Archive for the ‘pain relief’ Category

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:

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.

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]

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:


PMID: 8233263 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

See also PubMed Abstract:

Reflexology for symptom relief in patients with cancer

January 31, 2012 1 comment
Wilkinson SLockhart KGambles MStorey L., “Reflexology for symptom relief in patients with cancer,” Cancer Nursing. 2008 Sep-Oct; 31(5): 354-60; quiz 361-2.

Department of Mental Health Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, The Hampstead Campus, London, England.

Complementary therapies are increasingly being used in hospices and hospitals alongside orthodox treatments in an attempt to improve patients’ emotional, spiritual, psychological, and physical well-being. An average of 31% of UK patients with cancer use some form of complementary therapy. Many UK cancer centers, out-patient units, and hospices are providing complementary services. There is strong anecdotal evidence that complementary therapies assist in the palliation of physical and psychological symptoms. This systematic review examines the research evidence base for the effectiveness of reflexology in cancer care. The study reports the results of a systematic review following the Cochrane principles of systematic reviewing. No meta-analysis was possible. Studies were retrieved from a comprehensive search of electronic databases from their start dates. An initial search was carried out in 2003 and updated in 2005 to 2006. Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials, controlled before and after studies, and interrupted time-series studies. Participants were adults with a diagnosis of cancer, receiving care in any healthcare setting. Interventions were limited to reflexology carried out by a qualified therapist as distinguished from another healthcare professional carrying out areflexology intervention. Outcome measures were patient-reported levels of physical and psychological indices of symptom distress and quality of life (measured using validated assessment tools).

PMID: 18772659 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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: