Archive for January, 2012

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:


PMID: 8233263 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

See also PubMed Abstract:

Reflexology research database from AAR

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

Reflexology audit: patient satisfaction, impact on quality of life and availability in Scottish hospices

PMID: 12419988 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source of below abstract:

Milligan M, Fanning M, Hunter S, Tadjali M, Stevens E., “Reflexology audit: patient satisfaction, impact on quality of life and availability in Scottish hospices.” Int J Palliat Nurs. 2002 Oct; 8(10):489-96.

Ayrshire Cancer Support Group, Scotland.

Complementary therapies are being accessed increasingly by cancer patients. The aims of this audit were to investigate the impact of reflexology on the quality of life of 20 cancer patients, to determine their satisfaction with the service provided and to investigate the availability of this therapy within Scottish hospices. The audit findings suggest that the clients were satisfied with the service received. Respondents noted that their quality of life was improved through a reduction in physical and emotional symptoms. It was found that the provision of reflexology within Scottish hospices varied, with less than half providing this service. The results of this audit suggest that reflexology may be a worthwhile treatment for other cancer patients and requires further research to evaluate the benefits.

PMID: 12419988 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Feasibility of a reflexology and guided imagery intervention during chemotherapy: results of a quasi-experimental study

Part of Dr. Gwen K. Wyatt’s research study, an Intervention for Advanced Breast Cancer, carried out from 2005-2010 at Michigan State University.

PMID: 17573322 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source of abstract below:

Wyatt G, Sikorskii A, Siddiqi A, Given CW., “Feasibility of a reflexology and guided imagery intervention during chemotherapy: results of a quasi-experimental study.” Oncol Nurs Forum. 2007 May; 34(3): 635-42.

The College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.


To evaluate patient characteristics to predict selection and maintenance of a complementary therapy and the feasibility of a randomized clinical trial (RCT) of complementary therapies.

Quasi-experimental, exploratory study, unblinded and nonrandomized.

A comprehensive cancer center in Michigan.

96 patients undergoing chemotherapy, predominantly Caucasian women.

Consenting patients with caregivers could choose a reflexology, guided imagery, guided imagery plus reflexology, or interview-only group. Patients without caregivers were restricted to guided imagery or interview-only groups. Data on demographics, depression, anxiety, and functional status were collected using established instruments.

Quality of life (QOL) and patient characteristics in relation to complementary therapy choice.

Patients who chose a complementary therapy rather than an interview only tended to be older and in worse health and had higher percentages of lung cancer, late-stage cancers, higher anxiety, depressive symptoms, and physical limitations at baseline. Patients lost from the guided imagery and guided imagery plus reflexology groups had greater symptom severity, depressive symptoms and anxiety, and worse physical and emotional well-being than those lost from the reflexology group.

Patient characteristics influence choice of complementary therapies, highlighting the need for RCTs to evaluate the true effect of complementary therapies on the QOL of patients with cancer. Further research on complementary therapies can help healthcare providers identify patients who are likely to benefit most by addressing nursing-sensitive outcomes.

An RCT of reflexology as a single therapy for females with breast cancer is most feasible compared to other complementary therapies.

PMID: 17573322 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

See also: Chicago Tribune article February 11, 2009

See also: Statement from Dr. Gwen K. Wyatt to Reflexology Association of America in 2008
Courtesy of RAA – Reflexology Association of America

Massage modalities and symptoms reported by cancer patients: narrative review

Myers CDWalton TBratsman LWilson JSmall B. "Massage modalities and symptoms reported by cancer patients: narrative review," Journal for the Society for Integrative Oncology, 2008 Winter; 6 (1): 19-28.
H.Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL 33612-9497, USA. cynthia.myers@moffitt.orgAbstract:

Massage modalities and symptoms reported by cancer patients: narrative review

The results of several studies on the use of massage therapies for cancer patients have been published in the peer-reviewed literature over the past 20 years. The current article provides a summary and critique of published studies in which patient-reported symptom ratings were assessed in relation to massage. Twenty-two studies are discussed. Most studies were on Swedish massage, followed by aromatherapy massage, foot reflexology, and acupressure. Symptoms assessed as outcomes included pain, fatigue, anxiety, nausea, and depression. Study designs included uncontrolled observational studies, crossover designs, and quasiexperimental and randomized controlled studies. Several studies included methodologic limitations such as small sample sizes, lack of blinded assessment, lack of accounting for subject attrition in statistical analyses, and other limitations. The results of the studies reviewed are mixed and vary as a function of several study characteristics. The most consistent symptom reduction was anxiety reduction. Additional well-designed studies are needed. Several recommendations are offered for future studies.