Reflexology in cancer

Health-related quality-of-life outcomes: a reflexology trial with patients with advanced-stage breast cancer.

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.

Reflexology can be recommended for safety and usefulness in relieving dyspnea and enhancing functional status among women with advanced-stage breast cancer

by Wyatt G, Sikorskii A, Rahbar MH, Victorson D, You M. Source College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.

A study led by a Michigan State University researcher offers the strongest evidence yet that reflexology – a type of specialized foot massage practiced since the age of pharaohs – can help cancer patients manage their symptoms and perform daily tasks. 

Funded by the National Cancer Institute and published in the latest issue of Oncology Nursing Forum, it is the first large-scale, randomized study of reflexology as a complement to standard cancer treatment, according to lead author Gwen Wyatt, a professor in the College of Nursing.

Wyatt’s co-authors include MSU statistics and probability professor Alla Sikorskii and College of Nursing research assistant Mei You, along with colleagues from Northwestern University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Nov 13 2012

by Sharp DM, Walker MB, Chaturvedi A, Upadhyay S, Hamid A, Walker AA, Bateman JS, Braid F, Ellwood K, Hebblewhite C, Hope T, Lines M, Walker LG. 

When compared to SIS, reflexology and massage have statistically significant, and, for reflexology, clinically worthwhile, effects on QofL following surgery for early breast carcinoma. 

Source : The Institute of Rehabilitation, University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull

by Stephenson NL, Weinrich SP, Tavakoli AS. 

Following the foot reflexology intervention, patients with breast and lung cancer experienced a significant decrease in anxiety. One of three pain measures showed that patients with breast cancer experienced a significant decrease in pain. 

The significant decrease in anxiety observed in this sample of patients with breast and lung cancer following foot reflexology suggests that this may be a self-care approach to decrease anxiety in this patient population. 

Professionals and lay people can be taught reflexology. Foot reflexology is an avenue for human touch, can be performed anywhere, requires no special equipment, is noninvasive, and does not interfere with patients' privacy.

Source School of Nursing, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.

by Nancy A. Hodgson 1 and Doreen Lafferty 

The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate and compare the effects of reflexology and Swedish massage therapy on physiologic stress, pain, and mood in older cancer survivors residing in nursing homes. 
Both Reflexology and Swedish Massage resulted in significant declines in salivary cortisol and pain and improvements in mood. 

Preliminary data suggest that studies of Swedish Massage Therapy and Reflexology are feasible in this population of cancer survivors typically excluded from trials. Both interventions were well tolerated and produced measurable improvements in outcomes. Further research is needed to explore the mechanisms underlying the potential benefits of these CAM modalities in this patient population. 

Swedish Massage and Reflexology were well tolerated and potentially beneficial in reducing distress and pain and improving mood in older cancer survivors residing in nursing homes. 
Previous research has supported the value of CAM modalities such as massage and reflexology for relieving distress in older adult patients with cancer and offer guidelines for therapists
For example, the REST study demonstrated significant benefits of massage on pain and mood in adults with advanced cancer . However, given that few clinical trials of massage or reflexology in a frail, institutionalized, older patient population have been published, few direct comparisons are available. 

Nonetheless, our results confirm earlier studies on CAM modalities in cancer survivors and extend the findings to a sample of participants typically excluded from earlier trials.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 456897. Published online 2012 July 24. doi: 10.1155/2012/456897