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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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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