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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.

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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.

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

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

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

SETTING:
Four hospitals in the southeastern United States.

SAMPLE:
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.

METHODS:
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.

MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES:
Pain and anxiety.

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

CONCLUSIONS:
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.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING:
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

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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.

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PMID: 17573322 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Source of abstract below: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17573322

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. gwyatt@msu.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES:
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.

DESIGN:
Quasi-experimental, exploratory study, unblinded and nonrandomized.

SETTING:
A comprehensive cancer center in Michigan.

SAMPLE:
96 patients undergoing chemotherapy, predominantly Caucasian women.

METHODS:
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.

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

FINDINGS:
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.

CONCLUSIONS:
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.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING:
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]
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17573322

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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
Source: http://www.reflexology-usa.org/articles/dr_gwen_breast_cancer.pdf