Reflexology and Ibuprofen on Dysmenorrhea in 68 Students

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Comparing the Effects of Reflexology Methods and Ibuprofen Administration on Dysmenorrhea in Female Students of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences



Dysmenorrhea or menstrual pain is one of the most common disorders experienced by 50% of women in their reproductive age. Adverse effects of medical treatments and its failure rate of 20-25% have caused many women to seek other complementary and alternative treatment methods for primary dysmenorrhea. Hence, this study aimed to compare and determine the efficacy of reflexology and Ibuprofen on reduction of pain intensity and duration of menstrual pain.


This was a quasi-experimental clinical trial study on 68 students with primary dysmenorrhea living in Isfahan University of Medical Sciences’ dormitories. Simple random sampling was done considering the inclusion criteria and then the students were randomly divided into two groups. In the reflexology group, the subjects received 10 reflexology sessions (40 minutes each) in two consecutive mense cycles. The Ibuprofen group received Ibuprofen (400 mg), once every eight hours for 3 days during 3 consecutive mense cycles. To assess the severity of dysmenorrhea, Standard McGill Pain Questionnaire, visual analog scale (VAS) and pain rating index (PRI) were used in this study.


Findings of the study showed that the two groups had no statistically significant difference in terms of demographic characteristics (p > 0.05). Reflexology method was associated with more reduction of intensity and duration of menstrual pain in comparison with Ibuprofen therapy. Independent and Paired t-test showed that there was a significant difference in the two groups between intensity and duration of menstrual pain using VAS and PRI in each of the 3 cycles between reflexology and Ibuprofen groups (p < 0.05).


Considering the results of the study, reflexology was superior to Ibuprofen on reducing dysmenorrhea and its treatment effect continued even after discontinuing the intervention in the third cycle. Therefore, considering that reflexology is a non-invasive, easy and cheap technique, it seems that it can replace anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to avoid their adverse side effects.

Keywords: McGill pain questionnaire scale; Primary dysmenorrhea; ibuprofen; reflexology.


Valiani M, Babaei E, Heshmat R, Zare Z. Comparing the effects of reflexology methods and Ibuprofen administration on dysmenorrhea in female students of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2010;15(Suppl 1):371‐378.

Actionable Information for Reflexologists

In this section you will find how this research paper enacted reflexology to produce these results. We at Reflexology.Report distilled the Methodology portion of this research paper and we are presenting you with:

  • General methods used
  • Organization and duration of sessions
  • Reflexology points

The purpose of this section is to make this research paper useful to all 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.

Αn appropriate time was assigned for implementing the technique ten days before the probable menstruation time, reflexology was done for 20 minutes on each foot (totally 40 minutes) in 15 stages generally during two consecutive days: 1. Solar plexus, 2 & 3. Areas related to the digestive viscera, 4. Pelvic area, 5. Pituitary, 5. Sinuses, 7. upper and lower extremities, 8. Spinal cord, 9. Lungs, 10. Shallow chest area [chests], 11 & 12. Back and waist areas, 13. Ovaries, 14. Uterus and 15. Fallopian tubes and specific reflexology including the areas related to dysmenorrhea including liver, spleen, the kidneys, pituitary, and the solar plexus.

Ορίστηκε o κατάλληλος χρόνος για την εφαρμογή της ρεφλεξολογίας δέκα ημέρες πριν από τον πιθανό χρόνο εμμηνόρροιας για 20 λεπτά σε κάθε πόδι (συνολικά 40 λεπτά) σε 15 γενικά  στάδια κατά τη διάρκεια δύο διαδοχικών ημερών: 1. Ηλιακό πλέγμα, 2 & 3. Περιοχές που σχετίζονται με τα σπλάχνα πέψης, 4. Πυελική περιοχή, 5. Υπόφυση, 5. Ιγμόρια, 7. Άνω και κάτω άκρα, 8. Νωτιαίος μυελός, 9. Πνεύμονες, 10. Στήθος, 11 & 12. Μέση, 13. Ωοθήκες, 14. Μήτρα και 15. Σάλπιγγες. Eφαρμόστηκε και ειδική ρεφλεξολογία στις περιοχές που σχετίζονται με τη δυσμηνόρροια, συμπεριλαμβανομένου του ήπατος, του σπλήνα, των νεφρών, της υπόφυσης και του ηλιακού πλέγματος.

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