A randomised, controlled trial of the psychological effects of reflexology in early breast cancer.

In a study of 183 post-operative breast cancer patients, those receiving reflexology showed clinically significant improvements in quality of life compared with those undergoing self-initiated support alone.

PMID: 19906525 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Sharp DM, Walker MB, Chaturvedi A, Upadhyay S, Hamid A, Walker AA, Bateman JS, Braid F, Ellwood K, Hebblewhite C, Hope T, Lines M, Walker LG. “A randomised, controlled trial of the psychological effects of reflexology in early breast cancer.” Eur J Cancer. 2010 Jan; 46(2): 312-22. Epub 2009 Nov 10.

The Institute of Rehabilitation, University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull, UK. d.m.sharp@hull.ac.uk

To conduct a pragmatic randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effects of reflexology on quality of life (QofL) in women with early breast cancer.

One hundred and eighty-three women were randomised 6 weeks post-breast surgery to self-initiated support (SIS) (comparator intervention), SIS plus reflexology, or SIS plus scalp massage (control for physical and social contact). Reflexology and massage comprised eight sessions at weekly intervals. The primary end-point was 18 weeks post surgery; the primary outcome measure was the Trial Outcome Index (TOI) of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT-B) – breast cancer version. The secondary end-point was 24 weeks post surgery. Secondary outcome measures were the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Mood Rating Scale (MRS).

At primary end-point, massage, but not reflexology, was significantly better than SIS on the TOI. Reflexology and massage were both better than SIS for MRS relaxation. Massage was better than reflexology and SIS for MRS easygoingness. At secondary end-point, reflexology, but not massage, was better than SIS on the TOI and MRS relaxation. There were no significant differences between reflexology or massage. There were no significant between group differences in HADS anxiety and depression. Self-reported use of out of study complementary therapies indicated that this was unlikely to have a significant effect on findings.

When compared to SIS, reflexology and massage have statistically significant, and, for reflexology, clinically worthwhile, effects on QofL following surgery for early breast carcinoma.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID: 19906525 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19906525

The effects of foot reflexology on fatigue and insomnia in patients suffering from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis

In a study of 59 patients suffering from coal worker’s pneumoconiosis (CWP), fatigue and insomnia scores decreased significantly among members in the experimental group, who received hour-long sessions of foot reflexology twice a week for five weeks. It is suggested that foot reflexology be used as a nursing intervention for patients suffering from CWP.

PMID: 16418548 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source of abstract below: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16418548

Lee YM, Sohng KY. “The effects of foot reflexology on fatigue and insomnia in patients suffering from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.” Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2005 Dec; 35(7): 1221-8.

[Article in Korean]

Department of Nursing, Kangwon Tourism College, Kangwon-Do, Korea. ymlee6505@hanmail.net


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of foot reflexology on fatigue and insomnia in patients suffering from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.

This study was a quasi-experimental study of pre-test and post-test design in a non-equivalent control group. The subjects of this study consisted of both the experimental group of twenty-nine and the control group of thirty coal workers’ pneumoconiosis patients. Data was collected from December 10, 2002 to February 15, 2003. Foot reflexology was performed for 60 minutes twice a week through five weeks in the experimental group, but none in the control group. To evaluate the effects of foot reflexology, the scores of fatigue and insomnia were measured before and after the experiment in both groups. Fatigue was evaluated by Fatigue Symptoms Inventory. Insomnia was measured with the visual analogue scale (VAS). Data of this experiment was analyzed by Chi-square test, t-test, unpaired t-test and Repeated Measures ANOVA with the SAS Program.

The scores of fatigue and insomnia decreased in the experimental group but not in the control group. There was a significant difference of fatigue and insomnia between the two groups.

It is suggested that foot reflexology might have beneficial effects on reducing fatigue and insomnia in patients suffering from coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, and can be recommended as a nursing intervention program for patients with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.

PMID: 16418548 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16418548

The effects of foot reflexology on nausea, vomiting, and fatigue of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy

In a study of 34 breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, from the Department of Nursing at Inje University in Pusan, Korea, there was a significant decrease in nausea and vomiting in the experimental group receiving four 40-minute phases, or sessions, of foot reflexology. It is suggested that reflexology be used as a nursing intervention in the case of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

PMID: 15778569 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source of abstract below: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15778569

Yang JH., “The effects of foot reflexology on nausea, vomiting and fatigue of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy,” Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2005 Feb; 35(1): 177-85.

[Article in Korean]

Department of Nursing, Inje University, Pusan, Korea. jhyang@inje.ac.kr

The purpose of this study was to identify the effects of foot reflexology on nausea, vomiting and fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The research was a quasi-experimental study using a non-equivalent pre-post design and was conducted from Jan. 26, to Mar. 20, 2004. The subjects consisted of 34 patients with 18 in the experimental group and 16 in control group. A pretest and 2 posttests were conducted to measure nausea, vomiting and fatigue. For the experimental group, foot reflexology, which was consisted of 4 phases for 40 minutes, was given by a researcher and 4 research assistants. The collected data were analyzed by repeated measures ANOVA using the SPSS WIN 10.0 program.

There was a statistically significant decrease in nausea, and vomiting in the experimental group compared to the control group over two different times. In addition, there was a statistically significant decrease in fatigue in the experimental group compared to the control group over two different times.

Foot reflexology was effective on nausea, vomiting and fatigue in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy in this study. Therefore, foot reflexology can be usefully utilized as a nursing intervention in the field of cancer nursing for breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

PMID: 15778569 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15778569

Partner-delivered reflexology: effects on cancer pain and anxiety.

There are benefits to teaching even a brief reflexology session to family members of cancer patients who are open to learning the technique. In the below study, a nurse reflexologist taught partners of cancer patients how to administer a 30-minute foot reflexology session. Patients who received the session from their partners experienced a significant decrease in pain and anxiety.

PMID: 17562639 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source of below abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17562639

Stephenson NL, Swanson M, Dalton J, Keefe FJ, Engelke M. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2007 Jan; 34(1):127-32.

School of Nursing, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA. stephensonn@mail.ecu.edu

To compare the effects of partner-delivered foot reflexology and usual care plus attention on patients’ perceived pain and anxiety.

The experimental pretest/post-test design included patient-partner dyads randomly assigned to an experimental or control group.

Four hospitals in the southeastern United States.

42 experimental and 44 control subjects comprised 86 dyads of patients with metastatic cancer and their partners, representing 16 different types of cancer; 23% of patients had lung cancer, followed by breast, colorectal, and head and neck cancer and lymphoma. The subjects had a mean age of 58.3 years, 51% were female, 66% had a high school education or less, and 58% were Caucasian, 40% were African American, and 1% were Filipino.

The intervention included a 15- to 30-minute teaching session on foot reflexology to the partner by a certified reflexologist, an optional 15- to 30-minute foot reflexology session for the partner, and a 30-minute, partner-delivered foot reflexology intervention for the patient. The control group received a 30-minute reading session from their partners.

Pain and anxiety.

Following the initial partner-delivered foot reflexology, patients experienced a significant decrease in pain intensity and anxiety.

A nurse reflexologist taught partners how to perform reflexology on patients with metastatic cancer pain in the hospital, resulting in an immediate decrease in pain intensity and anxiety; minimal changes were seen in the control group, who received usual care plus attention.

Hospitals could have qualified professionals offer reflexology as a complementary therapy and teach interested partners the modality.

PMID: 17562639 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17562639

Reflexology administered to women in labor

In a study of 100 overdue women in the maternity unit at Walsall Manor Hospital in Walsall, England, researchers found that “more women went into labour sooner and needing less pain relief than those without reflexology”. The study was carried out by a team of midwives qualified in reflexology.

“The results of their study show that, overall, the length of the first stage of labour was four hours shorter than of those in the control group of women who had not had reflexology and that the second stage of labour, when the woman starts to push, was 21 minutes shorter. They also found that fewer women in the reflexology group needed strong pain relief during labour.”

The research was nominated for a Royal College of Midwives Award for Innovation in Midwifery.

Though the researchers acknowledge they had a limited sample, the women in the study expressed having less pain and greater relaxation, making for more ease in their deliveries.

Hands on Method to Give a Baby a Head Start

Randomized Controlled Study of Premenstrual Symptoms

January 31, 2012 1 comment

Randomized Controlled Study Of Premenstrual Symptoms
Treated with Ear, Hand, and Foot Reflexology 

by Terry Oleson, Ph.D., and William S. Flocco


Objective: To determine whether reflexology therapy – the application of manual pressure to reflex points on the ears, hands, and feet that somatotopically correspond to specific areas of the body – can significantly reduce premenstrual symptoms compared to placebo treatment.

Methods: Thirty-five women who complained of previous distress with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) were randomly assigned to be treated by ear, hand, and foot reflexology or to receive placebo reflexology. All subjects completed a daily diary, which monitored 38 premenstrual symptoms on a four-point scale. Somatic and psychological indicators of premenstrual distress were recorded each day for 2 months before treatment, for 2 months during reflexology and for 2 months afterward. The reflexology sessions for both groups were provided by a trained reflexology therapist once a week for 8 weeks, and lasted 30 minutes each.

Results: Analysis of variance for repeated measures demonstrated a significantly greater decrease in premenstrual symptoms for the women given true reflexology treatment than for the women in the placebo group.

Conclusion: These clinical findings support the use of ear, hand and foot reflexology for the treatment of PMS. (Obstet Gynecol 1993;82:906-11)

Link to pdf of the study: http://www.reflexologyresearch.net/PMSResearchFullStudy.shtml

Source: http://www.reflexologyresearch.net/PMSResearchAbstract.shtml

PMID: 8233263 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

See also PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8233263

Reflexology research database from AAR

Reflexology research database put out by the American Academy of Reflexology with links to formal and informal studies: