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Foot reflexology used to alleviate anxiety and pain for patients with breast and lung cancer

January 31, 2012 1 comment

Foot reflexology used to alleviate anxiety and pain for patients with breast and lung cancer

Reflexology can offer help to patients suffering from breast and lung cancer according to researchers at the School of Nursing, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.

The researchers monitored twenty three patients (most of whom were female and over 65 years old) diagnosed with breast or lung cancer. The patients were given a 30 minute reflexology treatment by a certified reflexologist and there were no other changes made to their daily schedule or in their medications.


The results revealed that, following the foot reflexology treatments, the patients with breast and lung cancer experienced a significant decrease in anxiety, and one of three pain measures showed that patients with breast cancer experienced a significant decrease in pain.

The report of this small scale study concludes that reflexology treatment can lead to a significant decrease in anxiety for patients diagnosed with breast or lung cancer, and a decrease in pain for patients with breast cancer. This has important implications for nursing practice as both professionals and lay people can be taught reflexology.

Foot reflexology is a simple technique for human touch which can be performed anywhere, requires no special equipment, is non-invasive, and does not interfere with patients’ privacy.

Source: Oncol Nurs Forum 2000 Jan-Feb;27(1):67-72
The effects of foot reflexology on anxiety and pain in patients with breast and
lung cancer. Stephenson NL, Weinrich SP, Tavakoli AS

© The Internet Health Library 2000

PMID: 10660924 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

See also PubMed abstract:

Reflexology used for cancer patients

Reflexology used for cancer patients

Ten minute reflexology treatments can provide relief from pain, nausea and anxiety, according to a report from the School of Nursing, Division of Science and Design, University of Canberra, Australia.

Nurses at the School conducted an empirical study on the use of foot massage as a nursing intervention in patients hospitalised with cancer. The study was developed from the earlier work of Ferrell-Torry and Glick (1992).

87 patients participated in the study and each received a 10-minute reflexology foot massage (5 minutes per foot) . The results revealed that the treatments produced a significant and immediate effect on the patients’ perceptions of pain, nausea, and relaxation, when measured with a visual analog scale. The use of reflexology foot massage as a complementary method is recommended as a relatively simple nursing intervention for patients experiencing nausea or pain related to the cancer experience. The results were so positive that the researchers recommend that further research using larger numbers of patients in controlled clinical trials into its effectiveness of reflexology in alleviating pain, nausea and anxiety in the management of these symptoms by the family at home is warranted.

Foot massage. A nursing intervention to modify the distressing symptoms of pain and nausea in patients hospitalized with cancer. Grealish L, Lomasney A, Whiteman BCancer Nurs 2000 Jun;23(3):237-43

© Internet Health Library 2000