Bristol Fashion Week Day 4: Importance of massage and reflexology for dancers

The weekend is upon us and while the rest of the world relaxes, we are full steam ahead prepping another 4 shows. On the subject of relaxation, I stopped by at the pamper zone in The Mall to chat with our BFW reflexologist Fiona Reed, about the importance of massage and reflexology for dancers.

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Can you tell us a bit about your background? How long have you been a dance teacher and reflexologist?

I am an ex-professional dancer and currently teach ballet and jazz for local Bristol schools and have done for about 15 years. I am also a clinical reflexologist for 18 years, specialising in women’s health, fertility, maternity and  more general reflexology which incorporates working with dancers, athletes and competitors.

What exactly is reflexology?

Reflexology is a precisely defined form of treatment based on the principle that the anatomy of the body is reflected in miniature reflex zones on the feet. By using specific techniques of holds and pressure, healing is both initiated and accelerated in the corresponding area of the body. Sometimes the body is in a state of imbalance following illness, injury or stress and energy pathways are blocked, preventing the body from functioning properly. Reflexology helps restore and maintain the body’s natural equilibrium and encourages healing.

What is sports massage?

A sports massage is ideal to treat injuries as well as a preventative treatment dealing with the health of muscle and connective tissue. Range of movement, tone and symmetry, balance of muscle and quality of posture. Sports massage works deep in the muscles, realigning the muscle fibres and connective tissues, flushing away the toxins.

What would you say the key benefits of reflexology are for dancers?

Dance can be an extremely physically demanding activity – training, rehearsals and performances can all take their toll on physical health and emotional wellbeing. Reflexology has many benefits from increasing blood circulation to injured areas, bringing in oxygen, nutrients, minerals, enzymes and hormones, whilst also removing toxins and waste products generated by extended muscle exertion. It helps support the body’s natural ability to heal itself and promote a faster recovery. Good blood flow is essential for supplying muscles with oxygen and can assist in preventing cramps, spasms, aches and pains associated with extended exercise. It can also help speed up recovery from specific injuries common to dancers such as sprains, shin splints, back pain, joint inflammation,hamstring pulls, bone injuries, bursitis, tendonitis and heel pain. It also promotes deep relaxation, which can help improve sleep and ease stress and anxiety.

What are the key benefits of sports massage for dancers?

Sports massage should play an important part in the life of any dancer or athlete, whether they are injured or not. Benefits of massage are physically, physiological and psychological. It can help maintain the body to be in better condition, prevent injury and loss of mobility, cure and restore mobility to injured muscle tissue and boost performance extending your life as a dancer. It’s great for pain reduction and relaxation and can promote your range of motion and flexibility. It is also good for preventing acute injuries such as muscle tears as well as chronic injuries stemming from wear and tear.

If you’d like to contact Fiona for an informal and confidential chat regarding any issues you have, you can call her on 0117-9496543 or email fiona.angels@hotmail.com

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