Flirtatiously glimpsed from under a long skirt or peeking out from the bottom of harem pants, a ballerina’s feet, though not the obvious focus, play an important role.
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 each step is 50% more than our body weight on them. On a typical day, our feet bear a combined force equivalent to several hundred tons. In addition to supporting our body, our feet act as shock absorbers and move us forward, helping to balance and adjust our body on uneven surfaces.
Given these facts, it should come as no surprise that our feet are vulnerable to injury. Some factors that can increase the risk of injury are:
o Inexperience: Beginners can be vulnerable to injury because they do not have the skills to meet the physical demands of the chosen dance style. Follow your teacher’s instructions.
o Poor physical condition: weak muscles are more likely to tear when challenged or stretched. Gradually increased progressions will improve your fitness and muscle strength.
o Bad technique: for example, putting the foot down with more force than necessary can damage soft tissues and bones.
o Poor posture: weak back and abdominal muscles increase the risk of injury to all areas of the body, including the spine and legs.
o Fatigue: a tired dancer tends to lose shape. Falls and injuries caused by sloppy technique are more likely.
o Hazardous environment: worn or torn carpet, hard floor, uneven floor, spilled liquids or objects near the dance area.
o Excessive work – Dancing too much or too often can lead to a wide range of overuse injuries, particularly to tendons and bones. Shin splints and foot stress fractures are common injuries related to overuse of dance.
o Not resting an injury: dancing again before an existing injury has healed can aggravate the condition. For example, injured knee ligaments can 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 movements that require force and repetition, such as dancing on concrete or any very hard surface, can cause small fractures in the bones of the foot and ankle.
o Tendinitis: painful inflammation of a tendon (connective tissue that anchors muscle to bone).
o Blisters: ill-fitting and rubbing shoes can cause blisters on the feet and toes.
o Toenail Injuries: Ill-fitting shoes that pinch the toes can cause bruising to the toenails or ingrown toenails.
o Impact injuries, such as bruises, caused by falling, colliding with another dancer, or tripping over accessories.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is the physical act of systematic manual stimulation using the 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 (the highest official after the pharaoh) at Saqqara, dating from approximately to 2330 BC (before the common era).
Prior to this discovery, reflexology was believed to have ancient origins and was thought to have developed alongside ancient Chinese acupuncture practices. Similarly, North American Indian healers are believed to manipulate and stimulate the feet as 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 to naturopaths, podiatrists, osteopaths, massage therapists, and physical therapists until her death in 1974.
What can you expect from a reflexology treatment?
Reflexology is a non-invasive, drug-free therapy. Your doctor will take a medical history before treatment. You will never be asked to undress, but you will be asked to remove your shoes and socks. While sitting in a comfortable chair, you will receive a therapeutic foot bath with an aromatherapy component if desired. The doctor 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 deeply relaxing and take a short nap during the treatment that will last approximately 45 minutes. After treatment, it is recommended that you drink plenty of fresh water to help flush toxins from your body and eat lightly for the rest of the day.
Through Reflexology we can take care of our feet and the whole body, putting it in balance and promoting good health. By providing more than pain relief, reflexology has been shown to improve your body’s ability to heal faster and help increase endurance, providing more energy and fewer injuries.
The Inner Rhythms Healing Arts staff is committed to injury prevention and healing. We are highly trained, certified, licensed (where applicable), and insured.
We have extensive experience in theatrical and scenic performances, knowing first-hand the problems and injuries that can arise when working ‘on stage’.
We are happy to come to your office or studio for reflexology and we can make arrangements to be available for rehearsals or performance events.
Because pain is unpredictable, our therapists can usually see you in our clinic the day you call. We accept all major credit / debit cards and look forward to working with you.