Posts tagged #reflexology research

Reflexology and Headaches

Reflexology is a popular complementary therapy enjoyed by people of all ages around the world. I work in a busy reflexology practice in Kidderminster DY115LB with clients experiencing many different issues including headaches. As I am from a nursing background I always look into the reflexology research to guide my treatments and inform clients of the results obtained.

Headaches can range from a mild discomfort that causes little trouble to a debilitating condition that seriously limits people's lives. If you experience headaches it is important to speak to your G.P. about the symptoms prior to addressing them through complementary therapy. The NHS statistics stats that more than 10 million people in the UK get headaches regularly, making them one of the most common health complaints. But most aren't serious and are easily treated. Tension headaches are the most common headache and are what we generally think of as a normal, "everyday" headache. They generally feel like a steady ache that affects both sides of the head. A tension headache normally won't be severe enough to prevent you doing everyday activities. They usually last for 30 minutes to several hours, but can last for several days. there are many other types of headaches such as migraines, cluster headaches, hormonal headaches, viral headaches and rarely headaches related to conditions such as stroke, brain injury or brain tumour. For more information on types of headache please visit NHS conditions and search "headache".

In 1995 a Danish study involving 220 subjects being given reflexology for 3 months concluded that 65% found reflexology helpful for managing their headaches while 16 % reported that they felt their headaches were cured.  

A Chinese study in 1993 looked at 7 adults with a variety of headache types including tension and migraine.  After two sessions of reflexology five of the subjects found their symptoms alleviated while the remaining two were improved after three sessions. Another Chinese study looked at a larger group of subjects and concluded that foot reflexology was a helpful technique for managing symptoms.

In 2000 reflexology for migraines headaches was studied. 60 cases including men and women were divided into two groups, one treatment and one control. The treatment group received reflexology daily for two weeks.  The control group were given medication. The study concluded that 83% of the treatment group found reflexology to be effective compared to 66% of the medication group. The reflexology group experienced no unpleasant side effects but the medication group reported dry mouths, drowsiness and nausea. A Danish study also focused on migraine headaches. the study concluded that reflexology was supportive for migraine sufferers who reported significant reductions in medication use after reflexology treatments.

Reflexology is a complementary therapy which has been shown to be effective for the relief of tension headaches and migraines. The studies are, however, all small in size and consequently all results must be considered as informative rather than prescriptive. 

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Reflexology and Heart Function

Research study 2014 finds reflexology improves cardiac output.

A research team at Stirling University Scotland have undertaken a three year study into the effects of reflexology on heart function in healthy volunteers.  The team included PhD researcher Jenny Jones, from the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health, and Professor Steve Leslie, a cardiologist from the Cardiac Unit at Raigmore Hospital.

The study involved the use of a reflexology point known as the heart point, compared to a sham reflexology point on the subject's heel. The results showed that during the use of the true heart point the volunteers displayed a small improvement in cardiac output. This is a measure of how efficiently the heart is pumping. Significantly there was no change at all during the sham treatment.

This research therefore shows that reflexology has a physical effect on the functioning of the body. Many who enjoy reflexology treatments would agree that reflexology has a positive effect on their body but it is very difficult to prove this scientifically. This study suggests that with an approach focusing on one specific physical function it may be possible to scientifically demonstrate the physical effects of reflexology.

This research also looked at the effects of reflexology on patients with heart disease. Interestingly, there was no significant change in the heart function of cardiac patients. Whilst this may appear disappointing all the patients found the treatment relaxing and the research shows no negative effects. This would suggest that reflexology is a safe therapy for clients with heart problems who want to benefit from relaxation.  

Although this is a robust study following strict research guidelines it only used a small number of volunteers. Further research is needed to provide unique data to enable both reflexology clients and clinicians to evaluate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of reflexology.

If you are concerened about your heart health please contact a medical practitioner as reflexology and other holistic therpies are not designed to replace medical diagnosis or treatment. 

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