Reflexology for advanced breast cancer

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Symptom response analysis of a randomized controlled trial of reflexology for symptom management among women with advanced breast cancer


Purpose: To examine symptom responses resulting from a home-based reflexology intervention delivered by a friend/family caregivers to women with advanced breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy, targeted, and/or hormonal therapy.

Methods: Patient-caregiver dyads (N = 256) were randomized to 4 weekly reflexology sessions or attention control. Caregivers in the intervention group were trained by a reflexology practitioner in a 30-min protocol. During the 4 weeks, both groups completed telephone symptom assessments using the M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory. Those who completed at least one weekly call were included in this secondary analysis (N = 209). Each symptom was categorized as mild, moderate, or severe using established interference-based cut-points. Symptom response meant an improvement by at least one category or remaining mild. Symptom responses were treated as multiple events within patients and analyzed using generalized estimating equations technique.

Results: Reflexology was more successful than attention control in producing responses for pain (OR = 1.84, 95% CI (1.05, 3.23), p = 0.03), with no significant differences for other symptoms. In the reflexology group, greater probability of response across all symptoms was associated with lower number of comorbid condition and lower depressive symptomatology at baseline. Compared to odds of responses on pain (chosen as a referent symptom), greater odds of symptom response were found for disturbed sleep and difficulty remembering with older aged participants.

Conclusions: Home-based caregiver-delivered reflexology was helpful in decreasing patient-reported pain. Age, comorbid conditions, and depression are potentially important tailoring factors for future research and can be used to identify patients who may benefit from reflexology.

Trial registration: Identifier: NCT01582971.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Reflexology; Symptom management; Symptom response.


Sikorskii A, Niyogi PG, Victorson D, Tamkus D, Wyatt G. Symptom response analysis of a randomized controlled trial of reflexology for symptom management among women with advanced breast cancer. Support Care Cancer. 2020 Mar;28(3):1395-1404. doi: 10.1007/s00520-019-04959-y. Epub 2019 Jul 2. PMID: 31267277; PMCID: PMC6939151

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:

Η ρεφλεξολογία που παρέχεται από τον φροντιστή στο σπίτι ήταν χρήσιμη για τη μείωση του πόνου που αναφέρθηκε από τον ασθενή. Η ηλικία, τα προϋπάρχοντα νοσήματα και η κατάθλιψη είναι δυνητικά σημαντικοί παράγοντες που πρέπει να ληφθούν υπόψη για μελλοντική έρευνα και μπορούν να χρησιμοποιηθούν για τον εντοπισμό ασθενών που μπορεί να επωφεληθούν από τη ρεφλεξολογία.

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Reflexology for 180 Women With Advanced Breast Cancer