Massage and reflexology for post-operative cancer cystectomy patients: Evaluation of a pilot service

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Massage and reflexology for post-operative cancer cystectomy patients: Evaluation of a pilot service


Background: and purpose: Radical cystectomy is a gold standard treatment for invasive bladder cancer. However the length of the operation is long and recovery is usually slow and painful. There is growing recognition of the importance of health related quality of life among patients undergoing invasive surgical procedures. In response, a massage and reflexology service was piloted and evaluated.

Materials and methods: One hour of massage, reflexology or a combination of both was provided twice to 38 cystectomy patients by a trained therapist in their acute post-operative phase (day one and day three). Self-reported concerns, well-being and pain were measured before and immediately after the therapy. Pain was measured once more in the early evening of each therapy day.

Results: Self-reported concerns and pain were significantly reduced following the intervention on both days treatments were given. Pain was measured again on the evening of each of the intervention days, and this reduction was maintained on day one but not day three. Well-being scores were also significantly improved pre to post intervention on both day one and day three. Qualitative comments highlighted that this complementary therapy service was viewed both beneficial and relaxing. There were no significant differences between the different therapies used (massage, reflexology, or a combination of the two).

Conclusion: The findings of this pilot evaluation very tentatively support the benefits of cancer cystectomy patients receiving massage and/or reflexology in their acute postoperative recovery period. There are many limitations to this evaluation. Further research utilising a randomised control methodology alongside medical, independent markers is warranted, and currently in development.

Keywords: Cancer; Cystectomy; Massage; Pain; Reflexology; Wellbeing.


Silverdale N, Wherry M, Roodhouse A. Massage and reflexology for post-operative cancer cystectomy patients: Evaluation of a pilot service. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 Feb;34:109-112. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.11.010. Epub 2018 Nov 14. PMID: 30712712.

The conclusion of this research paper in Greek

The purpose of this section is to make this research paper useful to Greek speaking reflexologists. This is a tool developed by the Center of Reflexology and Research (Κέντρο Ρεφλεξολογίας και Έρευνας) in Greece and supervised volunteers from across the world.

Μετάφραση των συμπερασμάτων της συγκεκριμένης έρευνας:

Τα ευρήματα αυτής της πιλοτικής αξιολόγησης υποστηρίζουν πολύ διστακτικά τα οφέλη των ασθενών με κυστεκτομή καρκίνου που λαμβάνουν μασάζ ή/και ρεφλεξολογία στην οξεία μετεγχειρητική περίοδο ανάρρωσής τους. Υπάρχουν πολλοί περιορισμοί σε αυτή την αξιολόγηση. Περαιτέρω έρευνα που χρησιμοποιεί μια μεθοδολογία τυχαιοποιημένου ελέγχου παράλληλα με ιατρικούς, ανεξάρτητους δείκτες είναι απαραίτητη και βρίσκεται σε εξέλιξη.

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