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.

Reflexology Research

This site is organized by the Massachusetts Association of Reflexology research committee to compile research on reflexology for easy access by clients, practitioners, and interested parties.

Categories: Uncategorized

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:

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