Reflexology on nitroglycerin-induced migraine – 75 subjects

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Effect of applying reflexology massage on nitroglycerin-induced migraine-type headache: A placebo-controlled clinical trial


Objectives: Nitroglycerin (NTG)-induced migraine-type headache is the most prominent side effect of nitrate therapy. Therefore, the aim of this study was to clarify the effectiveness of reflexology massage on intravenous NTG-induced headache in coronary care unit (CCU) inpatients.

Methods: This was a randomized clinical trial. The study sample included 75 patients that were randomly divided into three groups: control, intervention, and placebo groups. The intensity of baseline headache in patients who received NTG was measured by the numeric rating scale for pain (NRS Pain). Patients in the intervention group received reflexology massage two times for 20 min (at 3-h interval), wherein the upper part of patient’s both foot thumbs, which is the reflection point of the head, was massaged. In the placebo group, an unspecified point on the foot (heel), which was not related to the head, was massaged. Patients in the control group did not receive any massage.

Results: No baseline differences existed among the three groups for the mean pain scale score (p=0.66) before the study; but the difference between the groups after the application was statistically significant (p=0.000).

Conclusion: Reflexology massage can reduce the intensity of NTG-induced headache.


Imani N, Shams SA, Radfar M, Ghavami H, Khalkhali HR. Effect of applying reflexology massage on nitroglycerin-induced migraine-type headache: A placebo-controlled clinical trial. Agri. 2018;30(3):116–122. doi:10.5505/agri.2018.43815

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.

The feet were cleaned with a wet towel. Then, foot reflexology massage based on the Ingham method of reflexology was applied. The patients’ heel was held with the left hand by the researcher, and reflexology massage was given on points known as brain points (upper part of the big toe) for 10 min on each foot. The researcher applied continuous and uniform pressure in the upper part of the big toe of the patients’ foot using his right hand thumb.

Τα πόδια καθαρίστηκαν με βρεγμένη πετσέτα. Στη συνέχεια, εφαρμόστηκε  ρεφλεξολογία ποδιών με βάση τη μέθοδο ρεφλεξολογίας Ingham. Η φτέρνα των ασθενών κρατήθηκε με το αριστερό χέρι από τον ερευνητή και η ρεφλεξολογία χορηγήθηκε σε σημεία γνωστά ως σημεία του εγκεφάλου (πάνω μέρος του μεγάλου δακτύλου) για 10 λεπτά σε κάθε πόδι. Ο ερευνητής άσκησε συνεχή και ομοιόμορφη πίεση στο πάνω μέρος του μεγάλου δακτύλου του ποδιού των ασθενών χρησιμοποιώντας το δεξί αντίχειρά του.

Full PDF for the Reflexology Research Paper


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