown to be an effective method of pain relief. As a new runner, reflexology treatments will help me to ease sore and aching muscles – however in recent years professional runners have been using it regularly as part of their training regime.
Reflexology for professional runners
If you are training for a race or marathon, regular reflexology treatments can be highly beneficial. The reduction in stress on the body will have the effect of reducing stress in the mind. This, and the resulting improvements in sleep, faster muscle repair and your general sense of wellbeing can all lead to a better performance.
Keep an eye on my Facebook page for reports on how my Couch to 5K Challenge is going, and how reflexology is helping me. In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the benefits of reflexology – for running or any other sport – then please do get in touch.