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Reflexology for a Dancers Feet
Flirtingly glimpsed from beneath a long skirt or peeking from the end of harem pants, the feet of a dancer – though not the obvious focus – play an important part.
Our feet are a complex collection of 26 bones and 33 joints in a network of 126 muscles, ligaments, and nerves. On average we spend four hours a day on our feet and take between 8,000 and 10,000 steps. Compared to the rest of our body, our feet are very small and every step puts about 50% more than our body weight on them. In an average day our feet support a combined force equal to several hundred tons. In addition to supporting our bodies, our feet act as shock absorbers and move us forward, helping to balance and adjust our body on uneven surfaces.
Taking these facts into consideration we should not be surprised that our feet are vulnerable to injuries. Some factors that can increase the risk of injury are:
o Inexperience – beginners can be vulnerable to injury because they don’t have the skills to meet the physical demands of their chosen dance style. Follow the instructions of your teacher.
o Poor fitness – weak muscles are more likely to tear when challenged or stretched. Gradually increased progressions will improve your fitness and muscle strength.
o Poor technique – for example, bringing your foot down to the floor with more force than necessary can injure soft tissue and bone.
o Poor posture – weak muscles in the back and abdomen increase the risk of injury to all areas of the body including the spine and legs.
o Fatigue – a tired dancer tends to lose form. Falls and injuries caused by sloppy technique are more likely.
o Hazardous environment: worn or ripped carpet, hard floor, uneven floor, spilled liquids, or objects close to the dance area.
o Over work – dancing too long or too often can lead to a wide range of overuse injuries, particularly to the tendons and bones. Shin splints and stress fractures in the feet are common dance-related overuse injuries.
o Failure to rest an injury – returning to dance before an existing injury has healed can aggravate the condition. For example, injured knee ligaments may tear.
Some of the most common injuries are:
o Sprains and strains – muscles and ligaments can be overstretched or twisted. The knee and ankle are especially vulnerable.
o Stress fractures – dance moves that require force and repetition, such as dancing on concrete or any very hard surface, may cause small breaks in the bones of the foot and ankle.
o Tendonitis – painful inflammation of a tendon (connective tissue that anchors muscle to bone).
o Blisters – poorly fitting shoes that rub can cause blisters on the feet and toes.
o Toenail injuries – poorly fitting shoes that crowd the toes may lead to bruising of the toenails or ingrown toenails.
o Impact injuries – such as bruises, caused by falling over, bumping into another dancer or tripping over props.
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is the physical act of systematic manual stimulation through variable pressure of the reflexes located in the hands and feet.
Concrete evidence of the practice of reflexology in ancient times is shown in a wall painting depicting the practice of hand and foot reflexology in the tomb of Ankhmahor (highest official after the Pharaoh) at Saqqara, dating from about 2330 B.C. (before common era)
Before this discovery, it was believed that reflexology had ancient origins and was thought to have developed alongside the ancient Chinese practices of acupuncture. Similarly, North American Indian medicine men are believed to manipulate and stimulate the feet as a part of their healing practice.
Modern Reflexology was popularized by Eunice Ingham, a physical therapist, who brought Reflexology to the American public and the non-medical community, as well as Naturopaths, Chiropodists, Osteopaths, Massage Therapists and Physiotherapists until her death in 1974.
What can you expect from a Reflexology treatment?
Reflexology is a non-invasive, drug-free therapy. Your practitioner will take a medical history before treatment. You will never be asked to disrobe but will be asked to remove your shoes and socks. While seated in a comfortable chair you will receive a therapeutic foot soak with an aromatherapy component if you like. The practitioner will begin with relaxation techniques followed by applying firm but gentle pressure to each of the reflex points in the hands and feet. Many clients find this to be deeply relaxing and take a short nap during treatment which will last approximately 45 minutes. After treatment it is advised that you drink plenty of fresh water to help flush toxins from your body and that you eat lightly for the rest of the day.
Through Reflexology we can care for our feet and entire body, bringing it into balance and promoting good health. Providing more than pain relief, Reflexology has been shown to enhance your body’s ability to heal more quickly, and help increase stamina, providing more energy and less injury.
The staff at Inner Rhythms Healing Arts is committed to healing and preventing injury. We are highly trained, certified, licensed (where applicable), and insured.
We have extensive stage and theatre performance experience, knowing first-hand the problems and injuries that can arise from working ‘on stage’.
We are happy to come to your office or studio for Reflexology and can arrange to be available for rehearsals or performance events.
Because pain is unpredictable, our therapists can usually see you at our clinic the day you call. We accept all major credit/debit cards, and look forward to working with you.
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