Posts tagged #reflexologist kidderminster

Pain management and Reflexology

Reflexology research into pain management.

Chronic or acute pain is debilitating and depressing. At Breathe Holistic Therapy in Kidderminster we see many clients who are experiencing pain. Traditional medicine still struggles to treat pain effectively for many people. There is a growing evidence base for the use of reflexology and other complementary treatments such as hypnotherapy and mindfulness. As more people start to take control of their health care it is vital that those experiencing pain are aware of the research to enable them to make informed choices about their treatment.

It is not fully understood how reflexology helps to manage pain but current studies suggest it is related to the release of our own natural pain killers such as endogenous opioids. It is well established that the stress response is influential on pain and by releasing these influential hormones this can potentially be counteracted.

Pain affects many millions of people across the world and has serious implications on their quality of life. It can also have negative physical impacts on aspects such as sleep, immune system and digestive responses. Finding ways to manage pain that are noninvasive and without complicated side effects could be life changing for many people and their families.

A research study in 2003 (Samuel etal 2003) found that reflexology decreased pain sensation and increased pain tolerance by up to 40%.  Research into patients with cancer pain report that foot reflexology had an immediate positive effect on pain (Stephenson etal 2003). The same positive results were found when partners were trained to deliver a 30 minute reflexology treatment. Following the initial partner-delivered foot reflexology, patients experienced a significant decrease in pain intensity and anxiety. This emphasises another aspect of reflexlology and many other therapies. They can usually be delivered anywhere the client needs them and by relatives after appropriate training. This means the pain relief can be available exactly when it is needed without waiting for treatments.

Back pain is a common form of pain that causes many lost days at work and prevents many people from enjoying some aspects of life. It can be disabling and cause low mood and fatigue.  Nurses with lower back pain were given six 40 minute reflexology sessions.  The nurses showed a significant reduction in reported pain after reflexology compared to the control group (Eghbali etal 2012). A study in 2007 reflects these results. Subjects receive weekly reflexology for six weeks and they too showed reduced pain scores ( Quinn 2007).

Taking an active role in their choices of pain management can begin to help people feel more in control of their bodies. A sense of hopelessness can develop when pain becomes chronic and making decisions regarding management can instill a sense of hope and power which itself helps pain management.

Many of the research studies are small and larger experiments are needed before the use of reflexology in pain management is fully understood. The evidence is positive enough for reflexology to be a useful choice when looking at pain management strategies.

For more information please contact me :  e-mail me or call 07531 12199

Back to home page

Reflexology research: fatigue and insomnia

Many people find reflexology to be extremely relaxing and calming. Research into the effects of reflexology on fatigue and insomnia have reported positive results.

A brief feasibility study in 2009 concluded that both reflexology and acupuncture produced a clinically relevant improvement in sleep quality. This benefit was reported after only six treatments over a three week period. ( Acupunct Med 2009;27:163-168 doi:10.1136/aim.2009.000760 Acupuncture and reflexology for insomnia: a feasibility study). The authors concluded that the improvement was significant enough to warrant further research.

A study published in 2005 explored the effects of reflexology on fatigue and insomnia in patients suffering from coal workers' pneumoconiosis. Foot reflexology was performed for one hour twice a week for five weeks in the experimental group, but none in the control group. Statistical analysis tools were used to evaluate the results. These showed a decrease in scores for insomnia and fatigue in the reflexology group. After the intervention there was a significant difference of fatigue and insomnia between the two groups. (Lee YM, Sohng KY Department of Nursing,  Kangwon-Do, Korea. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe chi [2005, 35(7):1221-1228])

ON the NICE evidence database an analysis of research into reflexoogy a sleep is available. A systematic review and analysis of the research available were conducted. Electronic database and manual searches were conducted on all published studies reporting the effects of foot reflexology on fatigue and sleep. Forty four studies were eligible including 15 studies associated with fatigue, 18 with sleep, and 11 with pain. The effects of foot reflexology were analyzed using statistical tools. This analysis of research indicated that foot reflexology is a useful intervention to relieve fatigue and to promote sleep. (J Korean Acad Nurs. 2011 Dec;41(6):821-833. English. Effects of Foot Reflexology on Fatigue, Sleep and Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.)

A further analysis of data also reached similar conclusions. They analysed 40 research studies. this analysis found that using complimentary therapy including reflexology had a statistically significantly positive effect on insomnia. ( Acupressure, reflexology, and auricular acupressure for insomnia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials Yeung WF et al 2012)

All the reports do concluded that as many of the studies are small more extensive research is required but current research does suggest that reflexology has positive effects for individuals experiencing fatigue and insomnia. This supports the experience I have with clients who often report improved sleep and better energy levels.




Posted on October 9, 2013 and filed under pain, insomnia.

Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Research

Exciting new research has been published into the effects of lymphatic drainage techniques used in foot reflexology on unilateral secondary lymphoedema. 

Reflexologist Sally Kay has researched and developed reflexology lymphatic drainage (RLD) to help manage secondary lymphoedema following breast cancer treatment. Breast cancer, the most common form of cancer in the UK,with one in eight women at risk of developing it in their lifetime ( Breast Cancer UK 2011). Approximately 20% of these develop secondary lymphoedema of the arm following treatment which includes radiotherapy or surgery. Secondary lymphoedema is a progressive debilitating condition causing swelling in the tissue in and under the arm, pain in the shoulder, weakness and problems with everyday activities.

The study involved women with lymphoedema receiving RLD weekly for six weeks.  As the weeks passed clients reported less discomfort and swelling and an increase in arm mobility. The circumference of the effected arm was measured and the study showed a statistically significant reduction in arm volume.

This study involved only a small group of subjects therefore more research is needed to confirm the results but the evidence so far is positive. One participant stated "I feel like I've got my arm back" while another explained " I'm not embarrassed to take my cardigan off, which has given me my confidence back"

Following more research a course for reflexologists will be designed to train qualified therapists in the techniques of RLD.  Im looking forward to completing the course and sharing this technique with clients who may benefit.