Research Studies Evaluating the Effectiveness of Reflexology in Conditions Affecting Women

  • RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED STUDY OF PREMENSTRUAL SYMPTOMS TREATED WITH EAR, HAND, AND FOOT REFLEXOLOGY

  • By Terry Oleson PhD and William Flocco, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vol. 82, No. 6, December 1993

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  • This study was designed to determine whether reflexology treatment can significantly reduce premenstrual symptoms compared to a placebo treatment. 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 treatment, and for 2 months afterward. The reflexology sessions for both groups were provided by 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 than for the women in the placebo group. The treatment group showed a 46% reduction in premenstrual symptoms, which was sustained at 41% during the post treatment period. It was concluded that ear, hand and foot reflexology is an appropriate therapy for the treatment of PMS.

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  • PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME AND DYSMENORRHEA

  • The purpose of this study was to identify the effect of foot reflexology on premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea in female college students. The research design of this study was a quasiexperimental design. Of the forty female college students, twenty were assigned to the experimental group and, twenty to the control group. The data were obtained over 2 months (November 26, 2001 to January 31, 2002) from a nursing of C college located in S city. The instrument used to assess premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea was Keele's VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) and opening records. Subjects in the experimental group received foot reflexology for 6 times with 1 hours during 60 days, and subjects assigned to the control group did not receive foot reflexology. Data were analysed with percentage, mean, standard deviation, X(2)-test, unpaired t-test, and repeated measure ANOVA, using SAS Program. The results of the study are as follow, 1.The symptoms which the group of experimental and the group of control discomforts the most are sensitiveness (35%), abdominal pain (30%), lower abdominal pain (30%) and lumbago (20%). The method of relieve premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea by which the subjects employ the most to solve their premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea is the getting along by enduring (67.5%) and bed rest (32.5%). 2.The mean score of the premenstrual syndromes and dysmenorrhea before foot reflexology was 8.35, it was 4.16 at the first menstruation after foot reflexology and 3.25 at the second menstruation for the experimental group.

  • 3.The relieved symptoms after foot reflexology was fatigue (50%), insomnia (40%), abdominal pain (35%), lower abdominal pain (30%) and constipation (30%). Foot reflexology was effective in improve the symptoms of the female college students who have the premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea.

  • Kim YH, Cho SH, "The Effect of Foot Reflexology on Premenstrual Syndrome and Dysmenorrhea in Female College Students," Korean J Women Health Nurs. 2002 Jun;8(2):212-221. Korean. Department of Nursing, Sun Cheon Cheong Am College, Korea. 

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  •  HEALTH-RELATED QUALITY-OF-LIFE OUTCOMES: A REFLEXOLOGY TRIAL WITH PATIENTS WITH ADVANCED-              STAGE  BREAST CANCER  Wyatt,G.A. Sikorski, M.H. Rahbar, et al. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2012 Nov; 396: 568-577. 

  •  PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of reflexology, a complementary therapy that applies                pressure to specific areas of the feet. DESIGN: Longitudinal, randomized clinical trial. SETTING: Thirteen commun             based medical oncology clinics across the midwestern United States. SAMPLE: A convenience sample of 385                     predominantly Caucasian women with advanced-stage breast cancer receiving chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy.   METHODS: Following the baseline interview, women were randomized into three primary groups: reflexology (n = 95), lay foot manipulation (LFM) (n = 95), or conventional care (n = 96). Two preliminary reflexology (n = 51) and LFM (n = 48) test   groups were used to establish the protocols. Participants were interviewed again postintervention at study weeks 5 and    11.                                                                                                                                                                                                            MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Breast cancer-specific health-related quality of life (HRQOL), physical functioning, and        symptoms. FINDINGS: No adverse events were reported. A longitudinal comparison revealed significant improvements    in physical functioning for the reflexology group compared to the control group (p = 0.04). Severity of dyspnea was                reduced in the reflexology group compared to the control group (p < 0.01) and the LFM group (p = 0.02). No differences      were found on breast cancer-specific HRQOL, depressive symptomatology, state anxiety, pain, and nausea.                        CONCLUSIONS: Reflexology may be added to existing evidence-based supportive care to improve HRQOL for patients    with advanced-stage breast cancer during chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy.                                                                      IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Reflexology can be recommended for safety and usefulness in relieving dyspnea and      enhancing functional status among women with advanced-stage breast cancer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         HAS REFLEXOLOGY AN EFFECT ON INFERTILITY?

  •   By Leila Ericksen, FDZ Research Committee, Denmark

  • To determine the effect of reflexology on infertility 108 women under 35 years with no previous children, and that had           attempted to become pregnant for more than two years were selected from 260 applicants. Forty-seven of the 108               withdrew. The remaining 61 women were given sixteen 45 minute reflexology treatments over a 7 - 8 month period.           Treatments were given 2 times a week for 4 weeks, then 2 treatments before ovulation. Nine women (15%) became         pregnant within six months after starting treatment. Of two thirds of the women who had menstruation problems 77%       experienced an appreciable improvement, with the majority totally getting rid of the problems. Three quarters of all the       women reported improvements in other ailments such as: muscle tensions, psychic imbalances, indigestion, poor         circulation and general imbalance. 

  • EASIER BIRTHS USING REFLEXOLOGY

  • By Gabriella Bering Liisberg, "Tidsskrift for Jordemodre", No. 3, 1989.

  • Of 593 women who gave birth at Gentofte county hospital in 1988, 103 chose reflexology as an alternative to both pain killing drugs and to labor stimulating and inducing drugs. Of sixty-eight women who chose reflexology with no analgesic drugs, sixty one( 89.71%) stated that reflexology had helped reduce pain., six (8.82%) felt no effect, and, one had increased pain in spite of reflexology treatment. Four of the sixty-one women who were helped by reflexology also required pain medication. Of forty-nine women who chose reflexology to stimulate labor, twenty-four gave birth without additional drug treatment. Fourteen women who were candidates for surgical delivery, received reflexology treatment between 30 and 60 minutes of birth. Eleven (78.57%) were then able to discharge the placenta. The other three had it surgically removed. All participants, except one, found the reflexology treatments extremely pleasant.

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  • THE EFFECTS OF REFLEXOLOGY ON LABOUR OUTCOME

  • By Dr. Gowri Motha and Dr. Jane McGrath, Forest Gate, London 

  • Thirty-seven of 64 pregnant women, who were offered free reflexology, completed the set course of ten treatments. The effects of reflexology on labor outcomes were perceived as outstanding. Some had labor times of only 2 hours, some 3 hours. The 20 - 25 year olds had an average time of First stage labor of 5 or 6 hours. The 26 - 30 year olds seemed to have the longest labors. In total, the average first stage was 5 hours, second stage 16 minutes, and third stage 7 minutes. This is compared to textbook figures of 16 to 24 hours' first stage, and, 1 to 2 hour's second stage. 

  • FOOT REFLEXO-THERAPY IN THE TREATMENT FOR 50 CASES OF GYNECOLOGICAL DISEASES

  • By Hui Song, Senior Doctor, Nanjing Obstetrical and Gynecological Hospital 

  • Fifty patients, aged 20 to 51 years, diagnosed with gynecological diseases including dysmenorrhea, hysteromyoma, pelvic inflammation, cyst and mass, endometriosis, menstrual disorder, infertility and chocolate cyst, were treated with foot reflexotherapy on each or every other day, 10 sessions: one course of treatment. Duration of therapy ranged from 10 sessions to two years. For forty-two (84%) patients, the symptoms completely disappeared - normal menstruation with no dysmenorrhea. For the remaining 8 patients (16%) symptoms had almost completely disappeared.

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  • EXPERIENCE IN 10 CASES OF DYSMENSTRUATION TREATED WITH FOOT REFLEXOLOGY

  • By Wu Zhixing, Department of Foot Reflexology, Hangzhou Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital 

  • Ten patients (17 - 26 years old, mean age: 21 years) were observed to study the effect of foot reflexo-therapy on dysmenstruation (painful menstruation). Three of the patients had tried western or Chinese therapies without significant effect. Treatment sessions ranged from 5 to 10 minutes, and did not include whole foot massage, but, targeted specific reflex areas for pain relief. Two typical cases are presented. It was concluded that foot reflexo-therapy achieved analgesic effect very quickly.

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  • FOOT REFLEXOLOGY IN THE TREATMENT OF HYPOGALACTIA

  • By Zhang Jie, Department of Massage, The Second Hospital of the Tianjin Traditional Chinese Medical College, and Zhao Tianjun, Hospital affiliated to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Institute, Tianjin, China.

  • Ten cases of hypogalactia (deficiency of milk secretion) were treated with foot reflexology (FR) successfully. Compared with routine therapies the authors asserted: that foot reflexology provided abundant and stable sources of milk, that FR enhanced both mother and babies immune function, that FR has rapid effect and needs less time, and, that FR avoids the intake of drugs, which may be absorbed by the baby through the breast milk. A typical case is presented. 

  • FOOT REFLEXOLOGY IN THE TREATMENT OF HYPERMENORRHEA: REPORT OF 28 CASES

  • By Wu Zhixing, Hangzhou Traditional Medical Hospital, Zhejiang, China 

  • This is a report on the effectiveness of treating 28 patients with hypermenorrhea (excessive uterine bleeding occurring at regular intervals) by using foot reflexo-therapy (FRT). For twenty-three (82.2%) of the patients the FRT was significantly effective, the symptoms were relieved and there was no recurrence during the observation. For the remaining 5 (17.8%) patients the FRT was effective, symptoms were relieved, but continued treatment was necessary for permanent effect. Two typical cases are presented, one received 15 treatments, the other 25 treatments. 

  • TREATMENT OF HYSTEROMYOMA WITH FOOT REFLEXOLOGY: REPORT OF 7 CASES

  • By Wang Yuying and Liu Yong, Chuncheng People's Hospital, and, Qin Zidan, Jilin Traditional Medical College, Changchun, Jilin 

  • Seven women diagnosed with hysteromyoma, a benign tumor developed from the proliferating uterine smooth muscle, confirmed by B-mode ultrasonography and endoscopy examination, were treated with foot reflexo-therapy (FRT). There were five cases of leiomyoma uteri, one case of subserous myoma, and one case of submucous myoma. All patients had a single tumour, the size ranged from 3cm. to 7 cm. The FRT treatment lasted from 1 - 3 months, until the tumours and symptoms disappeared, and then self-massage was continued as an after treatment. Two cases are presented. It is concluded that foot reflexo-therapy is a cheap, safe, and surprisingly effective first choice in treatment of hysteromyoma.

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  • TREATMENT OF CHLOASMA WITH COMBINED FOOT AND FACIAL MASSAGE: REPORT OF 12 CASES

  • By Gao Zechuan, Hospital of Beijing Linguistic College. 

  • This paper reports on the treatment of twelve women (aged 25 - 40 years) whose history of chloasma (hyper pigmentation of the skin) ranged from 1 to 12 years. After 10 - 30 sessions of therapy, a combination of foot and facial massage, for 8 women (66.7%) the lesion nearly completely disappeared and the skin returned to normal. In three other women (25%) the pigment lightened with nearly normal central area, but a still discernable contour, and, in the remaining case (8.3%) there was no change.

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  • REFLEX ACTION

  • Reported By Kath Harper, LifeWise, Australia, May 1993 

  • Thirty-five female patients were involved in the study. Group 1 was composed of ten patients with long term arthritic pain. Three of the lower back, two of the neck, three of the shoulder and two of the knees/hips. After 10 treatments all 10 patients noticed some relief with 6 patients showing no recurrence of pain over a period of thirty days. Group 2 consisted of twelve patients with diagnosed but unexplained internal pain. Six had pain on the right side of the liver, four on the right side, ileocaecal region, and two on the left side, pancreas region. The four cases of ileocaecal pain and three cases of liver pain reported complete cessation of the symptom with no recurrence over 40 days. One case of liver pain reported reduced pain, and two cases reported no change. Of the two cases of pain in the region of the pancreas, one reported no further pain and the other reported reduced symptoms with some pain still present. Group 3 consisted of 13 patients with tension headaches - not migraine. After 40 days, six patients had suffered no headaches or recurrence of neck tension; four reported decreased symptoms, and three reported no change.