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Compiled by program reflexologists Kelly Gant, Susanne Stowers, Carol Young and Thomacine Haywood N.C.R., September, 2007. Researchers used a variety of resources to find research studies on the use of reflexology for various health conditions. Please credit appropriate sources.
Project Goal: Compile reflexology research for students, faculty, alumni and others seeking scientific research in the field.
Program Research Project 2007
Chronic Sinusitis The research was conducted at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison, WI. A group of 150 are divided into three groups. Two groups used two different types of nasal irrigation and one group used reflexology to alleviate chronic sinusitis. During the study some participants decreased or eliminated medication. The group using reflexology appeared to do as well as the two groups using nasal irrigation. The study indicated researchers were unclear whether the benefits noted by the group receiving reflexology reflected a therapeutic response, placebo response or combination of effects. Source: Published in Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery, July, 2001: 125 (1):44-8.) And on the website of reflexologists Kevin and Barbara Kunz. Group conducting research: R. Diane Heatly, Glen Leverson, PhD., Kari McConnell R.N., Tony Kille.
Pain/Anxiety Relief for Breast/Lung Cancer Patients The 2000 research was conducted by the School of Nursing at EastCarolinaUniversity, Greenville, NC. A group of 23 lung or breast cancer patients comprised mostly of women over the age of 65 received 30 minutes of reflexology by a certified reflexologist with no other changes made to their medications or schedules. Results showed patients reported a significant decrease in anxiety after the reflexology sessions. In the patients with breast cancer, one in three measures showed a decrease in pain levels. This small study would seem to prove that reflexology treatment can lead to significant decrease in anxiety and for breast cancer patients, a decrease in pain levels. Source: www.internethealthlibrary.com Group conducting research: School of Nursing, EastCarolinaUniversity.
Multiple Sclerosis The research was conducted by the Grampian Branch, Charity Action & Research for Multiple Sclerosis in collaboration with the Scottish Institute of Reflexology. The Scottish Institute of Reflexology worked on 14 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients once weekly for 18 weeks. Assessments were made of the patients at the beginning of the study and every six weeks during the study and after the study. Assessments were made about 19 of the most common MS symptoms and whether these symptoms were major or minor and if the symptoms improved, worsened of changed at each six-week assessment. Findings showed that improvements were noted in 45 percent of symptoms by Week 18 compared to 13 percent in the control group not receiving reflexology. The study determined therapeutic benefits were attributed to reflexology, especially in the first six weeks of treatment. The study also determined the sessions needed to be regular with benefits tapering off after 12 weeks. Source: www.thebarefootdragonfly.com/articles/multiple_sclerosis.html Group conducting research: Grampian Branch of the Charity and Action & Research for Multiple Sclerosis and the Scottish Institute of Reflexology.
The research was conducted at the Complementary Medicine Clinic at the ShebaMedicalCenter, Tel-Hashomer, Israel. The study assessed 71 multiple sclerosis patients during an eleven-week treatment period. The group was divided into 53 volunteers receiving manual pressure on specific points on the fee with massage of the calf area. The control group received non-specific massage of the calves. Symptoms were assessed in a masked study in the beginning, at Week 6, at the end of the treatment period, and later at three months. Conclusions showed that the volunteers who received the specific reflexology treatments reported alleviation of sensory, urinary and motor symptoms. Parasthesias (abnormal sensations like burning, tingling, numbness) was significantly improved during the end of the treatment period and at the three-month follow-up test. Source: www.thebarefootdragonfly.com/articles/multiple_sclerosis.html Group conducting research was the Complementary Medicine Clinic at the ShebaMedicalCenter, Tel-Hashomer, Israel.
Breast Cancer Research is being conducted by the MSU College of Nursing, Michigan State University, in collaboration with the National Institute of Health. In a pilot study, MSU’s College of Nursing researchers tested three different complementary therapies – reflexology, guided imagery and reminiscence therapy, in which women recall times in their lives when they’ve met and overcome challenges. Of those three, reflexology proved to be the most effective. Reflexology is the one people stuck with the most during the eight-week protocol,” said Gwen Wyatt, a professor in MSU’s College of Nursing who headed the project. “It’s also the one that had the most positive outcomes.” “We see things like a decrease in depression and anxiety, and improvements in spirituality and emotional quality of life,” Wyatt said. “Overall, they have an improved quality of life.” Wyatt and colleagues are now embarking on a more detailed investigation into the value of reflexology in treating late-stage breast cancer patients. Using a $3+ million National Institute of Health, they will more closely examine the benefits of reflexology in a controlled study. Women will be divided into three groups – one will receive reflexology for four weeks, one a “placebo” foot massage for four weeks, and one will serve as a control group. Participants will be interviewed before the study, immediately after the four weeks of therapy, and again two months later. This way the immediate effects can be compared with more long-term benefits. Source: 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 Nurs3, 2000 Jun; 23(3):237-43. Alleviates Cancer Pain/Nausea Research was conducted by 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 hospitalized with cancer. The study was developed from the earlier work of Ferrell-Torry and Glick (1992). Here 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. Source: 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 Nurs3, 2000 Jun; 23(3):237-43.
Group conducting research: School of Nursing, Division of Science and Design, University of Canberra, Australia.