Reflexology - is it a myth or marvel? - click here for full article
OMG, your texting your way to back pain - click here for full article
Stressed? Massage therapy can help - click here for full article
To be able to make a claim that any medicine or therapy can alleviate specific symptoms or conditions, clinical research must exist which provides some evidence. All research has to take place under strict guidelines and via recognised methodology which has been agreed by the relevant authorities.
There are a growing number of research groups worldwide developing an evidence base for Reflexology. The following are a small sample of what is out there.
Amenorrhea - Absence of menstruation in women of reproductive age
Reflexology was found to be 96% effective for those with this condition compared to the control group rate of only 33%.
Xiu-hua, "Analysis of 50 case of Amenorrhea Treated by Foot Reflex Therapy"
1996 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventative Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing. 1996, p36
Reflexology is considered to have a positive effect on relieving lower back pain (Quinne et al) and in producing a greater reduction in pain. (Poole et al).
Quinn, F., Baxter, G.D. and Hughes, C.M. "Complementary Therapies in the management of lower back pain: a survey of reflexologists". Complementary Therapy Medicine, 2008 Feb; 16 (1): 9-14
Poole, H., Glenn, S. and Murphy, P.,"A Randomised controlled study of reflexology for the management of chronic low back pain", European Journal of Pain (11) 2007, p878-887.
Dementia - symptoms of stress
This research provided support for reflexology as a treatment of stress in nursing home residents with mild-to-moderate stage dementia.
Hodgson, N.A., Anderson, S., 2008. The Clinical Efficacy of Reflexology in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14 (3) pp 269-275 April 2008
Significant improvement was found in alleviating motor, sensory and urinary symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis patients.
Siev-Ner, I., Gamus, D., Lerner-Geva, L. and Achiron, A. "Reflexology Therapy relieves symptoms of multiple sclerosis: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Multiple Sclerosis Journal 2003; 9; 356-361
Analysis demonstrated a significantly greater decrease in premenstrual symptoms for the reflex group showing support for the use of this treatment for PMS symptoms.
Oleson, Terry and Flocco, William, "Randomized Controlled Study of Premenstrual Symptoms treated with Ear, Hand and Foot Reflexology", Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1993;82(6): 906-11
Massage Research - Immune and Endocrine Response
Researchers in Cedars-Sinai's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences have reported people who undergo massage experience measureable changes in their body's immune and endocrine response. Among the study's results:
1) People in the Swedish massage group experienced significant changes in lymphocytes ,(lymphocyte numbers and percentages white blood cells that play a large role in defending the body from disease.
2) Swedish massage caused a large decrease (effect size -.74) in Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior and linked to helping cause increases in the stress hormone cortisol.
3) Swedish massage caused a decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
4) Swedish massage caused a notable decrease in most cytokines produced by stimulated white blood cells.
Rapaport et al. A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2010; 100901121319046 DOI: 10.1089/acm.2009.0634
Massage Research - Low Back Pain
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests massage therapy might alleviate back pain better in the short term than traditional interventions of medicine, bed rest or exercise.
At the conclusion of the 10 week period, over one-third of the patients who were given massage therapy reported their pain was much improved or eliminated completely, as opposed to only one in 25 patients who were given traditional care. Furthermore, patients in the massage groups were twice as likely to have spent fewer days in bed rest, used less pain pills and participated in more activity than the traditional care group.
A Comparison of the Effects of 2 Types of Massage and Usual Care on Chronic Low Back Pain: A Randomized, Controlled Trial
Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD; Karen J. Sherman, PhD, MPH; Janet Kahn, PhD; Robert Wellman, MS; Andrea J. Cook, PhD; Eric Johnson, MS; Janet Erro, RN, MN; Kristin Delaney, MPH; and Richard A. Deyo, MD, MPH
Ann Intern Med. 5 July 2011;155(1):1-9
Massage Research - Chronic Tension Headaches
Researchers at the University of Granada -- in collaboration with the Clinical Hospital San Cecilio and the University Rey Juan Carlos -- have shown that the psychological and physiological state of patients with tension headache improves within 24 hours after receiving a 30-minute massage.
The 30-minute massage on cervical trigger points is said to improve autonomic nervous system regulation in these patients. Additionally, patients exhibit a better psychological state and "reduce the stress and anxiety associated to such a disturbing disorder."
Similarly, patients report a perceived relief from symptoms within 24 hours after the massage. This might mean that massages may reduce the pain caused by trigger points, which would involve an improvement in the general state of patients.
Cristina Toro-Velasco, Manuel Arroyo-Morales, César Fernández-de-las-Peñas, Joshua A. Cleland, Francisco J. Barrero-Hernández. Short-Term Effects of Manual Therapy on Heart Rate Variability, Mood State, and Pressure Pain Sensitivity in Patients With Chronic Tension-Type Headache: A Pilot Study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 2009; 32 (7): 527 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2009.08.011