A new study published in Oncology Nursing Forum concluded that reflexology can help cancer patients manage their symptoms and carry out daily activities. The study was a large scale , randomized study that evaluated reflexology as a complement to standard cancer treatment. Reflexology is the believed that by stimulating specific points on the feet it will improve the functioning f corresponding organs. glands, and other parts of the body.
Subjects in the study were 385 women with advanced stage breast cancer who were undergoing chemotherapy or hormone therapy. Subjects were assigned randomly to one of three groups–1) treatment by a reflexologist; 2) foot massage; or 3) standard care without foot manipulation. Subjects were assessed about symptoms at intake, at 5 weeks and at 11 weeks. Findings showed that those in the reflexology group had significantly less shortness of breath, a common symptom in breast cancer patients. They also were better able to perform daily tasks such as climbing a flight of stairs, getting dressed or going shopping. The researcher said “We did not get the change we might have expected with the emotional symptoms like anxiety and depression. The most significant changes were documented with the physical symptoms.” Of interest, the foot massage group reported unexpected reduced fatigue but the reflexology group did not report this. The researcher is carrying out futher research related to this finding.